A Nigeria Thread (Non-Music Division)

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gabbneb, Saturday, 29 November 2008 18:47 (thirteen years ago) link


i still wanna go mostly cuz of music/food/nollywood. talking to nigerian dudes i was told that the north is mostly islamic & law-abiding and the south is mostly christian & dangerous tho i dunno how true all that is

dat dude delmar (and what), Saturday, 29 November 2008 18:55 (thirteen years ago) link

my limited knowledge - yes, the north is primarily muslim and south primarily christian. there's occasional, serious violence in both regions between muslims and christians (also rooted in ethnic and other divisions). it may well be that the South is more dangerous given that it's where the oil is, and I think it's more rapidly urbanized. it's got Lagos, at least. historically, there's been a slightly larger muslim population (in part due to where the border with cameroon was drawn?), and there have been some efforts to impose sharia law in the North. the military establishment that ran things for decades was most associated with the North, and extracted Southern resources for Northern benefit. military rule ended with the election of the current President, a Christian from the South (who has some repressive military history of his own). Fela and King Sunny Ade are also from the South.

gabbneb, Saturday, 29 November 2008 20:49 (thirteen years ago) link

as are Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe


gabbneb, Saturday, 29 November 2008 20:55 (thirteen years ago) link

seven months pass...

Customs agents seize soapy bird’s head at BWI

LINTHICUM (AP) — U.S. customs officials say agents at BWI have seized a soap-encrusted severed bird’s head from the luggage of a traveler returning from Nigeria.

Customs and Border Protection agents at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport found the head in a container of homemade black soap on Tuesday. The discovery comes less than four months after they seized another soapy bird’s head from a Nigerian traveler.

The traveler in Tuesday’s incident, a U.S. citizen of Nigerian descent, was issued a $300 fine and the soapy bird head was destroyed.

Nigeria is considered to be affected with the “highly pathogenic” avian influenza and foot-and-mouth disease. Customs officials say importing fowl products from regions with bird disease outbreaks poses a significant threat to the American poultry industry.


^^^this, far far and away (kingkongvsgodzilla), Thursday, 16 July 2009 20:40 (thirteen years ago) link

uh what?

kind-hearted, sensitive keytar player (Abbott), Thursday, 16 July 2009 20:41 (thirteen years ago) link

why the soapy birds heads?

^^^this, far far and away (kingkongvsgodzilla), Thursday, 16 July 2009 20:54 (thirteen years ago) link

three years pass...

In a country with a government as corrupt and criminal as Nigeria, I could see Islamists gaining a real foothold by posing as an incorruptible moral force.

Aimless, Monday, 29 April 2013 18:28 (nine years ago) link


curmudgeon, Monday, 29 April 2013 18:29 (nine years ago) link

From today's NY Times

A gruesome assault that left scores of villagers dead has been blamed by survivors on revenge-seeking soldiers and has brought withering criticism at home and abroad

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 13:52 (nine years ago) link

I was just reading this - http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/boko-haram-s-strengthening-position-in-nigeria-by-ike-okonta

I have this fantasy about visiting Lagos and Accra (apparently there's an 8-hour bus ride between the two) one day.

Mordy, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 13:53 (nine years ago) link

Me too. Interesting piece. Thanks

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 13:58 (nine years ago) link

Man, I dunno. Ever since reading that New Yorker piece on Nigeria as a failed state ... maybe things are better, but it would not be anywhere near the top of my list of places to go.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 14:02 (nine years ago) link

id love to go. what did the nyer piece say? everything ive read/heard has indicated that its fairly stable and safe for tourists

max, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 14:04 (nine years ago) link

Don't worry, I won't go until my life insurance kicks in. (And probably not even then - maybe in a few years tho.)

Mordy, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 14:05 (nine years ago) link

Banning and Sean from Afropop Worldwide are in Ghana now. That sounds like fun too, and maybe safer.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 14:08 (nine years ago) link

yeah! they're gonna send me a t-shirt from accra :D

Mordy, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 14:08 (nine years ago) link

This is the piece, from a few years ago:


Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 30 April 2013 14:14 (nine years ago) link

three weeks pass...

