Terrorism which was alien to Nigeria has become an intrinsic challenge to the country. This challenge has led to serious infrastructural damage in the areas of education, health and social welfare facilities, poor economy particularly in affected areas, while millions are left homeless. Terrorism in Nigeria did not develop from a vacuum; there are some social and political factors that gave birth to terrorism in Nigeria. Though the terrorist group, under the name “boko haram” has metamorphosed into a very dangerous and threatening group, social and political issues in the Nigerian context cannot be disconnected from its root.
Mr President, it is not news that Nigeria is rich in corrupt records and social injustice- a thorough marginalization of the social structure which makes the rich richer and the poor remain hopelessly poor. A security snap poll results released by NOIPolls Limited in 2014, indicated that political interest, unemployment, bad leadership and poverty as major causes of terrorism in Nigeria. The survey revealed that 26 percent of the sampled populace identified political interest as a cause, while 21 percent identified unemployment as the cause. A 10 percent share was attributed to bad leadership while 8 percent was attributed to poverty. This implies that the foundational causes of terrorism in Nigeria must be addressed in order to overcome the menace.
President Muhammadu Buhari, to make a difference and achieve results previous governments could not achieve, your government must do things differently and set the right pace in Nigerian institutions that will outlive your term. Boko Haram posed a big threat to former President Jonathan’s government; unfortunately, the terrorist group has intensified attacks in a confusing manner since your government was inaugurated. Nigerians voted you, not because of the party that presented you but because of your ability and tenacity to end corruption in Nigeria, thus, same way the terrorist group remains a blemish on Jonathan’s government, they may remain a blemish on your government if you do not approach the battle against them differently. Below are three major solutions to end terrorism in Nigeria at the shortest delay:
Counter Terrorism Military Intervention: Nigerian Army has many success records in Nigeria and Africa; for about three decades, the Nigerian Army was one of the strongest Army in Africa, winning many battles and keeping peace in foreign nations. However, the strength of Nigerian Army seems to have been challenged by the insurgents. Nigerian Army that grounded tough rebel forces in Ivory Coast, Liberia and other countries has found it difficult to topple insurgents on its own soil. The Nigeria Army has to review its fighting techniques and improve its counter-terrorism approaches in combating the insurgents.
Economic Empowerment Intervention: There is a strong link between socio-economic deprivation and terrorism, socio-economic deprivations leads to poverty and frustration. Poverty, frustration and ignorance often serve as breeding ground for terrorism; thus, fighting terrorism through economic development should emerge as a new and long term objective of countering terrorism. As popularly said, an idle hand is the devil’s workshop, an idle population is generally prone to crime. In the fight against Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria, economic empowerment ought to be adopted to prevent more terrorists from emerging and also rehabilitate people who lost their properties and businesses to insurgents.
Good Governance: Lack of good governance has been a major cause of terrorism in Nigeria. Nigerian government has deprived Nigerians of good governance, justice; fairness and equity have been elusive in the social system. Nigerians have long been denied the dividends of democracy. Thus, good and credible leadership practices must be demonstrated by the incumbent government to strengthen the nation and create an enabling environment for citizens to succeed.
Dear President, military action alone will not end terrorism in Nigeria, military action must be accompanied with economic empowerment and good governance. A corrupt government will inspire provocation from its citizen. Your Excellency, you must make a difference and add colour to leadership in Nigeria by fighting corruption and improving the economy. This will not only put an end to terrorism, it will also reduce crime to the barest minimum. God bless Nigeria!
Rotimi is the Editor of The AGES Magazine and Special Assistant on Media to Barrister Razak Atunwa, Member of House of Representatives.