The need to create Nigerian Anti-Terrorists Agency (NATA)
1 Interview with Dr. Engr. Baba J. Adamu, Ph.D The need to create Nigerian Anti-Terrorists Agency (NATA) to really address the issue of terrorism in Nigeria July 1, 2015 By Dr. Engr. Baba J. Adamu Holder of United Nation (UN) Certificate on Global Terrorist & an ICT Specialist Question: Dr. Baba J. Adamu
You are an ICT expert and also hold a United Nation (UN) Certificate on Global Terrorist & Conflict Resolution. What is your view about the current terror attacks in Nigeria?
Answer: Thank you. You see, today we live in an age of disturbing violence, on a scale on which, the world has never before seen before. The terror acts of AlQaida globally, ISIS in the Middle East and specifically in Iraq and Syria, Al-Shabad in Somalia, Boko-Haram in Nigeria and the neighbouring countries like Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
Even individuals committing suicide for one reason on another, killing innocent victims like the recent suicide bombing in Kuwait Mosque, the killings in Tunisia beach, in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and even in the USA; 2 call for different look at how to address the issue of terrorism in Nigeria.
This complex increased violence and suicide bombings is a Protracted Social Problem requiring a multi-faceted concerted response that should include using modern technology, deploying all instruments of an asymmetric warfare backed by effectual government policies and legislative armory, proactive intelligence collection, vigilant law enforcement, critical infrastructure protection, and government targeted action to promote the values, interests and the safety-net of all Nigerians. Question:
What then do these terrorists want and why is Nigeria in this mess?
Answer: The aim of terrorists is to spread fear throughout the population and to create a climate of insecurity by causing individuals mental anguish or physical injury, or by endangering their lives, freedom and safety. You know, the word “terror” and terrorism were adopted from the word terreur, a 14th century French word, which derives from the Latin: terrere, to frighten.
The word was first used widely in France during the French Revolution between 1793-1794 in what was called the Reign of Terror.
Since then, terrorism has evolved into something unrelated to its historical origin. Terrorism is now a specialized and sometimes sophisticated and large-scale, type of criminal conduct. It mostly involves the ruthless, pre-meditated use of military weapons, suicide bombings or forces to generate multiple casualty incidents, in which random, defenseless and innocent civilians are the victims, or,
The destruction of selected physical assets of a country’s infrastructure, including places of worship, schools, historical, public and cultural sites. The characteristics of terrorism which demarcate it from conventional crime are explained by the Four Pillars of Terrorism, which are Motive, Objective, Target and Asset Harm.
As I mentioned in my Book “Effect of Global terrorism & the Niger Delta Crisis” published in 2007, Nigeria is in this mess largely because Nigeria’s political leaders in the past have failed to map-out religious or social groups that were radical, but not yet violent, allowing them to grow in force. You see, from independence, Nigeria had experienced conflict along ethnic or social lines, but mostly over resources like land and power.
The country is also nearly evenly divided between Christians and Muslims corresponding to linguistic divisions, which became a recipe for political turmoil but not religious fundamentalism. However, the arrival of the Maitatsine’s movement in the 1980s was a sign that the dynamics were changing, and the Islamic fundamentalism that was becoming more prominent in 3 the Middle East in the 1970s was also finding a home in Nigeria.
That was the best time for Nigerian Government to commence Conflict Mapping with the aim to predict a coming generation of conflicts fuelled by ethnicity, social, religious, political or otherwise; and address their root causes.
That is why in addressing the root cause of any conflict, it is important to map out the conflict first. Nigerian Government only cracked down on Maitatsine movement after its sermons became increasingly anti-government in the late 1970s.
The crackdown culminated in an uprising in 1980 with the death toll in 1982 Kano riot reaching over 4,000 and Maitatsine leader Mohammed Marwa, himself killed. The movement, however, lived on killing 3,300 people in Bulumkutum Borno State and nearly 1,000 in the former Gongola State; and hundreds more in Bauchi State between 1982-84.
This sudden rise of religious fundamentalism especially in the North is not unconnected with the “Settlement of 1960”, in which Muslims traded away the right to impose Sharia law across the board, because around the time of Maitatsine’s movement, Philip Ostien and Sati Fwatshak wrote in their book on Sharia in Nigeria, “…by the mid-1980s the idea that Muslim consent to the Settlement of 1960 had been a terrible mistake… was widespread and firmly entrenched in the North” as illustrated by Capt. John Ford, US Army. Although, later the 1999 Constitution has re-opened the door to impose Sharia by granting significant power to Nigeria’s States and creating a system of appellate courts to hear appeals from Sharia trial courts, some northern states took the opportunity to impose relaxed Sharia law over their territory.
This relaxed Sharia law prompted some groups to start opposing certain law in a non-violent form, with the likes of Boko-Haram, which completed opposed western education. It is in this context, with religious fervour and joblessness growing; and support from Al-Qaida that begun manifesting themselves in violent uprisings.
