As the campaign against terror in Nigeria’s Northeast and Northwest regions intensifies and guns going silent, albeit temporarily, new security challenges continue to manifest for the country’s military, particularly in the North Central Zone, where an age-long inter-ethnic and religious rivalry is creating political upheaval.
While the gunfights persist, political and opinion leaders seek local and foreign solutions and sometimes formulate hypotheses which tend to worsen already bad situations. In the midst of the confusion, other security threats buried in cultural values and belief systems which promote human rights abuse of vulnerable persons by those who ought to protect their interests erupt.
And more painful is the fate of individuals and groups working to provide care and succour for the needy who are caught in the crossfire between state agents working to secure populations in war ravaged communities and terrorists attacking them.
Yet, there are those who have found hope in new communities after escaping terror attacks in their communities to other parts where they call home, but the owners of such communities seek safety in foreign lands. These form the mix of HumAngle reports for the month of August 2020 as highlighted in some of the reports that follow.
A terror group ‘Darul Salam’ has re-emerged and scores of its members have surrendered to officers of the Nigerian military deployed to Uttu in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, Toto local government is located about 140 kilometres from Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city. During a clearance operation, the Nigerian military discovered an explosive-making facility in the camp of the budding terror group, indicating how dangerous its members could become if nothing is done to stop their activities.
Nightmares and fear of the unknown were part of the issues that plagued teenagers who managed to escape Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s Northeast region and found solace at the International Christian Centre (ICC) Camp, Edo State, South-South region. According to officials, over 4, 000 displaced children and teenagers have been assisted by the camp in Uhogua.
“Is the person still alive?” This is the question that nags the minds of families of persons who have disappeared, mostly without a trace. So solemnly and still puzzled, Nigerians remember critic Abubakar Idris (Dadiyata) who has been missing since August 2, 2019. Also, people remember the 130 men and boys who have been missing in Cameroon since December 27, 2014, following the government’s crackdown on suspected Boko Haram members.
Ahmad Aliyu, the 30-year-old man locked up by his parents for seven years for alleged drug abuse, was a football coach in his local community in Farawa Arewa of Mariri in Kumbotso Local Government Area of Kano State, neighbours and associates told HumAnge on Saturday.
Obadiah Mailafia, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) educated at the Oxford University, London, backtracked his claim that a serving northern governor is a leader of Boko Haram. He has since recanted his claims and apologised for misinforming Nigerians, following his interrogation by the State Security Service.
Deepfakes are fake videos created by using artificial intelligence, otherwise known, as “deep learning” to make images of fake events to look realistic. The word deepfake itself is a coinage from deep learning and the fake. The technology creates convincing but entirely fictional events making people who didn’t participate in such occurrence appear very closely real. It allows anyone with a powerful computer to create a picture or video of people saying what they didn’t actually say.
A Non-Governmental Organisation in Nigeria, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), has regularly released figures since 2018, which it says are evidence of an ongoing genocide against Christians by jihadists and jihadist herdsmen in the country. But an analysis of statistics from reliable sources shows that these claims are inaccurate.
Shortly after overseeing a successful diplomatic deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United States (U.S.) has started pushing for the establishment of similar ties between the Middle East country and Sudan. And this may have far-reaching consequences for security in the Sahel region.
The right to move freely without a care has become a luxury most Nigerian youths cannot afford. Worse, though, is the fact that the law enforcement agencies are part of those responsible for the uncertainty and unrest in the minds of young people. In recent times, there have been several reports of policemen and other security agents taking advantage of young people as they go about their businesses.
While some residents of Lagos and Abuja keenly follow the news to monitor events around the COVID-19 outbreak, majority of Edo residents believe the virus is a hoax and care less about the situation. Traveling through the state capital, Benin, the villages down to Ibilo in Edo North Senatorial District, the number of persons wearing masks go from sparse to non-existent.
The illegal migration trend does not seem to have an end in sight as some young people in Edo State look forward to making their own trips to Europe, return home and become influential in their communities despite the risks involved. HumAngle investigations revealed that travel plans are still being made during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
Following a recent report by HumAngle detailing the puzzling web of an audacious network of active cells and strategic alliances by the Jama’atu Ahlil Sunnah Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, otherwise known as the Abubakar Shekau faction of Boko Haram, in Northwest and North Central Nigeria, investigation has revealed that there were 400 fighters in Niger and Zamfara states by July 2020.
As citizens in Edo State prepare to elect a new governor on September 19, 2020, they are worried about threats of violence by candidates in the contest. There are 14 candidates in the election but the people have their attention on the two major parties in the race – APC and PDP – , which they ask to minimise their strategies to execute violence during the poll. Some citizens told HumAnge that they anticipated violence would “certainly be used during the election but both parties should reduce the casualties as much as possible”.
Katsina, the capital of Katsina State, continues to see an influx of refugees fleeing their villages as they continue to suffer at the hands of terrorists ravaging their communities. The criminals rob, kidnap, rustle cattle, murder and rape women in their acts of brigandage which is affecting other parts of Nigeria’s Northwest region.
Aid workers in the Northeast are caught between the crosshairs of the Nigerian military and terror groups. Apart from endangering the lives of aid workers, the military’s stringent guidelines and unfounded accusations that aid workers have sympathy for terrorist elements also create distrust between humanitarian workers and the civilian population.
On Friday, August, 26, 2011, exactly nine years ago in Abuja, the world was stunned as the Islamic jihadist terror group in Nigeria, Boko Haram, dealt a fatal blow, unleashing a most devastating attack on the symbol of the fraternity of nations and common humanity.
Auno community in Borno state, northeast Nigeria, has been in the news almost as a pointer to the ruthlessness of the insurgents in the region. The community sits on the edge of the gateway into Maiduguri right on the highway between Dutse and Borno state capital city, and that road has been a prime target for ambushes and abductions by Boko Haram.
The environment where they dwell immediately raises the red flag on several health fronts. Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in most parts of Borno state are particularly more vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic than other segments of the population considering how they live in crowded unhygienic environments.
Lydia Semo lost her husband, Solomon, three years ago. Solomon who was an inspector of the Nigeria Police Force, died in active service in Jos, Plateau State, but the family has yet to be paid his death benefit. In the middle of last week, Semo lost her brother, who passed away at the National Hospital in Garki. She was at her hometown for his burial when she received a call at 5 a.m. on Saturday that she had also lost her house.
As secondary schools in Nigeria prepare to receive final year students due to write the Senior Secondary School Examination from August 17 beginning from Tuesday, August 4, stakeholders are divided over the decision by the government to reopen the schools.
Calamities are raining in torrents for the residents. There is a rise in terrorist attacks, abductions and other violent crimes across Northern Nigeria, amid the spread of COVID-19. The already dreadful humanitarian crises are further worsening. Victims who manage to escape one calamity steadily find themselves down into the rabbit hole of other criminal onslaughts. Under the overwhelming crises, not much help is in sight. For victims of escalating calamities, particularly in Northeast Nigeria, God seems far away.