The amount being spent is definitely a new development but there have been a ton of culture clash/diaspora nollywood movies filmed in the US and the UK.

Studied keyboard mash (tsrobodo), Friday, 24 May 2013 15:00 (nine years ago) link

If you live Nollywood films this new comp from Sahel sounds is amazing:

Mordy , Friday, 24 May 2013 15:02 (nine years ago) link

Aah yeah, I came across that last week. Haven't seen many (non-historical) Hausa movies and while the Bollywood vibes came through as a whole it felt more like party music than movie music.

Studied keyboard mash (tsrobodo), Friday, 24 May 2013 19:35 (nine years ago) link

that's the Bollywood vibe tho too - picture these attached to big dance numbers. nice find Mordy

the league against cool sports (Noodle Vague), Friday, 24 May 2013 19:41 (nine years ago) link

ten months pass...

Has been difficult to find any decent on the ground reporting about this, which is probably not unrelated to the surprising dearth of attention the story has been receiving in general.

tsrobodo, Sunday, 27 April 2014 00:26 (eight years ago) link

terrifying story
some suggestion that boko haram have been replenished with foreign jihadis driven out of the sahel in mali etc

Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln (nakhchivan), Sunday, 27 April 2014 03:09 (eight years ago) link

A senior security source said the government was in talks with the captors. "At the moment, all options are on the table. It's clear that military force alone cannot solve the problem, and there's a need to have dialogue too."

The official said the country's official satellite imagery database had not been updated since the 1980s – a key hindrance in the ability to track the extremists' movements across wide, isolated tracts of desert and forest.

On Friday the number of students thought to have been abducted climbed to at least 300, amid continuing confusion over how many girls were present during the attack. A school official said many parents had not been informed that they had to formally register their children as missing.

Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln (nakhchivan), Saturday, 3 May 2014 02:20 (eight years ago) link

Argh so hard to find a consistent story in all this.

Conflicting details and timelines everywhere.

Latest I'm hearing is that BH are willing to negotiate a deal to return girls that haven't already been trafficked. The fact that they didn't immediately come out and claim responsibility for it suggests internal strife/ disagreement on the matter, plus increased (and unforgivably belated) international attention is almost certainly not what they're looking for right now.

tsrobodo, Saturday, 3 May 2014 20:26 (eight years ago) link

Patience Jonathan really is a piece of work

tsrobodo, Monday, 5 May 2014 12:24 (eight years ago) link

“I don’t know where they are… there is no confirmation of the location of the schoolgirls, you are a journalist, you know more than me.”

President Goodluck Jonathan

tsrobodo, Monday, 5 May 2014 13:37 (eight years ago) link

DAKAR, Senegal — In a video message apparently made by the leader of Nigeria’s Islamist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls nearly three weeks ago, called the girls slaves and threatened to “sell them in the market, by Allah.”

“Western education should end,” Mr. Shekau said in the 57-minute video, speaking in Hausa and Arabic. “Girls, you should go and get married.” The Islamist leader also warned that he would “give their hands in marriage because they are our slaves. We would marry them out at the age of nine. We would marry them out at the age of 12,” he said.

Mordy, Monday, 5 May 2014 20:31 (eight years ago) link

(BBC) Suspected Boko Haram militants have kidnapped eight more girls in northeastern Nigeria.

The latest kidnapping happened on Sunday night in the village of Warabe, in Borno state. The girls taken were between the ages of 12 and 15.

On Monday, Boko Haram's leader threatened to "sell" more than 230 girls seized from their school, also in Borno, on 14 April.

The Islamist insurgency by Boko Haram has left thousands dead since 2009.

The BBC's Mansur Liman in Abuja says the area around Warabe, the site of the latest abductions, is a stronghold of the Islamist movement.

Map showing Warabe
The gunmen arrived in two trucks and also seized animals and food from the village.

Communications are very poor in the area, which explains why the news took several days to emerge, our correspondent says.

Residents from a nearby town told AFP that they feared Boko Haram would target them next.

