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September 2, 2020

Nigeria
Nigerian Atheist Arrested and Disappeared

The arrest and subsequent disappearance of Mubarak Bala, an avowed atheist from a prominent Muslim family, illustrates the fragility of human rights and the rule of law when an individual directly challenges the norms of conservative society in Nigeria.

Male protestors in Lagos protest against the government. The front sign reads "It is not a 'my religion or tribe is better than yours' matter. All our blood is red."

June 5, 2020

Nigeria
In Bayelsa, Nigerian Government Response to COVID-19 Falls Short of Promises

In a recent editorial, Ereku argued that the COVID-19 pandemic showed how "grossly inadequate" all levels of government were at addressing the needs of rural people. He is writing from Yenagoa in Bayelsa state.

A picture of a road running through Swali market, likely taken from an overlook. The road is lined with solid-colored, large umbrellas. People are on the road. The market appears to be made of small shacks mostly creating one large, single-story, structure. In the distance to the right is the river. The sky is gray.

June 3, 2020

Nigeria
Recent Flare Up in Violence Across Northwestern Nigeria

Some five hundred "bandits" on motocycles attacked a village (or perhaps several villages) in Katsina State in northwest Nigeria over May 30 and 31. They made off with "thousands" of livestock, likely cattle, and killed 18 villagers and a local headman.

Three soldiers walk on a dirt road with rifles. In the background, armored troop carriers drives on the dirt road along a wall with trees further down the road.

April 29, 2020

Nigeria
Tracking the Spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria’s Largest Northern City

A recent, so far unexplained, spike in deaths in Kano, Nigeria, highlights the difficulty of tracking the spread of coronavirus, especially in certain large African urban areas. Kano is regarded as Nigeria's second largest urban agglomeration, after Lagos. It is the capital of Kano state, the first or second largest in population. President Muhammadu Buhari, who has extended for another two weeks in Kano city a lockdown

A man sits on a box selling fruit and what look like gasoline bottles from a cart, while a women sells a bottles of something, along a mostly empty road after the postponement of the presidential election in Kano, Nigeria, on February 17, 2019

April 28, 2020

Nigeria
How Nigeria Has Responded to COVID-19 So Far

As of April 29, Nigeria has recorded over 1,300 cases, with 40 deaths attributed to COVID-19. Nigeria’s coronavirus spread had been concentrated in Abuja, Lagos, and Ogun state, the latter effectively a suburb of Lagos. Those three areas have been under lockdown since March 30, with an announcement by President Buhari to begin easing some restrictions beginning on May 4.

Men load sacks of rice, which have the words "COVID-19: Palliative for the Vulnerable People" plastered on them, among other food aid in a truck, to be distributed for those affected by procedures taken to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Abuja, Nigeria, on April 17, 2020.

April 10, 2020

Nigeria
Case Not Quite Closed on the Assassination of Nigerian Salafi Scholar Shaikh Jaafar Adam

While at prayer on April 13, 2007, the prominent Salafi scholar, Shaikh Jaafar Mahmud Adam, was assassinated at his mosque in Kano. At the time, the murder made a deep impression on mainstream Muslims, many of whom revered Adam. The murder took place in the final days before the 2007 presidential elections, and many observers, including those at the U.S. embassy, thought that the murder was somehow related. But it now seems more likely that Adam was assassinated by a vengeful former member of the Nigerian Taliban. His murder was an early manifestation of the deadly battles among Boko Haram’s competing factions that continue up to the present.

A man cycles past the Al Ansar mosque in Maiduguri. Four red and white minarets are visible around a green dome topped with gold. Person-sized arches line the one-story building around the dome and minarets.

March 31, 2020

Nigeria
Lamido Sanusi: A Man of Nigeria’s Past and Possibly Its Future

On March 9, the governor of Kano state removed Sanusi Lamido Sanusi from his position as Emir of Kano, which is usually regarded as the second or third most important Muslim traditional ruler in Nigeria, and an Islamic scholar. There is speculation, especially among some Nigerian expats, that he is looking to launch a political career, perhaps even contesting for the presidency in 2023.

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Nigeria's central bank governor at the time, gestures as he speaks during an interview with Reuters in his office in Lagos.

March 13, 2020

Nigeria
Nigerian High Court Orders Release of Detained Former Islamic Ruler

The Federal High court in Abuja has ordered the release from detention of Lamido Sanusi, the former emir of Kano deposed and exiled by the governor of the state of Kano, Abdullahi Ganduje. The decision follows a suit filed by Sanusi in federal court. It remains to be seen whether the judge’s orders will be carried out; the rule of law can be weak in Nigeria, especially when it comes to high-profile political prisoners.

Muhammad Lamid Sanusi II, then the emir of Kano, dress is mostly red robed embroidered with gold and his red turban and veil, rides through a crowd on a dressed camel during the Durbar festival, on the second day of Eid al-Adha celebration in Nigeria's northern city of Kano, on September 2, 2017. An aid holds a heavy red parasol over him as he rides.

March 10, 2020

Nigeria
How to Understand the Dethronement of an Islamic Ruler in Nigeria

On March 9, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state, through a unanimous vote of the Kano state executive council, dethroned Emir of Kano Lamido Sanusi. Soon after the vote, Sanusi was removed from …

Then-Emir of Kano Lamido Sanusi sits in white clothing with a sheer white vale and white turban, buttressed by a large, ornate, and maroon cushion, flanked by regalia.

January 23, 2020

Nigeria
Borno State Increasingly Isolated as Boko Haram Threatens Roads

Over the last couple of weeks, Boko Haram has increased attacks on the road from Maiduguri to Kano, the only remaining safe highway of the six major roads that connect Maiduguri with the rest of the state and country, according to Nigeria media. A major report on the increasing isolation of Maiduguri closely follows Boko Haram attacks on transmission lines supplying the city with electricity. Destroyed bridges and frequent attacks on travelers have cut off not only Maiduguri residents, but many other residents of Borno state from accessing or travelling to Borno’s neighboring states.

The city gate of Maiduguri along Bulumkutu road, on July 26, 2019, in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria.