Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Boko Haram in Nigeria: The role of corruption, religion and politics

February 20, 2012. (Romereports.com)1 It was August of 2011, when a United Nations building was attacked in Nigeria. Then just a few months later, in December, the attacks turned against civilians, when Christian churches were bombed.
The attacks were credited to a terrorist group named “Boko Haram,” which translates to “Western education is prohibited.” Critics say the radical Islamic group wants to impose its religion, even if it's done violently. 
Eugene Ohu
Journalist (Nigeria)

“The head of Boko Haram was arrested. He was healthy at the time, but by nigh time he had died. Who killed him? People were thinking that the Nigerian police killed the head of Boko Haram, so this provoked another reason for more attacks: revenge.”


The attacks go against the day to day coexistence between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria. Muslims are a majority in the North and Christians in the South. Most recently, the brutality of the attacks have also caused divisions among the terrorists.
Eugene Ohu
Journalist (Nigeria)

“There was an attack in the state of Kano that has killed many Muslims, more than two hundred people. Well, Muslims who are part of Boko Haram don't think it's right to kill 'their people' so to speak. So the other questions rise within the group like 'what is our purpose.' There are internal difference within Boko Haram.”
Since 1999, for the most part, Nigeria's presidents have been Christian. So, as a way to oppose the president, some Northern politicians have used Boko Haram's arguments to entince the youth to publicaly promote the so called Sharia law. Even if they don't agree with the terrorist group, politicians use it as a tool to weaken  the president and his policies.
Eugene Ohu
Journalist (Nigeria)

“When there is a clash between two politicians, one from the North and one from the South, it is very easy for this northern politician to tell his followers 'this other politician is an enemy of our religion, let's attack' . The reasons are political and the instrument that's used is religion.”
Manipulating religion like this, is grouped with yet another problem in Nigeria: corruption.  In fact the prime suspect in the bombing that killed more than 40 Catholic last Christmas was arrested but escaped the next day in broad daylight.
Eugene Ohu
Journalist (Nigeria)

“Is there corruption in Nigeria? Yes. Is there corruption in the U.S.? Yes, of course. Is there corruption in all countries? Yes, but what's the difference: perhaps in other countries the law works. Things are slowly  improving in Nigeria.”
Journalist Eugene Ohu says that to understand Nigeria one needs to take several issues into account. All political, ethnic, social and religious reasons. He says the conflict and attacks from the Boko Haram, is much more complicated than just a “war of religions.”
OFL/KLH
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-MGZ

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