Mordy, Tuesday, 6 May 2014 17:11 (eight years ago) link

xp Atane is largely otm (His second point demonstrates why comments under any article about Northern Nigeria in a Western publication are unreadable, or at least more so than the norm) but he is being a little unfair. He correctly pinpoints poor leadership as a key impediment, so surely anything that puts pressure on the Nigerian government to get results is a boon and international attention does just that. This is something that everybody should feel outrage about, not just Nigerians and Africans but there's a legitimate sense that relative to other tragedies and atrocities, global reaction to this has been sluggish and now that things have picked up, that still remains to have been true.

Also the reality is most people outside of Nigeria, even amongst the Nigerian diaspora simply wouldn't know which sources and publications can be considered reliable and for the most part that's not something I'd be prepared to hold against them. When people were complaining that "nobody is reporting this", it's only fair to assume that they were referring to the news outlets that they use and are familiar with, which as he says is fair enough, so while there has inevitably been a tsunami of paternalistic and misugiuded rhetoric I wouldn't call it out on that front.

tsrobodo, Tuesday, 6 May 2014 18:25 (eight years ago) link

pvmic that nakh

Mordy, Thursday, 8 May 2014 21:14 (eight years ago) link

gotta admit that post is definitely out of character for you

balls, Friday, 9 May 2014 01:15 (eight years ago) link

The latest attack, on Monday, followed a classic Boko Haram pattern: Dozens of militants wearing fatigues and wielding AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenade launchers descended on the town of Gamboru Ngala, chanting “Allahu akbar,” firing indiscriminately and torching houses.

humans are a rotten species

espring (amateurist), Friday, 9 May 2014 01:50 (eight years ago) link

oh my god this guy's lopsided smile is horrifying


Mordy, Monday, 12 May 2014 16:45 (eight years ago) link

truly an evil muslim

ogmor, Monday, 12 May 2014 16:56 (eight years ago) link

well he's certainly not making a kiddush allah

Mordy, Monday, 12 May 2014 17:22 (eight years ago) link


yeah, i don't know. i think ppl self-identifying as a religion and claiming that their actions are done in the name of that religion's deity is sufficient to label them adherents of that religion. how can we possibly create a higher standard for religious identification than self-confession?

Mordy, Monday, 12 May 2014 18:44 (eight years ago) link

Is it really so straightforward? Is self-identification usually considered to be sufficient? If the vast majority of Muslims condemn their actions and those actions aren't explicitly endorsed by Islamic principles, how representative of Islam can you then say Boko Haram is?

tsrobodo, Monday, 12 May 2014 19:09 (eight years ago) link

Not necessarily representative but it is insane on multiple to deny that they're Islamic because you feel like they make Islam look bad. First, No True Scotsman fallacy. Second, religion is about self-confession to begin with. Third, the dude literally says 'in the name of Allah' in his speeches. He's not only incidentally a Muslim who is doing things that aren't Islamic. He's grounding his entire ethos in his religion.

Mordy, Monday, 12 May 2014 19:22 (eight years ago) link

on multiple levels*

Mordy, Monday, 12 May 2014 19:22 (eight years ago) link

or at least he's using the religion--or his interpretation thereof--to explain/justify his activities. which is just about what all politicized/militarized religion does.

espring (amateurist), Monday, 12 May 2014 19:27 (eight years ago) link

for one thing, you have to know something about these countries before you can even start on the apologia. easier to just ignore it.

Mordy, Thursday, 29 January 2015 18:58 (seven years ago) link

People who wanted to divert attention from CH to Nigeria probably wanted to say something like “the West doesn’t really care about Islamic terrorism, it only cares when it hurts white people, or when there is political currency to be gained by appearing to care”.

I did see this

curmudgeon, Friday, 30 January 2015 15:48 (seven years ago) link

That guy paints with too broad a stroke re "the Left", "Sahel/Muslim" etc and of course only takes on certain "cool bloggers" (meaning Greenwald, et. al)while ignoring governments and "the right" and right-wing bloggers. Acknowledging enduring aspects of colonialism is propably too cliched left for this guy (some of his writing I just skimmed so I could b ewrong). Thus, it seems like he is just more interesting in some "gotcha" points against certain lefty bloggers, than in trying to get people to really care about Africans in the affected areas.

