The ultimate responsibility of any state is to provide security to its citizens in order to guarantee their welfare and enhance development. This entails the protection of the country’s national sovereignty, which is the right of a state to control what happens within its territory.
In 2010, terrorist groups conducted 56 attacks against the state. The attacks increased to 198 in 2011 and between January and June 2012, they carried out an estimated 178 attacks which claimed about 1,896 lives and destroyed property. By 2013, the attacks doubled using more sophisticated armoury. These had grave consequences to national security.
The issues involved in terrorism in Nigeria are numerous. They include religious ideology, eccentricity of religious terrorists, socio-economic conditions, border security, global Islamic connection and international cooperation.
The challenges militating against efforts to address terrorism in Nigeria include religious fanaticism, low level training and equipment of security forces, poverty, porous borders and insufficient international cooperation.
Strategies To Mitigate Terrorism In Nigeria
Strategies to mitigate the challenges posed by terrorism include intensification of international cooperation, good governance, efficient border security management and dialogue and amnesty.
Intensification of international cooperation on counter-terrorism would mitigate the challenge of lack of adequate international support and low level training and equipment capacity of security forces. The global nature of terrorism indicates that international cooperation is very important in defeating the phenomenon. There is, therefore, the need for intensified international cooperation in the exchange of intelligence, acquisition of technical equipment, conduct of joint operations, information sharing and interruption of terrorist funding.
Good governance would mitigate the challenges of poverty and socio economic conditions. It stimulates accountability and justice which promotes the development and well-being of the populace as judicious use of resources is ensured.
It is paramount to propagate democratic values, human rights, foster economic prosperity, eliminate poverty and generally promote good governance and justice. Adherence to the rule of law curtails corruption and injustice. Rule of law as the basis of governance affords the opportunity to check bitterness and recourse to violence and terrorism.
Efficient security management of borders would mitigate the challenge of Nigeria’s vast and porous borders which facilitate easy movement of arms and terrorists due to inadequate attention. Nigeria’s border security could be better managed if the ungoverned spaces that function as safe haven and entry points for terrorists are properly policed and guarded. This will curtail transnational illicit trade in narcotics, arms and ammunition and block easy movement of terrorists. Deployment of surveillance radar, sophisticated telescope, drones, ground sensors and other equipment would help improve the physical security offered by security agencies at the borders.
Dialogue and amnesty offer could bring the terrorists groups’ insurgency to an end. The option of dialogue between terrorists groups and government has been on the table for quite a while now. Though the sect members are not fully known, it is generally accepted that dialogue is a positive step in the right direction since force alone cannot solve the problem. The recent proposal of amnesty to surrendering sect members is also a viable option. The offer of dialogue and amnesty need be judiciously pursued by the federal government even against some opposition.
– Fadare, a security expert, wrote in from Abuja