On 15 February, the Kano State government released the report of a committee it set up to probe unrest in the city: the report said poor governance, poverty and unregulated migration had turned the largest metropolis in northern Nigeria to “an urban jungle”.
Kano had been in a security crisis, sharply aggravated by the 20 January bomb and gun attacks staged by the militant Islamist sect, Boko Haram, which killed at least 185 people. In the wake of those attacks, the Kano state governor, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, constituted a 15-member committee of political and business leaders to probe the factors fueling unrest in the city.
Magaji Dambatta, who headed the committee, said that “With the virtual collapse of governance structure at community level, making it impossible to keep track of activities in local communities… Kano has unfortunately been reduced to an urban jungle”. The report further cited “the uncontrolled influx of foreigners” as a cause of insecurity. It called for “massive assistance” from the federal government to tackle the city’s staggering poverty and explosive unemployment.
Since 2010, Boko Haram has been waging an insurgent campaign with the goal of establishing Islamic government under strict and comprehensive Sharia law, in the northern parts of the country. While its attacks had been largely in the north-eastern states, the 20 January 20 gun and bomb assault on Kano, was the group’s bloodiest attack. On January 26, a security source said Nigeria had arrested some 200 foreign “Boko Haram ”, mainly from Chad, who may have been involved in the attacks.
On 28 June, the Nassarawa State Governor, Alhaji Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, identified mass poverty and the high level of unemployment as the key factors responsible for violence in the country.
He made the observation while receiving members of a sub-committee of the presidential panel on election-related violence, who paid him a visit in Lafia, capital of Nassarawa State. The panel is particularly investigating the violence that erupted in some northern states, shortly after the presidential polls.
Briefing the governor on the panel’s work, the leader of the sub-committee, retired Justice Samuel O. Uwaifo, said its terms of reference include unravelling the immediate and remote causes of the violence, ascertaining the number of lives lost and the magnitude of property damaged, as well as making recommendations to avoid any re-occurrence.
Justice Uwaifo said the panel has been broken down into three sub-committees, adding that his sub-committee is in charge of Nassarawa, Akwa Ibom and Niger States. He said his sub-committee would hold a public hearing in Lafia, and that its members would also visit some other parts of the state, including Doma, Keffi and Nasarawa, to assess the level of damage.
Urging members of the sub-committee to discharge their assignment with utmost responsibility, the governor pledged the support of his administration for their work.
On 17 June, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), a civil society coalition, called on the federal government to look beyond the militant Islamist sect, Boko Haram, in its response to the bombing of the Nigerian Police headquarters in Abuja on 16 June.
The group blamed the recurring bombings in the country in recent times on what it called the poor security network in the country, the failure of leaders to guarantee security of lives and property as provided for in the Constitution, as well as their failure to provide jobs and reduce unemployment among the youth.
The TMG Chairman, Moshood Erubami, warned that unless the government addressed these wider failures, the rash of bombings in the country could become a great tsunami, and threaten the nation’s foundations.
He said: “The sources of these bombings not yet known to our security operatives, despite some arrests that have been made, is a national embarrassment, to say the least. Therefore, the search for the perpetrators of this inhuman act should be taken beyond the Boko Haram sect, notwithstanding the claims by some Boko Haram elements accepting responsibility for the dastardly act. Penetrating searchlight must be beamed on other criminal elements, who might be hiding under the Boko Haram sect’s threats to cause insurrection in the land.
“The level of poverty in the country should be looked into as another possible factor that could be providing jobs for majority of unengaged hands of adventurous youths who should have otherwise been gainfully engaged, given the huge resources at the disposal of the country. Failure of leadership to provide the most needed employment opportunities for productive youths and the seeming loss of the country’s bearing in intelligence gathering and pre-emptive policing, could also have made it easy for youths of easy virtue to take security for granted, and start imposing their wishes on the people on daily basis while the fault is being put at the wrong door step.
Erubami said President Goodluck Jonathan should make internal security his major priority as this commencement of his administration. He said the President must focus on stopping the growing militancy in the Niger Delta, the surge of kidnappings, the Boko Haram insurgency and the spate of bomb blasts fuelled by youth unemployment, worsening economic conditions, and the ethnic and religious divisions across the country,