curmudgeon, Friday, 30 January 2015 16:00 (seven years ago) link

well to be fair he makes it clear that he has been trying to get ppl to care about that for years now, and this column was mostly venting about the way the issue has recently come up

brain floss mix (sleeve), Friday, 30 January 2015 16:03 (seven years ago) link

i think he legitimately cares, but yeah his shtick is a kind of matt taibbi style outrage for the geopolitical set- he's not a particularly sensitive writer. (but also i don't think he feels the need to condemn the right-wing since Pando/Exile is nominally left wing - so they're swinging at ppl in their group)

Mordy, Friday, 30 January 2015 16:04 (seven years ago) link

mordy you do a good job being "provocative" by posting the most asinine "thinkpieces" on political issues, even ones you disagree with. i'm not sure if you think you're going god's work or what.

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 30 January 2015 18:50 (seven years ago) link

i'm instantly skeptical of anyone who invokes "the left" as some kind of monolithic enterprise

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 30 January 2015 18:51 (seven years ago) link

note to self: never click on a mordy link again. i've wasted so much time reading thinkpieces by smart people making really dumb, overly broad arguments.

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 30 January 2015 18:57 (seven years ago) link

idk about "god's work" but I do prefer a "wrong" provocative piece to a "right" boring one

Mordy, Friday, 30 January 2015 19:08 (seven years ago) link

your reaction to an article you didn't like seems a bit over the top imo

Mordy, Friday, 30 January 2015 19:21 (seven years ago) link

i'm just sick of reading stupid thinkpieces, is all.

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 30 January 2015 19:36 (seven years ago) link

idk about "god's work" but I do prefer a "wrong" provocative piece to a "right" boring one

― Mordy, Friday, January 30, 2015 1:08 PM (28 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

disagree. who need to get their blood pressure up for no reason? not me.

I dunno. (amateurist), Friday, 30 January 2015 19:37 (seven years ago) link

Maybe its a worthwhile discussion in its own right but I'm not particularly interested in the whole leftist disingenuity wrt Islam angle he hooks the piece on. His gloating on the matter cheapens whatever genuine interest and sympathy he purports to have; even more so when he links back to earlier pieces in making his point that feature the same factional sneering.

Beyond that its a pretty good illustration of the nonsense you're likely to come up with if you evaluate culture and religion in broad strokes and through the prism of warfare. His conflation of all Sahelian conflict is particularly daft. His relating of Boko Haram to Arab racism/skin tone is baffling and completely nonsensical.

The blunt vilification of the Kanuri is appalling bordering on outright racist. In fact much of the ethnography he employs in that piece vacillates between patronising, ill considered and flat out malicious. Its baffling to me that he thinks it makes sense to refer to century old sources that are couched in the scientific racism that underpinned the colonial period and use them unreservedly in blanket evaluations of modern day people. He might as well bring out some tape and start measuring skulls.

This is a decent (and relatively concise) appraisal of much of what the article touches on for anyone that's interested.

The history he lays down is extensive (even admirably so) but also deeply flawed. You're better off disregarding his description of the civil war and its causes entirely. The narrative that places the Igbo as victims of Nigerian history and the Hausa/Fulani as the hand of oppression is seductively elegant and easy to swallow but also beyond facile. I strongly suspect that much of his understanding of the Biafra war and the Igbo people came from Chinua Achebe's "There Was a Country" and while a great read, it is a reflection of Achebe's place in Nigerian history as an Igbo man that loved his people and fought for Biafra. It reflects his growing disillusionment with the realities of Nigerian statehood shortly before he passed. It is a memoir, not a dedicated historical text but it's quite clear that this guy has treated it as such.

A weird piece. Aside from the Igbophile streak and a blanket disdain for Islamic Sahelian cultures I can't really understand where he's coming from or place what paradigms he's followed to get to a lot of the conclusions he's made. I can't be too mad at that because he's essentially working in a vacuum with this. The people he considers his peers aren't likely to challenge what he writes here and I guess that gives him room to take a lot of license with the topic. At least in that sense the lack of "Hunger for Knowledge" he refers to presents a real issue.

