Nigeria has deported 22,000 illegal migrants to neighboring countries in a crackdown related to an Islamic uprising in the northeast. The deportations took place since a 3-month-old state of emergency was imposed in three northeastern states covering one-sixth of Nigeria and bordering the deportees' three countries. This is according interior minister, Abba Moro, who accused ``criminals among these illegal aliens'' of abetting Islamic extremists. He told a news conference Friday that all 22,000 were sent to neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon. Security and immigration officials have identified 84 illegal border crossings where they intend to back up patrols with electronic surveillance. The Islamic extremists want to overturn democracy and install strict Shariah law throughout Africa's most populous nation of more than 160 million people divided almost equally between Muslims and Christians.
Meantime, Borno state deputy governor, Zanna Mustapha said a new training program will be launched to reach a reservoir of angry and rootless young men who are easily recruited by Islamic extremists and transform them into productive members of society. The northern state of Bono is at the heart of the country's Islamic uprising and governor Mustapha said the program will try to stem the root causes of extremism in one of three northeastern states under a 3-month-old state of emergency. A similar program has met with some success elsewhere in Nigeria but critics say that the Borno program may be derailed by incompetence. They also argue that funds will be diverted in a country where corruption is endemic.