Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Terrorism wins

And what does this say about the power of the state? or the government? or its legitimacy? Does this mean that Nigeria is a failed state?

Nigerian state closes schools amid fears of Boko Haram attacks
Nigeria's north-eastern Borno state is closing all high schools amid fears of large-scale attacks by Islamic extremists – an apparent victory for the Boko Haram terrorist network, whose name means "western education is forbidden".

School officials and teachers said about 85 schools would close, affecting nearly 120,000 students in an area that has the country's worst literacy rates.

Anger is growing at the military's failure to suppress an Islamic uprising in the north-east, despite a massive deployment of troops and a 10-month-old state of emergency…

"We have run out of excuses for our failure to live up to our responsibility to protect our innocent defenceless children from gratuitous violence," the speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, told legislators at a special session last week…

The school closures could have far-reaching consequences, including ending the education of some students in a region where few ever have the opportunity to get to high school, said the chairman of the Nigerian Human Rights Commission, Chidi Anselm Odinkalu.

"The average secondary school enrolment is slightly under 5% (in north-eastern Nigeria), so I think it's easy to understand that you cannot overestimate what the consequences of this could be…

The United Nations estimates that the Islamic uprising has forced 300,000 people to leave their homes in north-eastern Nigeria since 2010, most displaced within the country and some across borders in Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

Nigeria's military recently claimed successes in aerial bombardments and ground assaults on extremist hideouts in forests and mountain caves along the borders with Cameroon and Chad.

But they were unable to stop extremists who on Friday shot their way into the main military base in the north-east, Maiduguri's Giwa barracks, where they freed dozens of detained fighters before soldiers repelled the attack…

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