To his credit I will say the aside about Ben Okri made me chuckle.

tsrobodo, Tuesday, 3 February 2015 23:33 (seven years ago) link


curmudgeon, Wednesday, 4 February 2015 16:11 (seven years ago) link

yeah, good critique there

parakeetal pancreasface (sleeve), Wednesday, 4 February 2015 16:13 (seven years ago) link

An NRA style response to a NY Times article on the brutality of Boko Haram:

Why can't we arm the women? Everyone else has guns. They seem as plentiful as gum drops. At least then they'd have a fighting chance.


curmudgeon, Friday, 6 February 2015 15:07 (seven years ago) link

i'd love to read a breakdown of chad's foreign affairs involvement over the last 2 decades

Mordy, Friday, 6 February 2015 15:12 (seven years ago) link

Chad's involvement in Mali with the French was considered a success by some, but its role elsewhere as you have noted has been considered more problematic. Someone must have published and posted a study or report or something on their recent history

curmudgeon, Friday, 6 February 2015 18:31 (seven years ago) link

Nigeria’s election agency on Saturday night put off a closely contested presidential election after weeks of pressure to postpone it from the ruling party, which analysts say was facing potential defeat for the first time in more than 15 years


curmudgeon, Monday, 9 February 2015 16:56 (seven years ago) link

one month passes...
two weeks pass...

Goodluck Naija

A MOOC, what's a MOOC? (Bananaman Begins), Saturday, 28 March 2015 21:27 (seven years ago) link


General Buhari won. 1st time a sitting Nigerian president has been defeated in an election.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 31 March 2015 22:49 (seven years ago) link

So he's gonna stop corruption and Boko Haram.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 1 April 2015 14:35 (seven years ago) link

Yup he'll also bring peace to the middle east and make the NCAA pay student athletes.

Reaction has been relatively muted which I guess isn't surprising. I'd imagine most feel like his presidency doesn't actually start until we get first indication of how good (or bad) he's actually going to be.

Asari-Dokubo is tacitly and eloquently threatening a return to militancy in the Delta which is also expected but his words are resonant.

“While President Jonathan enjoys his moments and basks in the euphoria of a new world-renowned statesman having congratulated Muhammadu Buhari, we must quickly be reminded that our struggle was never about Jonathan or about the presidency.

“President Jonathan is an establishment beneficiary of our struggle, our sweat and blood that many bled and died for. He was never in the struggle and he can never wish away our collective march for statesmanship.

“Yes indeed, to an extent, he was a mitigating factor in self-determination pursuit as we went on sabbatical. This mitigation he seems to have willingly repudiated. The days coming will be critical. We shall study all the conditions and consult widely before determining the way forward for our collective existence and survival as a people. The days coming shall either drive the quest of integration or further separate us.”

tsrobodo, Thursday, 2 April 2015 11:10 (seven years ago) link

Is this the dude who jailed fela?

Mordy, Thursday, 2 April 2015 13:28 (seven years ago) link

I think so

curmudgeon, Thursday, 2 April 2015 16:53 (seven years ago) link


Mordy, Friday, 10 April 2015 23:07 (seven years ago) link

14 April marks one year since the nearly 300 ‪#‎ChibokGirls‬ were kidnapped in Nigeria, and kidnappings and violence are ongoing. Today, UNICEF released a report about the hundreds of thousands of children facing abduction and conscription in regions where Boko Haram is active. ‪#‎365daysON‬ ‪#‎BringBackOurGirls‬

hard to believe it's been a year

Mordy, Tuesday, 14 April 2015 14:01 (seven years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Just got around to reading the piece on Lagos you posted Mordy, it was excellent. Captures a very wide snapshot of where the city is right now. Thanks for putting me on to that guy had never heard of him.

tsrobodo, Tuesday, 28 April 2015 17:09 (seven years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Hopefully the Nigerian government can finally do something but it does not look good

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 19 May 2015 14:31 (seven years ago) link

three months pass...

this is outrageous - that it's going on and that it has been ongoing w/ barely a whisper in the media:

Mordy, Friday, 18 September 2015 18:15 (seven years ago) link

four weeks pass...


