A statue in Yola, Adamawa State. © 2007 Jarret Cassaniti
This blog post originally appeared on a LinkedIn blog on January 26, 2015 and has been slightly modified for the K4Health blog.
Two atrocities were committed earlier this month, one in France and the other in Nigeria. As an article in Time magazine explains, the attack in France garnered more attention in America because it was, in both senses of the phrase, closer to home. Prolonged news coverage last April of a mass kidnapping in Nigeria by Boko Haram turned out to be an exception; the attention didn’t last and the girls have not been found. As Boko Haram continues its devastating rampages, presidential campaigning hits the home stretch and Nigerians wonder what Election Day, scheduled for February 14, will bring.
As a business traveler to Nigeria, I take notice when Boko Haram strikes. But Boko Haram was not a concern during my first trip to Nigeria in 2007, as an Emory University graduate student, because it had not yet been established. What did concern me, though, was the political and ethnic violence in Jos, Plateau State, the dynamics of which foreshadowed my research with nomadic groups in Adamawa State, where Boko Haram is now active.