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tv   Our World  BBC News  December 29, 2021 1:30am-2:01am GMT

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russia's supreme court has banned one of the country's oldest human rights organisations. the court ruled that memorial must be disbanded for breaking the law on foreign agents. there have been protests outside the court and human rights groups say they are outraged by the decision from moscow. new covid infections in england and wales have hit a record daily high, as the british government defends its decision not to introduce further restrictions in england before january. greater restrictions have already come into force in scotland, wales and northern ireland. there's also been a record number of covid infections in france — almost 180,000 new infections recorded in a single day. the french government has already announced new measures there, including a mandatory work from home order.
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now on bbc news, it's time for our world. mayeni jones travels across north western nigeria to uncover the country's kidnap crisis. it should be the safest place a child could be. why do you study? from there, to go back towards what? but schools in northern nigeria are being targeted by kidnappers. since december, more than 1,000 students have been abducted in the region. and it's affecting everyone from the youngest to the oldest pupils, rich and poor. save this country from the hands of these evil people! she said: "mummy, they came to our school yesterday night and kidnapped us. " she now says: "mummy,
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come and see, they are just beating us." so, why are criminal gangs kidnapping schoolchildren? to find out, i've travelled across northern and central nigeria, speaking to those affected. this banditry is not some mere criminality. and the only way to deal with it is to launch a full—scale war against the bandits. under the cover of darkness, criminal gangs are disturbing the peace. armed men are targeting boarding schools, stealing children away as they sleep. since the kidnapping of the chibok girls in 2014, the mass abduction of
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schoolchildren has become an increasingly common phenomenon here in nigeria. and every time, it follows a similar, chilling pattern. armed gunmen storm dormitories in the middle of the night, often arriving by foot or by motorbike, and take dozens of students with them into nearby forests. 39 students and staff were seized from the forestry school in the northern state of kaduna in early march. a video of the hostages was sent to the parents on social media. victory sani and her sister, rejoice, were among those abducted. since that day, their parents have been trying to secure their release. victory is my first daughter,
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she has done a lot of schooling, she's a brilliant student. rejoice is someone who loves hairdressing, she plaits, she braids. the two of them are too addicted to themselves that they are always finding it difficult to live with each other. mr sani, since the incident, have you been contacted by the bandits? first contact that we was from the bandits, demanding for 500 million naira from the state government.
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and when we got a video of our children being flogged in the bush, i was sent to the social media by the bandits. we decided to go in protests. chanting. after ten days with no news of the 39 pupils seized at the forestry school... chanting. ..friday sani and other parents took to the street to protest. the government threatened to prosecute anyone negotiating with the kidnappers, including parents. the government came out again with another press statement, that anyone caught negotiating with the bandits would be arrested and prosecuted. but we would prefer to be arrested, provided our children would be in their home, at home. so, you are saying the strategy is not working? it's not working. if there is any
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strategy at all! people are dying and look as if nobody cares. it looks as if nobody cares. and we are still calling on the government to do something, fast. because those people will lose their patience and do something irrational. over the past seven months, a wave of kidnappings targeting schools and universities has swept the region. there have been nine mass abductions of students across five states. many believe the payment of ransom has created an industry. more than 1,000 students and staff have been taken and nine students have been killed. this round of kidnappings started in december, when more than 300 schoolboys were abducted from their dorms in the town of kankara. the town lies in a rural part of nigeria's north—western katsina state, vulnerable to attack. at the time, i travelled to kankara to cover the story. back then, i met usama,
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a student with sickle cell, who had managed to escape the kidnappers. i also spoke to ruqayya bello and bello sidi, whose asthmatic 14—year—old son, umar, was still missing. the kidnapped boys were released after six days. now, the school remains closed, leaving many boys at home without an education. the situation remains precarious. less than six months ago, we drove down this road to the town of kankara,
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to cover the kidnapping of over 300 schoolboys by armed men. since then, the area has become even more unsafe, with multiple reports of attacks. usama and others in his year have been relocated to a school in a safer location, closer to the state capital. why do you study? from there, to go back toward, what? what about the second one? he's one of the lucky few attending class, so he can take his school leaving exams. z is what? y? that moves from 2 to y. while he's pleased to be reunited with his friends, the past is hard to forget.
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as a young person studying in nigeria today, how safe do you feel? 14—year—old umar has also been reunited with his parents. he remembers the day he got to see them again fondly. tell us about your time in the forest, umar, what was it like? was it difficult, did you have enough to eat?
