Aliyu tells the world of kidnap sect

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Al Jazeera and the BBC have been turning to Coventry’s Dr Aliyu Musa in the wake of mass kidnappings by the terrorist group Boko Haram.
Aliyu, who teaches on the MA and BA Journalism programmes at Coventry University, has been warning of severe consequences for the world if the Islamist sect keeps gaining power.
It grabbed global attention prominence by abducting 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria in 2014. When more girls were taken in neighbouring Cameroon on 18 January 2015, Aliyu started getting new calls from global media, asking for on-screen interviews.
Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 17.04.49“The main message I have given is the possibility of Boko Haram overrunning the Sahel region of Africa,” he says. “If that happens it is going to create a safe haven for the terrorist group where they can operate and launch attacks.
“There is a possibility people would move out of the region and create more refugee problems for the world. We are talking about 200 million people in Nigeria alone.
“Nearly three million have already been displaced after Boko Haram took over parts of north east Nigeria.”
In May 2014, Aliyu presented a paper at the University of South Florida, where he met an official from the US State Department and warned that a break-up of Nigeria could be caused by the group’s insurgency. “It would be a major danger to the world.”
Aliyu is writing a book about the conflict in his home land, and has published a number of academic papers on war and the media. He has also been a member of the research team at the Desmond Tutu Centre for War and Peace Studies.
He was invited to work as an expert commentator for Al Jazeera English in the run-up to the Nigerian elections – but from a studio in the Gulf. Broadcasting from within Nigeria itself would have been too dangerous.
He has to be resourceful to keep up with what is happening.
“A co-author of my book is in Nigeria so I get a lot of information from him because he goes into the field to do his research. And we talk to people who have escaped from the region.
“For me it is not as dangerous as it sounds because I do not expect Boko Haram to be able to find their way into Britain to do anything to me. There has been a threat but I have under-played it because I do not expect them to be able to reach me.
“I did my field research in the area but at the time they were still re-grouping. I’m still hoping to go there but I need to be careful where I go to in Nigeria.
“But Nigeria is home so, I feel I can go there at any time to see my family.”

Simon Pipe is a former print and BBC journalist, now a member of the Journalism teaching team at Coventry University. He also runs an experimental website, St Helena Online, about one of the world's most remote inhabited islands, at www.sthelenaonline.org On Twitter, when he has something to say, he is @simonpipe

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