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Posts Tagged ‘Mohammed Umar’

Nigeria’s growing sectarianism: who stands to gain the most from the current situation?

Posted by AT on September 23, 2010

Africa Today
EP 75
Topic: Nigeria’s growing sectarianism: who stands to gain the most from the current situation?
Broadcast: 21st September 2010
Presenter: Henry Bonsu
AP: Nicholas Asamoah

1- Rolake Akinola Sub-Saharan Africa Analyst
2- Mohammed Umar Writer and Analyst

Part 1

Description: There have been religious clashes several times in Nigeria and recently growing sectarianism in the country. Reasons for this have been blamed on poor governance and extreme poverty. But is this the only reason why this is happening or perhaps outside interests are to account for this? Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and vital location for western interests. Some have suggested breaking the country into two, perhaps in order to have more control on its affairs. Brief: The army is conducting joint patrols with the police in Nigeria’s northern city of Maiduguri after a wave of killings blamed on the Islamist sect, Boko Haram. The police have also banned riding motorcycles at night as several of the shootings were carried out by people on motorbikes. Twelve people, including seven policemen, have died in the past month. Clashes between Boko Haram and the police in July 2009 left hundreds dead. Most of those who died were supporters of the sect, which is also known locally as the Taliban and wants to see Islamic law imposed across Nigeria. It is opposed to Western education and accuses Nigeria’s government of being corrupted by Western ideas. The sect’s leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was among those killed, apparently after he was handed over alive to the police.

Part 2

Tensions in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north have continued to rise after the radical sect Boko Haram attacked the city of Maiduguri in Borno state, and several targets in the state of Bauchi. In Maiduguri, security is on high alert after the group killed over a dozen people including members of the security forces. Their raid on Bauchi prison freed several inmates, resulting in many deaths.

SOUNDBITE (English) Danlami Yar’Adua, Bauchi state police commissioner: “They already released as many as 121 inmates including their members. Their members were 105 remaindered there (indistinct word).”

These recent events highlight Nigeria’s complex social divisions and its failure to address the root causes. Some critics have blamed the growing sectarian culture on socio-economic problems and endemic corruption. But it’s also claimed this corruption is fuelled by western control of the country’s natural resources, in which multinationals have bribed officials to influence policies in their favour, and vast wealth has flown out of the areas they operate in. But is this the reason for the ongoing tensions and the growing gap between rich and poor? Africa Today investigates the truth behind Nigeria’s growing sectarianism and asks who stands to gain the most from the current situation?

Part 3

Although present in one form or another for generations, present-day sectarianism really took root in Nigeria after independence in 1960. Most groups were borne out of religious differences. More recently, economic hardship and underdevelopment have encouraged the formation of sects, particularly in Northern Nigeria, where the majority of the country’s Muslims live. Boko Haram, also known as the Nigerian Taliban, opposes western ideology and development, and accuses the Nigerian government of being corrupted by foreign ideas. The group was formed in Maiduguri, Borno State, in 2002 by a charismatic leader Mohammed Yusuf who was killed in controversial circumstances last year by police after being arrested by the army. Clashes between the group and security forces have claimed over a thousand lives since 2009. The latter have been accused of failing to act on warnings until violence has broken out, leading to fears that one day these underlying tensions could threaten the very existence of the state itself.

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Why is Nigeria Still Incapable of Averting Religious and Ethnic Conflicts?

Posted by AT on March 31, 2010

Africa Today 50
Why is Nigeria still incapable of averting religious and ethnic conflicts?
Broadcasting date: 30 March 2010
Presenter: Vuyiswa

Femi Okutubo, Publisher / Editor-in-Chief, The Trumpet Newspaper 

Mohammed Umar, Writer 


About 200 people have been arrested and 49 charged with murder after massacres at three Christian villages at the weekend, police in Nigeria said recently. 


The announcement came as more details emerged of the violent outburst in the central Plateau state whose capital, Jos, lies at the faultline between the country’s Muslim north and Christian south.
Up to 500 people were killed — estimates of the number of victims differ — and scores more have fled their homes since the attacks by Muslim gangs on the villages of Dogo Nahawa, Zot and Ratsat.
Survivors told how mobs armed with machetes were waiting for them as they fled their burning homes. The attackers asked people “who are you?” in Fulani, a language used mostly by Muslims, and killed those who did not respond in that language. Women and children bore the brunt of the three-hour killing spree in the early hours of Sunday. 



About 500 lives were reported to have perished in the second string of attacks since January in Jos. Jos the capital city of central Plateau state in Nigeria lies at the faultline between the country’s Muslim north and Christian south. 

Authorities believe the attacks on three Christian villages in the city were an act of retribution carried out by members of the Muslim Fulani community. 

SOUNDBITE: (English) David Keng, eye witness: (part overlaid by previous shot) “We heard gunshots, then we had some phone calls from the people in this area. By the time we were nearby, we heard the sound of the guns.” 

Ikechukwu Aduba, police commissioner: “We have requested for reinforcements and have been reassured by the special general that reinforcement is on its way.” After ignoring earlier warnings, the security forces have arrested about 200 people and charged 49 with murders. 

The recent clashes in Jos are a very familiar problem in Nigeria. Some 2000 people have been killed in the conflict since 2001. The fighting is mainly religiously motivated between the Muslim North and Christian south. With many blaming the situation on the political wrangling at the top, How will Nigeria be able to change the pattern of power struggle and abuse? A problem that has existed for most of its 50 years of  independence.

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