I really hope the US can bring some stability to Nigeria. I know it seems unlikely but this seems to me like the kind of foreign intervention that the US can execute effectively and make a difference. It reminds me in many ways of the recent French intervention in Mali - and not just because I love music from both countries. For one, they actually seem happy that the US is there: http://news.yahoo.com/nigeria-welcomes-us-troops-cameroon-over-boko-haram-152233717.html

Mordy, Friday, 16 October 2015 03:02 (six years ago) link

Also, although it gets a bad rating from the Democracy Index, surely the election in March and peaceful transition of power is an indication that democracy is much healthier in Nigeria than previously thought?

Mordy, Friday, 16 October 2015 03:04 (six years ago) link

I met a guy from here this summer who was definitely not treating his job as a sinecure: https://www.cert.gov.ng/
I actually think that bodes well. A tiny anecdotal indicator but hey

BRAAAAAAMETHEUS (El Tomboto), Friday, 16 October 2015 03:11 (six years ago) link

to unpack that a bit - having a national CERT function is a bit of a luxury, and having one that has senior staff who really seem to care, and want to work collaboratively with their peers and counterparts, is a sign that a state is investing in infrastructure in a pretty forward-thinking way. If you want an advanced economy then you invest in ICT capacity, and if you want the best ROI on your ICT investments then you sponsor security and risk management functions like a national CERT. If that is indeed where NG is heading then that's really exciting. This reminds me yet again that I need to pay more attention to G77 goings-on.

BRAAAAAAMETHEUS (El Tomboto), Friday, 16 October 2015 03:56 (six years ago) link

just supplying intelligence not combat



U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the troops would provide intelligence to a multi-national task force being set up to fight Boko Haram and composed of troops from Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Benin.

curmudgeon, Friday, 16 October 2015 15:08 (six years ago) link

three months pass...

just in case you weren't sure if the boko situation was still a horrific mess: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nigeria-violence-idUSKCN0VJ265

Mordy, Thursday, 11 February 2016 17:56 (six years ago) link

Incredible thing is how much further it is to the absolute front.

I mean yeah the scale of the thing is grotesque and the traffic it results in is beyond insane but once you actually go to the camp and see the orphanage, rehab centre, soup kitchen, the schools, banks, the clinic, maternity centre and the jobs the whole outfit generates, Wole Soyinka grumbling about the Ibadan expressway seems somewhat irrelevant.

tsrobodo, Saturday, 13 February 2016 15:20 (six years ago) link

nine months pass...


DIFFA, Niger — Only 2 years old, Fatouma Ouseini lay in a hospital room, undernourished and listless from fever.

She is among the nearly half a million children expected to endure the food crisis that has plagued the Lake Chad region in the past year, aid groups say, a disaster brought on by Boko Haram’s relentless campaign of killing, kidnappings and looting of entire villages.

Fatouma and her family fled from just across the border in northeastern Nigeria, the epicenter of the war with Boko Haram, where scattered areas have teetered on the brink of famine for most of this year, according to the United Nations. Now, some aid workers fear that similar conditions could spill over to bordering areas like here in Niger, putting even more children at risk.

More than 70,000 people fled their homes along the border between Niger and Nigeria in the first half of this year after militant attacks increased. Many have resettled in Diffa, living in labyrinth-like neighborhoods of mud-brick homes, competing with longtime residents for food and water.

Will see what the UN and ngos can do...

curmudgeon, Monday, 12 December 2016 19:31 (five years ago) link

three years pass...

On the current mass protests against police brutality (that I mentioned in the Wizkid thread):



Queer activist Amara, one of the protesters profiled in that Al-Jazeera piece, ran into her own problems unfortunately:

A lady brought a 🌈 rainbow flag
and our fellow
protesters turned on us at Berger Roundabout Abuja.
they tore our placards and seized the flag.
I got it back but they refused that we fly it.
I wore it on my neck and they refused.
said we either take it off or leave.
I’m leaving pic.twitter.com/ZyaTzR7TQg

— Amara, the lesbian. (@the_amarion) October 14, 2020

Welcome to Nonrock (breastcrawl), Thursday, 15 October 2020 14:22 (one year ago) link

Good thread on the protests:

I’ve been looking for a thread to share with some context to the #EndSarsNow protests for my followers but I haven’t seen one yet – so I’ll do one. Feel free to quote tweet threads in the replies.

