Nigerian Unrest

26 Aug

The bombing today in Abuja has many potential causes, including the possibility that this is one more attack by the group Boko Haram.  But another which bears investigation was suggested by one of the staff of the joint RtoP/Genocide Prevention office.  In some areas of Nigeria, calls for the UN to respond directly and robustly to what has been some very difficult — even violent — exchanges between local groups in the east and north and the Nigerian military.  In Nigeria as elsewhere, people yearn for a swift UN response to regional ethnic conflict that is rarely forthcoming.   Anger at the UN, rightly or wrongly, in such places is growing steadily as the UN fights the reputation of being on the side of governments rather than on the side of people.

As you know, we are organizing to perform trainings for the Nigerian military in 2012 on their protection of civilians responsibilities.   The bombing will not change those plans except cause us to wish that we could do it sooner.  Nigeria’s importance to the stability of west and central Africa can hardly be overstated.   We and our UN partners have a strong vested interest in having a presence on the ground in Nigeria, both for skills development and to help enhance the UN’s shaky stature in that country.



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