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when you think about umar going back to the school, to sleep there, do you feel a bit nervous?
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in katsina, where ransoms were allegedly paid, umar and others were safely reunited with their families. but one state in nigeria's north has taken a different approach. i am travelling to neighbouring kaduna, where the state's governor has taken a stand against the payment of ransoms. he has repeatedly appeared on local media to say he won't speak to, let alone negotiate with, armed gangs that are attacking rural communities. it's had devastating consequences — the number of kidnappings have increased.
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# we sing his praise. # we rise to see ourjesus.# mr and mrs yoanna's daughter dorothy attended the private greenfield university. 0n the day after she was abducted, mrs yoanna got a phone call from the kidnappers who put dorothy on the line. she said, "mummy, they came to our school yesterday night—time, they kidnapped us, we are in the bush. she now said, "mummy, come and see, they are just beating us." then the man collected the phone and he said they need money. if you want them to release our children, we must be 800 million.
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i shouted and screamed, i said "800 million?" so they asked for 800 million naira. that's about $2 million. did you have that kind of money? no. and i told him, "how did you expect us to get such money?" that was the last i spoke to her, and the man. we are still asking questions. as to how this thing happened, why our daughter? just two days later, mr yohanna got a call from the university telling him to come to a local hospital to identify the bodies of three students. when i went inside, the first person i saw was my daughter. i screamed, i said "they killed my daughter!" ijust wept and then it was when i came to the home that i broke the news to them that dorothy is no more. that was when i started crying.
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that is when my voice now ceased, that very day. you both had the worst possible news that any parent could hear. are you satisfied with the response from the authorities? i'm not satisfied because this thing happened on tuesday, and they called me on wednesday, and on friday, they killed my daughter. there is nojustice in that. i don't believe there is justice in that case. kaduna's state government says it has a strict policy of not negotiating with criminals, they don't pay ransoms. what do you both make of that decision? the people whojudge, the whole world should judge on that. therefore we will be praying for our whole nation, - nigeria.
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this nation is burning. if they are not ready to negotiate with criminals, i also hope they have the way of getting the criminals because if they don't get the criminals and they are not negotiating with them, then we are in trouble. father, keep watch over your children. | you are the keeper of zion, | you never sleep or slumber. save this country from the l hands of these evil peoples. you know, the more you speak to parents whose children have been kidnapped, the more overwhelming this problem is. i became a parent myself a year ago so i understand, if your child has been taken, all you want them is for them to come back home. but then there is the other side of the argument. if you pay ransoms, the kidnappings continue, it's an industry that is growing, so if you are a parent in nigeria right now, it's frightening because you want it to stop, but then you want your children to come back, and there are no clear answers.
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two more students from greenfield were killed after dorothy. eventually, the remaining abductees were released after the parents paid the kidnappers 150 million naira. that's $360 , 000. but nasir el—rufai, the governor of kaduna state, is refusing to pay ransoms, a policy which only seems to have emboldened the kidnappers. they have decided that they have to bring this state government to its knees by concentrating their attacks in this state. so you think that one of the reasons why they may be targeting the states is because you've made it clear that you won't pay ransoms? yes. do you think then that by making that statement, you're putting your citizens, your residents of kaduna state, at greater risk? not necessarily. i think, in the long run,
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or even in the medium term, it actually makes the state safer. we still have kidnappers, we have individuals being kidnapped, we even have attempted kidnap of students, they have been successful in two cases, but not on the kind of scale you've seen in other states. here in kaduna just last week, three university students were kidnapped. yes. were shot dead. yes. so how can you tell their parents that their children were safer? i commiserate with the parents, i sympathise with them, but that will not change our stand. the only way to end kidnapping is for societies to stake a stand that we will not pay. i know the pain of losing children, but i have to subordinate that to the overall interest of the society which elected me to provide leadership. the nigerian government has long denied the links between criminal groups operating in north—western nigeria and the extremist group boko haram in the north—east. but in recent months, they have acknowledged that the two security crises
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may now be connected. we have to branches of islamic state active or building up here, and it's quite worrying, and this is why i said that the country is at war. this banditry is not some mere criminality, it is war, and the only way to deal with it is to launch a full—scale war against the bandits because the bandits and terrorists are linked, and they are one and the same. if boko haram's influence is spreading, doesn't it show that the federal government doesn't have a handle on security at all in nigeria, like many nigerians are saying, they haven't handled security well. no, security has definitely improved. those that are, yeah, yeah... i think many parents would disagree with you. when we came into office, boko haram occupied how many local governments in borno state? today they are restricted. should they have been wiped out? yeah. we work with the security forces to try to rescue the students. they are doing their best, but they can do better.