— Black as in Revolution. (@annie_etc_) October 11, 2020

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 21 October 2020 10:20 (one year ago) link

that thread provides useful background - meanwhile, the government’s response is becoming increasingly horrifying:

Welcome to Nonrock (breastcrawl), Wednesday, 21 October 2020 14:34 (one year ago) link

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the protests and the crackdown:

paywalled, so I’m putting it here:


Nigeria Is Murdering Its Citizens

Under President Muhammadu Buhari, there is a sense that the country could burn to the ground.

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Oct. 21, 2020

LAGOS, Nigeria — For years, the name SARS hung in the air here in Nigeria like a putrid fog. SARS, which stood for Special Anti-Robbery Squad, was supposed to be the elite Nigerian police unit dedicated to fighting crime, but it was really a moneymaking terror squad with no accountability. SARS was random, vicious, vilely extortionist. SARS officers would raid bars or stop buses on the road and arbitrarily arrest young men for such crimes as wearing their hair in dreadlocks, having tattoos, holding a nice phone or a laptop, driving a nice car. Then they would demand large amounts of money as “bail.”
SARS officers once arrested my cousin at a beer parlor because he arrived driving a Mercedes. They accused him of being an armed robber, ignored the work ID cards he showed them, took him to a station where they threatened to photograph him next to a gun and claim he was a robber, unless he paid them a large sum of money. My cousin is one of the fortunate few who could pay an amount large enough for SARS, and who was released. He is not one of the many tortured, or the many disappeared, like Chijioke Iloanya.
In 2012 Mr. Iloanya was 20 when SARS officers arrested him at a child dedication ceremony in Anambra State. He had committed no crime. His family tried to pay to have him released but were asked to bring more money than they had. So they sold their property to raise money and went back to the SARS office but Mr. Iloanya was no longer there. They have not seen him since. Photos of him on social media show a young man, still almost a child, with sensitive eyes and a future waiting for him. There are so many families like the Iloanyas who are caught between pain and hope, because their sons and brothers were arrested by SARS and they fear the worst, knowing the reputation of SARS, but still they dare to hope in the desperate way we humans do for those we love.
There have been End SARS protests, since 2016, but October 2020 was different, a tipping point had been reached. The protests signaled the overturning of convention — the protesters insisted on not having a central leadership, it was social rather than traditional media that documented the protests, and, in a country with firm class divisions, the protests cut across class. The protests were peaceful, insistently peaceful, consistently peaceful. They were organized mostly on social media by young Nigerians, born in the 1980s and 1990s, a disaffected generation with the courage to act. Their bravery is inspiring. They speak to hope and to the possibility of what Nigeria could become. Of those involved in the organization, none is more remarkable than a group called Feminist Coalition, set up by Nigerian feminists, who have raised more than $180,000, and have provided legal aid, security and food to protesters.
But the Nigerian government tried to disrupt their fund-raising. The Nigerian government has reportedly accused Flutterwave, the company through which the donation link was created, of accepting funds from terrorists, even though it is clear that Feminist Coalition’s members are not terrorists. Their fund-raising link suddenly stopped working. Still, they persisted, and began to raise money through Bitcoin.

From the capital city of Abuja to the small town of Ogbomosho, state agents attacked and beat up protesters. The police killed a few and detained many others, until social media and video evidence forced them to release some of the detained. Still, the protesters persisted.
The Lagos State government accused protesters of violence, but it defied common sense that a protest so consistently committed to peaceful means would suddenly turn around and become violent. Protesters know they have everything to lose in a country like Nigeria where the mere hint of violence gives free reign to murderous security forces. Nigeria’s political culture is steeped in state-sponsored thuggery. Politicians routinely hire thugs to cause chaos, especially during elections, and many people believed that thugs had been hired to compromise the protests. On social media, videos that attested to this — of thugs getting into SUVs that belonged to the government, of hardened and hungry young men admitting they were paid to join the protests and become violent. Still, the protesters persisted.

