Lebanese living in fear in Nigeria
Below is today’s story on Lebanese living in Nigeria’s worsening security situation. From a reporting aspect it was a very interesting story to work on. I got to learn a lot about Nigeria, a place that has always interested me, as well as really tap into social media and online tools to track down the sources I needed.
After several hours of trying to make calls to Nigerian numbers, finally getting connected and feeling like i was talking to someone down a deep well, I put all my eggs in the social media online research basket. Through twitter and a some google sleuthing I was able to track down and interview Lebanese in Nigeria and a Lebanese diaspora expert in Nigeria in under 48 hours.
It gave me a real appreciation for how powerful a tool social media and the internet can be as well as how small they can make the world feel.
I think I can confidently say this is the best reporting on Nigeria done from Beirut that you will read this year? hahaha. Click the link for the rest.
BEIRUT: The roughly 20,000 Lebanese living in Nigeria are hunkering down and eyeing the exits as Africa’s most populous nation is becoming increasingly unstable and sliding to what some analysts say could be a massive civil war.
The radical Islamist group Boko Haram has killed hundreds of people in sectarian attacks across the country and is demanding a religious purge of the Muslim-dominated northern region. Nigeria’s government has yet to rein in the paroxysms of violence that threaten to plunge Africa’s largest oil producer into chaos.
For Mohammad Obeid, a Lebanese from Tripoli who lives in the central Nigerian city of Abuja, the situation is deeply worrisome. “Our main concern and fear these days is it doesn’t turn to civil war, as things are going out of control,” Obeid writes in an email.
“The riots, strikes, armed gangs, lack of security and most important the evolving sectarian hatred. For me I will be leaving this country if this violence turns to a civil war. In this situation we will be a number one target for kidnappers and armed thugs,” he adds.
With the country’s President Goodluck Jonathan acknowledging that Boko Haram has infiltrated the country’s security apparatus and increasing calls for reprisals for the killings, Nigeria’s outlook is decidedly grim.
When people fled Lebanon during the Civil War, thousands ended up in Nigeria. Since then the diaspora in Nigeria has prospered and grown in the country via influential business and communication networks with other Lebanese around the world.
That success has let Lebanese build roads and schools in Nigeria and send remittances back home. The director general of the Foreign Affairs Ministry says the total number of Lebanese in Nigeria is now roughly 20,000.
But now many of those families are beginning to have to confront the same question they had to answer in Lebanon over 40 years ago: What do we do if things get worse?…Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2012/Jan-26/161106-lebanese-in-nigeria-live-under-specter-of-civil-war.ashx#ixzz1kaoAj5dk
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)
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