Category Archives: TAP Experts Series

“Are the areas where [the teachers] are to teach secure?”

In the second in a three-part series on education in emergencies with a focus on the northeast, this interview with Abiola Sanusi, Education Specialist at Riplington and Associates, a Nigeria-based training, advocacy, research and policy organization that uses qualitative and quantitative data to aid their educative work in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa. Sanusi discussed from her civil society perspective the challenge of providing education in conflict-affected areas in northeast Nigeria, how much more is needed, the military’s role, what government has and had not done, and how local organizations can help. 

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“The [humanitarian] emergency can provide an opportunity for new learning”

TAP spoke to Education Officer and Coordinator of the Education in Emergencies Working Group Nigeria Dr. Judith Giwa-Amu, who facilitates coordination among several humanitarian organizations and federal government towards improved access to education for displaced children in the northeast. This is part of a three-part series on children and education in the northeast. In this interview, Dr. Giwa-Amu shares with us key details about education sector humanitarian response through which conflict-affected children are educated, teachers are being trained, and coordination is happening among all key actors. She also tells us how education of girls is being attended to, and tells us of what is happening in terms of education to Nigerian children who had managed to flee to camps in neighboring countries. She shares her hopes for increasing school enrollment and how larger organizations can bolster support for smaller ones to further improve on delivery of education of this vulnerable population of children in the region.

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“It is an act of wickedness for our government to ask people to leave camps and go back to the community that they have not fixed”

Testimonial Archive Project interviewed Peter Egwudah, Program Coordinator of Oxfam International local partner Civil Society Coalition for Poverty Eradication (CISCOPE) in Yola, Adamawa State. This interview was conducted thanks to partnership with Oxfam International and Guardian Newspaper. Egwudah has lived in Yola since 2014, and has been working to support communities of displaced people and those who have lost their livelihood and homes as a result of the Boko Haram conflict. In this interview, Egwudah talks about the relationship between local civil society organizations in the region and the military, international organizations and government. He talks about the situation facing people who have lost their livelihood due to the Boko Haram conflict, and proffers ways forward for the government in improving the dire situation facing displaced people in the region. He also talks about the cash transfer program his organization extends to displaced people and the importance of the upcoming local elections in Michika Local Government Area that was postponed for the third time at the time of this posting.

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“The responsibility of the state to protect its people doesn’t cease because they have been internally displaced”

TAP interviewed the Executive Director of the National Human Rights Commission Chidi Odinkalu on the mass displacement in Nigeria as a result of conflict, with a particular focus on the conflict ongoing in the north-east. In this interview, he gives an overview of displacement in Nigeria in recent years and tells us how internally displaced people (IDPs) were treated during the elections. He talked about the Commission’s work with media partners to bring to light sexual and other abuses of IDPs, and how politicians in both of Nigeria’s major parties exploited the internally displaced during the recently concluded elections. He also talked about the need for more inter-agency work with regards to IDPs, and what support government needs to provide for that to happen.

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“We have a president that would go to a social event the next day [after an attack] and be dancing”

Almost ten months after the abduction of over 200 girls in Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, the campaign to pressure the government to rescue them persists. This interview features Bring Back Our Girls campaign Strategy Committee member Bukky Shonibare, and she talks to TAP about displacement, government’s role and what she hopes the next four years would bring in terms of improving the security situation in Nigeria’s northeast. She talks about her initiative Adopt a Camp,  what ordinary people in more peaceful areas of the northeast are doing to help residents from more troubled regions, and what is needed in the government agencies’ work with displacement communities.

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“By this morning, we had 4,478 internally displaced people”

Mallam Haruna Amman Kure, the Executive Secretary of Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) spoke to TAP about his work managing the displacement camp where over 4,000 Nigerians fleeing militia violence from Michika, Mubi, and Madagali Local Governments in Adamawa State, among other areas. He talked about how the displacement camp came to be, shared with us from his statistics how many people were in the camp as of 27th of September, and how local organizations have been working to support the displaced population. He also talked about the mental health needs of the displaced and what SEMA’s work in meeting these needs, as well as voter disenfranchisement in the run-up to the upcoming Adamawa State Elections.