Unfortunately, there are currently such more of groups emerging. As the war on Al-Qaeda by USA intensified, it began exploring new ways to bypass the daunting maze of deterrents already in place. They seek to entrench and spread where there is poverty, ignorance, despair and hopelessness; and they found Nigeria a potential terrorist breeding ground especially with institutional weaknesses that allow terrorists to operate freely, and non-coherent and effective ways to forecast or address their menace.
So the so called terrorist partnership of convenience flourished illicit drugs, training on use of explosives 4 and arms supply in Africa to groups like Boko-Haram, that started out as nonviolent and turning horribly violent; all under the watch of unconcerned Government. But Boko Haram is not a random event. Its emergence is a direct result of rising religious fundamentalism in the Nigeria. Such threat to the region today has existed for decades, right from Maitatsine. Unfortunately, it has taken the kidnapping of nearly 300 Chibok schoolgirls to get the international community to take notice.
Question: Islamic Religion is much associated with terrorism; what is your opinion about this?
Answer: I think clear clarification in connection with Islam and terrorism is required. The circumstances of terrorist acts witnessed today, the September 11th , 2001 and many other terrorist acts in the world, ranging back several decades, in which some Muslims have been indicted or convicted reflect two facts: Firstly, that some terrorist acts are committed by persons who incidentally happen to be Muslims but their religion is not relevant to the terrorist act at all. Secondly, some Muslims commit terrorist acts, misusing, distorting and projecting the name of Islam.
This differentiation is not always appreciated by some sectors of the media who tend to equate all terrorism by Muslims as so called fundamentalist Islam and under the banner of Jehad, holy struggle or war. This is entirely inaccurate. Other media sources automatically attribute Islam to any terrorist who happen to be ethnic Arab, Muslim or of Middle East origin; a result of a widespread misconception that all Arabs are Muslims.
This is however, incorrect as national and ethnic Arab populations include Muslims, Jews and Christians among their numbers, a likely situation, considering that these three great religions were born in the Middle East. A large number of Israeli Jews are ethnic Arabs. Other related widespread misconceptions are that Iranians or Persians are also Arabs, which is incorrect and that anti-Semitism is hatred of Jews, when in fact it is hatred for the many different Semitic races, including Jews and Arabs. One of the results of these misconceptions has been to wrongly simplify some conflicts and boil them down to facile slogans such as Islam versus the West, and Islam versus Jihad. It should further be noted that the word often incorrectly attached to Islamic terrorism is Jehad or Jihad (Arabic - from Juhd / Jehd - to make an effort or struggle).
The word means, by translation and theological tradition, a holy struggle, especially spiritual, against evil, injustice or personal imperfection. It may be fulfilled in four ways; by using the heart, tongue, hand or sword. In 5 contemporary use, except by terrorists, it denotes an effort against something either personally negative or detracting from the common social good, and is used mostly as a last resort, as in self defense.
There are many such Jihads. For example: A Jihad on litter in order to clean up an area, or a Jihad on one’s self when encountering difficulties achieving a personal goal, such as studying. In simple terms, it can be considered as a self-motivating effort to do some good, underpinned with prayer. But to attribute terrorism to Islam is totally wrong and unjustified.
Question: What then do you suggest Nigerian Government should do? Answer:
Answer: The ultimate concern posed by terrorism is the potential to seriously undermine the maintenance of peace within or in between nations. In connection with this, there is clear evidence that several of the more fanatical terrorist groups have, in the last decade, attempted to obtain illicit nuclear weapons and their components. Terrorists cannot be expected to adhere to international protocols governing the illicit procurement, smuggling, assembly and detonation of bomb or chemical weapons. Of-course they face, firstly, the undetected procurement of such a device or its individual components and secondly, engaging the technical expertise necessary to assemble components.
Although if they cannot do all that today, what about tomorrow? Anti-terrorism efforts have practically doubled in many countries since 11th September 2001 and Nigeria should not be left out. Nigeria must have proactive intelligence collection in place, a comprehensive monitoring approach to the diverse threats faced by all communities in order to avoid sudden, planned overnight, group or suicide bomb attack of individuals or buildings. Such monitoring, along with improved emergency preparedness, will enhance public safety in relation to a variety of threats, while avoiding potential attacks. Where there are conventional forces fighting an unconventional force, there is the need to build up a counter- revolutionary force, a civilian-based armed militia also unconventional and using the same modus operandi to fight the insurgents. All these have to be done in a concerted effort and manner, in global collaboration and World Order doctrine, using latest technology and proactive human intelligence.
