Raleigh man: 'Pay attention to what's going on' in Nigeria
Posted January 15, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh resident Victor Ademola came to the U.S. from Nigeria 25 years ago to get an education and stability. Now a finance manager at Capital Ford, he still keeps up with what’s happening in his hometown in Nigeria, which has been under assault by a terrorist group.
“It’s very devastating, very devastating,” said Ademola, who grew up in a town called Baga and now has a college degree and triplet daughters in college.
Amnesty International says Boko Haram, a terrorist group that wants to establish a strict Islamic state in the country, has killed more than 2,000 people in Nigeria, leaving bodies strewn in the bush.
Extremist swept into the northeastern town of Baga in Borno state on Jan. 3, overran a military base and, according to witnesses, killed hundreds of civilians in the days that followed.
Amnesty International has released satellite images showing widespread destruction – with about 3,700 structures damaged or destroyed – but the horrifying picture of the attack is incomplete because aid workers, journalists and others cannot reach the Boko Haram-controlled area.
Extremists, who encountered resistance from civilian militias in Baga, systematically slaughtered civilians in what analysts believe was retaliation for their defiance.
“We need more people to pay attention to it – the whole world – to really pay attention to what’s going on in northern Nigeria.
Boko Haram is the same group that kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls last year, stoking worldwide outrage. Ademola calls the group the "Al Qaeda of Africa."
“(They have) taken advantage of the less privileged. They promise them something they don’t have,” he said.
But, he says, Nigerian officials tend to downplay the horrors of Boko Haram.
“Information is very difficult to extract from the Nigerian government, because they’re trying to portray a good face to the world,” Ademola said.
The atrocity in Baga has been overshadowed by the terrorist attacks in France, and Ademola says he understands why - Africa, with its long history of human tragedy, can feel so distant.
“As a human race, we cannot write off any part of the world, because there’s always potential,” he said.