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“The first people came when their homes were struck [by militants], now people are coming on their own”

Mr. Abubakar Gombe of Red Cross in Gombe State helps to manage an IDP camp for people fleeing insurgency violence in Borno State. The camp is located in the Gombe-Biu by-pass area of Gombe in Gombe State. In this interview, he talks to TAP about his work with the IDPs. He describes IDPs’ typical behavior when they first come into camp, what kind of assistance the Red Cross and other international agencies are rendering, and the importance of the local community in Gombe State welcome of the IDPs. From this interview, we learn that there is still no institutionalized government program to help the IDPs fleeing insurgency violence and that post-traumatic counseling support is still needed for displaced populations in the region.

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“For the 57 girls that escaped, they have all been rehabilitated and we have provided them psychological support”

This post is part of a series of interviews with subject matter experts on the northeast of Nigeria and the ongoing militant violence. TAP hopes these interviews will contribute to an issue-driven conversation on what relevant actors in the region can do to help stop the violence and improve well-being of Nigerians living in violence-prone areas.

Among the challenges in information sharing on the situation ongoing in northeast Nigeria is getting a sense of what the state government is doing to alleviate suffering of the population under its aegis, and what support is needed on the well-being of Nigerians living in the area. The Borno Commissioner of Health Min. Salma Anas-Kolo talked to TAP 10 days ago about her work in service delivery in Borno State, sharing insight into the challenges of internal displacement, the state of public health, and the ways in which state and federal governments are working together in healthcare. She talks about the overcrowding at the displacement camps and the cholera outbreak in the camps as a result. She also addresses the state’s provision of mental health services to 57 girls from Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State who managed to escape their abductors, and the challenges the state is facing in terms of human resources and support.

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“Gender has always been a component of the way [Boko Haram] violence has happened, and it’s become more explicitly so”

This post is part of a series of interviews with subject matter experts on the northeast of Nigeria and the ongoing militant violence. TAP hopes these interviews will contribute to an issue-driven conversation on what relevant actors in the region can do to help stop the violence and improve well-being of Nigerians living in violence-prone areas.

Elizabeth Pearson is a gender and extremism analyst who is studying towards a PhD at King’s College London on gender norms in Jihadi and counter-Jihadi radicalisation. and a member of the Nigerian Security Network. She co-wrote a report titled, “Women, Gender and the evolving tactics of Boko Haram,” Journal of Terrorism Research, Volume 5, Issue 1, February 2014. This report addresses an under-researched aspect of Boko Haram’s activities: gender-based violence (GBV) and its targeting of women. It argues that 2013 marked a significant evolution in Boko Haram’s tactics, with a series of kidnappings, in which one of the main features was the instrumental use of women. In this interview, Pearson puts the well-known abduction of over 200 girls in Chibok Local Government Area spurned the #BringBackOurGirls protests in Nigeria and elsewhere in context. She discusses the ways in which gender-based violence has featured in the ongoing insurgency on the part of both the military and the militants, the ways in which Muslim and Christian women have been treated durning the violence by the militant group, and the ways in which the government can help communities affected by the violence in the remote communities affected by the violence.

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“This is, to me, what has laid the foundation for the upsurge of Boko Haram”

This post is part of a series of interviews with subject matter experts on the northeast of Nigeria and the ongoing militant violence. TAP hopes these interviews will contribute to an issue-driven conversation on what relevant actors in the region can do to help stop the violence and improve well-being of Nigerians living in violence-prone areas.

TAP interviewed Dr. Muhammad Kabir Isa is a professor and Head of Department at the Department of Local Government and Development Studies at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) in Zaria, Nigeria on the origins and evolution of the much-feared Islamist militant organization Jamā’at ahl as-sunnah li-d-da’wa wa-l-jihād, better known as Boko Haram. Dr. Isa is one of the first people to write about the Islamist group, and has been researching and writing on Islamic fundamentalism for years. In this interview, Dr. Isa sheds light on the history of Borno State, the psychology of Boko Haram, the key factors that have fed into the growth and expansion of the Islamist group, and the role that the protracted dearth of development and good governance has played in readying the ground for situation today.

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