Ortswechsel: WHAT IF BOKO HARAM COMES TO LAGOS ?

Ciaps Institut in Nigeria, LagosJournalist sein in Italien ist eins. Journalist sein in Ländern wie Nigeria ist etwas anderes.

Das habe ich bei meinem Skype-Unterricht erfahren, den ich für das Institut Ciaps in Lagos gegeben habe. Die Themen, die dort die jungen Menschen und angehenden Journalisten beschäftigen sind um einiges heftiger, als das, was wir in Europa gewöhnt sind.

Hier das Ergebnis der „Artikel-Werkstatt“ zum Thema Boko Haram:

WHAT IF BOKO HARAM COMES TO LAGOS ?

Though the activities of the group are still mainly in the Northern part of Nigeria, the terror is felt everywhere  – also in in Lagos in Southwestern Nigeria.

By Ojara Olazbisai and Cornelia Oseghale

Lagos, Nigeria

The secondary school student Adeleke Oluwafemi doesn’t know much about Boko Haram.  “All I know about Boko Haram is that they are bombing everywhere” says the thin 15-year-old who lives in Lagos, Nigeria with his family.  But he knows one thing: “I am afraid because I don’t want to die. If they come to Lagos, everything will be destroyed and there will be war”, Adeleke says.

The Islamic sect Boko Haram is spreading terror all over Nigeria. They cut short lives, displace people, render many incapacitated, make widows and widowers, children orphans and parents without children. The abduction of over 200 female students on April 14th, from the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State has raised protests from all over the world.  Though the activities of the group are still mainly in the Northern part of Nigeria, the terror is felt everywhere in the country – also in Lagos in the Southwestern part.

Boko Haram believes that western education is a sin hence the name ‘boko’ which means western education in Hausa, the common language among the northerners in Nigeria and ‘haram’ which can be translated as abomination or sin. Nigeria has been dubbed a terrorist nation because of the activities of this sect.

Nigerians have their doubts about the religious intentions of the sect. “Boko Haram is a militant group that’s hiding under the guise of religion to destabilize the country”, says Kazeeem Emeka, a Civil Servant in Lagos. He says, he is scared because Nigeria does not have the necessary tools to fight or avert Boko Haram attack. “The government is not doing enough in terms of security funding as money meant for this is being diverted to private pockets”, criticizes Emeka. He wants his government to provide basic social amenities as well as employment opportunities to the youths, proper and sincere funding of security among others.

Some NGOs don’t want to wait for the government to act. But they are also convinced that unemployment makes young people more vulnerable for the dangerous sects. The “society for peace and mutual coexistence” is one of them and is active in the prevention in the North. “What we are doing as an NGO is to occupy the mind of the youths in those areas where Boko Haram is operating because we believe that this is a state of the mind and it starts from the mind”, explains  Yinka Olumuyiwa . They were going to have a protest but they had to postpone it because of government bureaucracy. “But soon we are going to have a seminar where we will educate people that they don’t have to wait for white collar jobs but start something with the little they have.”

“We are taking this route because sooner or later, all the food, money, clothes the government is providing will stop and then what?” asks Olumuyiwa. “So they have to get something doing now. Because when they are idle they can be cajoled into joining militant groups”. The NGO is convinced that the young people don’t have to be trained to start something. “People need their clothes washed, ironed, they can start from there and keep themselves busy and earn little money because the situation in the country has reached the point that if you don’t know a senator, you can’t get a well-paying job”, says Olumuyiwa. The seminar will take place at the camp the government has provided for displaced persons.

Boko Harem was founded in 2002 by Mallam Mohammed Yusuf. It’s activities are concentrated in the northern part of Nigeria for now and the group is responsible for such bombings as the bombing of the United Nations building in Abuja, Nyanya bombing Abuja, Sabon Gari motor park in Kano, the Jos park bombing and the bombing of several viewing centres, where people gather to watch football matches and attacks such as several prison breaks freeing inmates and several confrontations with operatives of the Nigerian Army in their Barracks.

The founder, Mallam Mohammed Yusuf, was killed under questionable circumstances on the 30th July, 2009 and his 2nd in command, Mallam Abubakar Shekau took over the leadership of the sect. From all indications, the government is at a loss on how to curb the activities of this sect as they seem to be getting bolder by the day.

The Legal Practitioner, Yomi Adeseyoju explains the negativism of Boko Haram as a setback to the development of the nation. “Boko Haram is a threat to the security and progress of Nigeria. It is a major threat to education and the absence of education causes a negative impact on the governance, developmental and growth process of the economy” says Adeseyoju. “Nigeria being a democratic country, such threat will affect the fundamentals of democratic tradition by endangering respect for the rule of law, transparency, accountability and, disrespect for human rights”, he explains.

Adeseyoju is convinced that Boko Haram is just another name for terrorism, which is a global problem. “Boko haram is not a Nigerian problem but a global problem, because it is a threat rising from terrorist activities”. Adeseyoju says that terrorism from Boko Haram is not one of a domestic nature, as there is a degree of foreign intervention in Boko Haram in terms of weaponry and funding.

People have attributed the crisis in Nigeria to ethnic conflict, religion and politics. But Adeseyoju maintains that no religion will spill innocent blood the way Boko Haram has done. “Boko Haram are a pure evil with an endangerment to the human race” says Adeseyoju. To deal with this crisis, there should be a multi-trunk strategy that will take care of poverty issues, governing issues and so on.

The police forces are already trying to prepare themselves also in Lagos. “Since the insurgencies are still limited to the north, what we are doing here is proactive measures by beefing up security here” says a person involved in the matter. “Since we know that they target where there are large crowds, we try to beef up security at shopping malls, the market places, supermarkets, and even religious places. We try to educate the people to be security conscious and especially malls where we know there are large influx of people, we try to convince them to use metal detectors and walk through so as to detect bombs easily”.

Even though the fund from the government is not enough “we make do with the little resources made available to us”.

When it comes to their personal lives, people in Lagos have their own strategies: “If they should enter Lagos, they will cause mayhem and I will stay off malls, super markets and other public places that attract large crowd”, says the civil servant Emeka.

The petty trader Ikeja, who has hardly any time to listen to the news and just listens to what she hears from people, explains: “Yes, as a human being I’m afraid but once you have  Jesus you should not be afraid of anything.”

Does she ever think: What if they come to Lagos? She points to the sky and says “Everything is in the hands of God” and begins to sing a Christian song in Yoruba language.

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