It is on this that I called on the creation of Nigerian Anti-Terrorists Agency (NATA), or Anti-Terrorists Agency of Nigeria (ATAN) to really address the issue of terrorism in Nigeria. 6 You see, terrorism knows no geographical or political boundaries. It is often much more sophisticated than ordinary crime and therefore beyond the conventional resources of most police forces to effectively prevent or oppose. Such AntiTerrorists Agency is not only timely but it could be deterrence to any individual or groups that want to use Nigeria as a recruiting ground for would-be terrorist.
Today’s terrorism is usually carried out under the political shelter of some sort of proclaimed agenda in which the terrorists portray themselves as acting for virtuous, popular interests or spiritual. Ordinary crimes stem mostly from need, greed, or passion. In contrast, most terrorism is compelled neither by need, since there are no poor terrorists, nor passion, since most terrorist acts are clinically calculated in several distinct phases. Terrorism in general, is motivated for individual reasons of greed, egotism and a wide range of vices related to intolerance, especially religious, ethnic and class intolerance under induced illicit drugs. Intolerance is often the primary motive behind genocide and depopulation, running in tandem with wholesale looting and dispossession.
NATA should not only address current terror issues but should conduct conflict mapping too. Conflict Mapping: is the first step for intervening in a conflict. There are two tasks involved here: first, identification of the type of conflicts and location of the conflicts that could become violent; second, monitoring and assessing their progress with a view to assessing how close to violence they are, or in the case of an on-going crisis, what factors could fuel its escalation.
Then in each potential area design a strategy to use, which I don’t want to elaborate here but the strategy, is highly effective as it uses the youths, the so called “Blue Cap Strategy”, the use of ICT, new Situation-Rooms for enhanced Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness System, a central threat assessment capacity to evaluate and prioritize potential threats in order not to make Nigeria a sanctuary for crisis and terrorists; and generating the public’s buy-in and confidence in counter measures through participatory approaches to monitoring and evaluation.
Question: How then can we eradicate terrorism?
Answer: By addressing the root cause of terrorism and taking proactive measure on the existing terror groups. The Carnegie Commission on preventing deadly conflict that may lead to terrorism suggests a number of indicators of conflict proneness in states among which are, demographic pressure, youths bulge, food or water shortage, ethnic groups land sharing, environmental pressures and widespread poverty and joblessness.
Others include lack of democratic practices, ethnic composition of ruling elite different from the population at large; 7 deterioration or elimination of public services, sharp and severe economic distress and massive, chronic or sustained human despair and hopelessness. In addressing the issue of terrorism in Nigeria, and indeed in the world, it is vitally important to address the Carnegie Commission indicators using what is referred to as Deep Prevention method; and to look at the concept of peace-making in protracted social conflict, which is an important part of an emerging theory of international conflict, taking into account peculiar local situation, combining domestic-social and international dimensions and focusing at a hybrid level between insurgency and purely domestic unrest.
This model anticipates much of the re-evaluation of international relations thinking that has occurred since the end of the Cold War. What will make it possible to unlock these intractable conflicts is of-course, the application of human needs theory through the problem-solving approach. Needs theory holds that deep-rooted conflicts are caused by the denial of one or more basic human needs, such as security, identity and recognition, or simply a mode of expression.
The theory distinguishes between interests and needs: interests, being primarily about material goods, can be traded, bargained and negotiated; needs, being non-material cannot be traded or satisfied by power bargaining. However, non-material human needs are not scarce resources, like territory, oil, minerals, and water and are not necessarily in short supply.
With proper understanding, conflicts based on unsatisfied needs that may lead to terrorists act can be resolved, and thereby focus on those that cannot be resolved, and address them properly, timely and pre-emotively. Most importantly, like I mentioned earlier, the crisis that we have is an asymmetrical war in which the locals have a great stake, meaning that they must be involved, equipped, trained and armed not only to fight or defend themselves but also to help with real-time intelligence for surgical strategic operations.
Also, the issue of poverty and social programs for the people if addressed constructively can all act to prevent the use of such situation to recruit terrorists. Peace-making demands specific “craft and skills”, a peace praxis which must be taught so that more and more people begin to deal with issues from an integrative standpoint instead of turning into drugs to seek solace. In the relationships that make up social and political life, as well as in the structures and institutions within which they are embedded, the success with which these skills are encouraged and operationalized will determine whether, in the end, we are at peace with each other or not. The law should be exactly the same for all.
The control of our economy and politics largely depends upon our applying this 8 principle to our own affairs. Every day is a successful day – reconciliation, friendship, economic ventures, peaceful coexistence etc., or a day of failure – hatred, betrayal, social/religious upheavals, envy etc. And, it is the successful days, which get us what we want and eventually take us where we want to go. If everyday is a failure, we can never attain economic and political growth; if every day is a success, we cannot help but control our destiny. Nigeria should galvanise to join the international co-operative effort against terrorism by creating NATA. www.bjadamu-ng.com/book.html