At about noon on Oct. 20, 2020, about two weeks into the protests, the Lagos State governor suddenly announced a curfew that would begin at 4 p.m., which gave people in a famously traffic-clogged state only a few hours to get home and hunker down. I feared that a curfew would provide an excuse for state violence, that in the name of restoring order, the army and police would unleash violence. Still, I was unprepared for the carnage that followed at the Lekki Toll Gate, the most prominent in Lagos. Government officials reportedly cut the security cameras, then cut off the bright floodlights, leaving only a darkness heavy with foreboding. The protesters were holding Nigerian flags, sitting on the ground, some kneeling, some singing the national anthem, peaceful and determined.
A blurry video of what happened next has gone viral — soldiers walk toward the protesters with a terrifyingly casual calm, the kind of calm you cannot have if you are under attack, and they shoot, not up in the air, which anyway would still be an atrocity when dealing with peaceful protesters, but with their guns at arm level, shooting into a crowd of people, shooting to kill. Sparks of gunfire taint the air. It is still unclear how many died. Those at the scene say that the Nigerian army took away some bodies, and prevented ambulances from getting in to help the injured, and that there was still shooting going on hours later, in the morning.
The Nigerian state has turned on its people. The only reason to shoot into a crowd of peaceful citizens is to terrorize: to kill some and make the others back down. It is a colossal and unforgivable crime. The brazenness is chilling, that the state would murder its citizens, in such an obviously premeditated way, as though certain of the lack of consequences.
It is anarchy, a friend told me. Nigeria is descending into chaos, another friend said. They may be right, but “anarchy” and “chaos” are different ways of using language to shield what is fundamentally to blame — a failure of leadership. It did not have to be like this. The government of President Muhammadu Buhari has long been ineffectual, with a kind of willful indifference. Under his leadership, insecurity has worsened; there is the sense that Nigeria could very well burn to the ground while the president remains malevolently aloof. The president himself has often telegraphed a contemptuous self-righteousness, as though engaging fully with Nigerians is beneath him. Twelve hours after soldiers shot peaceful protesters, Mr. Buhari still had not addressed the nation.

A movement cannot spread so organically and widely across Nigeria if it does not legitimately reflect the grievances of ordinary people. A democratically elected government that is unable or unwilling to fully address those grievances has failed.
In the first week of the protests, the president sent out a tweet and then gave a flaccid speech about ending SARS. The inspector general of police has announced that SARS has been scrapped, but the government has announced the dissolution of SARS a few times in the past, starting in 2017. Because Nigerians are so accustomed to the two-faced nature of their governments, to promises destroyed even before being made, it is unsurprising that the protesters distrust the government and are demanding clear actions rather than words.
For weeks I have been in my ancestral hometown, where we first buried my beloved father, and then a week later, buried his only sister, my Aunt Rebecca. Immersed in my own raw grief, the frequent moments of stunned sorrow, thinking of my father’s casket being lowered into the rain-softened earth, wondering if it might still all be a bad dream, I think with a new kind of poignancy about those who have been killed. I think of their families brutally plunged into the terrible abyss of grief, made more terrible by the knowledge that their loved ones were killed by their country. And for what? Because they peacefully asked to be allowed to live.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a novelist and the author, most recently, of “Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions.”

Welcome to Nonrock (breastcrawl), Thursday, 22 October 2020 17:48 (one year ago) link

If anyone wants to keep up to date, Al Jazeera’s reporting seems quite on the ball. Not sure what’s the most reliable Nigerian news site, but The Guardian (guardian.ng) appears not to be in bed with the Buhari government at least (it does have other issues tho, if Wikipedia is to be believed). Music/culture website Native (thenativemag.com) is good for its reporting and opinionating from a pro-youth, pro-feminist, pro-lgbtq+ perspective.

Welcome to Nonrock (breastcrawl), Thursday, 22 October 2020 18:09 (one year ago) link

I can't get al-jazeera america. Don't have cable. But ty for posting that article.

the unappreciated charisma of cows (Aimless), Thursday, 22 October 2020 18:11 (one year ago) link

I meant aljazeera.com, their news site, sorry if that was unclear.

Welcome to Nonrock (breastcrawl), Thursday, 22 October 2020 18:17 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

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