Nigeria: Uncovered March 2014 - Page 6

On Friday, February 28, the Nigerian Presidency announced it has entered a state of war the terrorist group Boko Haram. This islamic extremist organization has been at large in Nigeria especially in recent months, terrorizing civilians by frequently attacking villages, particularly targeting schools that teach children with “western education” methods. Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, has been heavily criticized for his attempts to try to bring this violence to an end, as his constant conferences and addresses have, if anything, been accompanied with the rise in the number of attacks.(Nigeria 'At War' with Boko Haram, 2014) Now however, with Nigeria being officially at war, the world is waiting to see if action will be taken against Boko Haram.

According to Jonathan, the federal troops plan to focus on defending the Boko Haram-controlled Northeast region from further rule, and the presidency has promised that this region will be “returned to normal” by May.(Nigeria 'At War' with Boko Haram, 2014) However, the government’s track record hardly supports this projection. Since the federal army began fighting last May, numbers have begun to look more and more grim. While Boko Haram has been at large, responsible for killing thousands since 2009, the death toll within the past year has almost reached 2,000, with 300,000 more displaced.(Nigeria 'At War' with Boko Haram, 2014) The presidency is taking these inclining rates in stride, admitting that this is the “dying phase” of the war, as if things are beginning to look up. The fact of the matter is, however, that things are not looking up. As more and more Nigerians continue to be killed each day, still more have been forced to leave their homes and flee to the neighboring nations of Cameroon and Niger.(Smith, 2014) The submissive weakness shown thus far by the ability of Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration and army in attempts to suppress the terrorists is not giving many hope, nor should it. Even in this new state of war, which suggests that there will be a much more serious effort to eliminate Boko Haram, the rate at which the presidency is taking its battle may not be enough to defeat these terrorists.

However, even as the political side of this battle looks grim, there is hope from many Nigerians who experienced this fighting firsthand. Sagir Adam, a 21 year old student at an agricultural college in the country, recently survived an attack on his school in which 50 other students were killed.(Sanusi, 2013) Despite the haunting experience and the obvious danger, he still wishes to continue his education. He, like many other inspiring Nigerians, believes in his right to education, and the power of his country to uphold justice and disband Boko Haram from the country entirely. (Sanusi, 2013)

Even with hope beginning to return to those who have been victimized by Boko Haram, the promises of the government remain dismal in the eyes of the Nigerian people. The pattern they have observed in the past is that of a government that is not able to take control of its affairs, and the future at the moment does not look much brighter. The government at this point has limited control on the country, and as that power continues to shrink, the control of Boko Haram will continue to grow. In Nigeria's grim situation, the only hope for the people today seems to be the initiation of "refreshed" government that will finally assert its power and take a stand against this terrorist group.

Nigeria Uncovered/ ISSUE 01

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Terror in Control

By: Hannah Salaverry