The Nigerian government banned all forms of transportation, except ambulances and police cars, in Borno state from Wednesday evening to Friday to prevent any Boko Haram attacks during the Eid al-Adha. Borno’s capital Maiduguri also implemented a curfew.
“All movements using vehicles, bicycles and animals like horses, camels and donkeys in Maiduguri will be restricted as from Wednesday 5pm,” declared army spokesman Tukur Gusau. “Similarly, all vehicular movements into and out of Maiduguri … will also be restricted within the period until further notice.”
The government has been forced to add more security during Islamic holidays since the radical Islamic group tends to “increase their attacks” during these days. At least 17,000 people have died in attacks during Boko Haram’s reign of terror in the African country. They have increased the frequency of attacks since Muhammadu Buhari won the presidential election in May.
“President Buhari’s thoughts and prayers for Divine solace are with all those who have been callously plunged into mourning by mindless terrorists, when others are celebrating this year’s Eid-El-Kabir [25 September],” stated Garbu Shehu, Buhari’s senior special assistant on media and publicity.
However, people are not pleased with the restrictions.
“This has been happening for over two years now and people know they will celebrate Eid or any other celebration indoors without being able to go out and visit their relatives,” exclaimed Ahmed Umar Bolori, coordinator for Fa’ash Foundation, adding:
But they are bitterly complaining that the measure is inhumane and unprofessional. I am against the curfew and after the restrictions end, people will start move, markets will start operate and there will be people everywhere. People consider the curfew as a kind of postponement of the celebration. The number of security personnel is OK, but it is not deployed in the correct way. You see security forces only if you go to the main road, not in residential areas. What the government should have done was to maximise the security and allow people to move.
“I am a Christian, I don’t celebrate Eid,” said Sunday Obon. “My business is usually closed on Sunday because I don’t work during this day, as part of my religion. This will be a long time with no business, three or four days without any income and the government is not doing anything to compensate me.”
Authorities passed the ban days after three attacks killed 54 people in Maiduguri.
“A suspected Boko Haram suicide bomber detonated IEDs [improvised explosive devices] at a mosque in Ajilari and some insurgents also threw IEDs at a viewing centre,” said police spokesman Victor Isuku. “Total casualty figure is now 54.”
The military rescued 241 women and children on Tuesday in the villages of Janguroi and Bulatori. They also arrested 43 militants, “including a local leader, Bulama Modu.” The soldiers “destroyed both camps” and “confiscated weapons.” Another arrest followed in Wadlu after the villagers named the militants “who helped stage an attack in northern Cameroon.”