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the resources available to them can be improved, definitely. criminal gangs are not only targeting schools. they also regularly abduct civilians travelling by road. some think that negotiation is the only way to end the the kidnapping pandemic sweeping rural areas. villages have been raided and the death toll is rising. according to the international crisis group, many but not all of these gangs are made up of members of the semi nomadic fulani ethnic group. traditionally they made their living from cattle
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rearing but climate change and competition for resources has left many of them without an income. controversial islamic cleric ahmad gumi has made acted as a self—appointed mediator between groups of kidnappers and the government but the sheikh says the marginalisation of the nigeria's fulani population is counterproductive. they are voiceless in nigeria so they express themselves in a violent way. it's dangerous for a nation like nigeria that has a lot of money to allow a big segment of this population, without any formal or informal education, to behave in a certain manner. i understand that they might be unhappy with the way they've been treated by the authorities in the past. do you think that that killing, that action is justified? it doesn't justify crime at all from whatever angle it is. when you put people in the middle of a war, they feel it is right
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to kill the opposite. that is what is happening in nigeria now. the press has been saying, fulani men are criminals, killers, the nation is charged against fulani. innocent people. while we were filming, there is news of victory and rejoice, the missing sisters from the forestry school. they finally made it home. theirjoyful prayers this time, as the girls are reunited with their family. rejoice and victory, you're home. welcome home. ijoined them on a video call from lagos.
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what is it like to have your daughters home with you, how do you feel? now that the this thing has happened to you, this terrible thing, are you going to apply to university? do you want to continue with your education? what about you, rejoice, are you scared? especially if you have to sleep there? the students' release
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was negotiated by sheikh gumi. the return is not an uncommon experience. the majority of children who have been kidnapped in the last eight months have gone home. but there is no doubt that education here has been deeply disturbed. the subject is what, plural. the answer is plural. even before the kidnappings, nigeria was home to the largest number of out—of—school children in the world. it is correct. in the north of the country, only one in two attend school. now schools here are no longer secure. many have been forced to close. families continue to live in fear that their child could be the next to be taken.
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the run up to the new year is going to be really exceptionally mild, near record breaking in fact. and notjust on one or two days but really quite a prolonged spell of very mild weather, some four days or so. it's not really going to cool off until around the third or 11th of january. but this is the map showing the warmth in the atmosphere. if you look at the subtropical atlantic here, just to the west of the canaries, south of the azores, there is a current of warm air that is spreading in our direction and spread across western parts of europe and then deeper into more central and eastern parts of europe. in england, for example,
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this is how mild or warm it could actually get, 17 degrees. compare that to the average of eight celsius. now, at the moment, it's not quite so mild. in fact, in scotland with the clear skies in some eastern areas quite a nippy start to the day and not desperately cold for this time of the year. but still temperatures, i think, around freezing or below in some of the glenns, 5 degrees and some of the eastern parts of england. but 1a degrees in plymouth at 6am, so that's the mild air which is following this warm front here which will be moving across the uk bringing a spell of rainy weather for many of us. then that weather front will clear to the north, the skies should also brighten up a little bit. and temperatures mid teens, mid teens widely across england, wales, a little bit fresher in the north, but they could max out at around 17 celsius in the southeast of the country on wednesday and also on thursday. now here's another weather front that's coming in from the south, some wet weather particularly reaching parts of wales. in fact, that warmer weather moves further north too. we are talking about 16 degrees in hull, 17 degrees in the east and the southeast of the country. now, here's new year's eve, and it does look as though we are on track for one of the mildest new
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year's eves on record. i mean, it remains to be seen how mild it will be, but by day, we are talking around 15—16 degrees. you get the sense that it's notjust the one day that's going to be mild. we are talking about multiple days here with mid teens across many parts of the country. so a new record—breaking, i think, new year's eve on the way. bye— bye.
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welcome to bbc news. i'm david eades. our top stories: protests in moscow, after the supreme court bans one of russia's oldest and best known human rights organisations. new covid infections in the uk hit a record daily high, as the british government defends its decision not to introduce further restrictions in england china says its astronauts are being put in danger of a collision with satellites launched by elon musk. archival footage: opening night on theatre row in manhattan. - and that was then, but with a surge of covid—19 broadway is seeing a flurry of closures this
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festive season — how will the great white way handle the set back?


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