The Unfair Century of Fear: The Century of Terrorism
Our human world has been so blessed to connecting the people together across the world in this 21st century at a blink of eyes. Globalization, integration and innovation that could interconnect far-reaching network to keeping us abreast are at high speed. The century of Information and Communication Technology could be our strength to understanding the global needs of all groups of people.
In spite of our sophistication, our society has been plagued with pandemic inequality, unemployment, human trafficking, poverty, disorientation, corruption, discrimination and marginalization that have come to breed the terrorists of today. Terrorism could be said to be the world’s greatest challenge of our 21st century.
But then, why is terrorism the world’s greatest challenge? How does its menace affect Nigeria and the world? What are the ethical issues involved? And how can we work together to overcome this problem?
Terrorism does not just evolve—it erupts for a purpose. Terrorism is the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence to achieve a political, economic, cultural, ideological or religious aim. It emerges out of discord and discontentment. These terrorists see themselves as heroes and heroines that are fighting a worthy cause against oppression, segregation, discrimination, marginalization, alienation and injustice of the majority against the minority.
In Nigeria, the long forgotten Almajiri children of the north-eastern Nigeria bred the terrorizing Boko Haram of today. Likewise, in the year 2017, the Igbos’ group in Nigeria unleashed some forms of terror. The Niger Delta militancy is another form of terrorism that has destabilized the oil rich region and the country as a whole in the past. Yet, these groups have something in common, which is a fight against marginalization of her people.
The acts of terrorism transcend national borders and cut across continents. The mass killing and kidnapping of innocent civilians by the Boko Haram also affect the neighboring countries of Nigeria such as Cameroon, Niger, Chad and Benin Republic. In other words, the massacre and terror being unleashed by Al-Qaeda, Taliban and ISIL groups do not only affect Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria alone, but countries across the world feel the brutal pains—including the United States of America.
It will be observed that these terrorists’ groups evolve to fight the marginalization of his members, but most of the time, they grow out of control from their sponsors to becoming more deadly.
Terrorists today now hide under the canopy of religion to perpetrating their perilous acts. They now have a far-reaching network that engage in financing and training of members across the world. Young people are brainwashed through religious indoctrinations. Terrorists and suicide bombers are motivated by assurance of financial stability for their families and some other spiritual benefits.
Apart from the destruction of thousands of lives and properties worth millions of dollars by the terrorists, their actions have also increase government spending and causing the problem of displacement and increased refugees in the world.
Terrorism has contributed to the problem of human-trafficking in Nigeria that has metamorphosed into the 21st century slave trade we experienced today especially in Libya.
The $1 billion excess crude oil account that could have been used to achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) under President Muhammadu Buhari by 2020 and reducing the level of poverty and unemployment rate in Nigeria are now being proposed by the federal government to fight Boko Haram.
There is fire on the mountain. We might not be a personal victim of terrorism today, but the victims and the affected families of yesterday will never forget the physical, economic and psychological trauma and agony of their experience forever—including the victims of 9/11.
We now live in the century of fear that is unfair…..freedom of movement being restricted…..passengers being harassed…..and innocent travelers being denied. We don’t know who’s who. Tensions and offences continued. Hatred intensified. Nations under pandemonium…. And the world put into confusion and rancor by the discriminatory and embargo policy of Donald trump on some Muslim countries. Ethics of what is right being at staked. Things fall apart for the fear of the unknown terrorists. And where do we start from here?
There can’t be a smoke without fire. And fire cannot be used to quench fire. Otherwise, the world will be consumed by flame.
Terrorism is a rising surge that is very difficult to defeat unless the parties involve totally and voluntarily surrender. Terrorism is different from war that could be won through combat. Terrorists are the invisible living among the visible non-combatants—and this makes terrorism the world’s greatest challenge to be defeated.
Terrorism could only be won successfully through opened dialogue, orientation, amnesty and equity. It could only be resolved through sincere and mutual agreements among parties involved.
On the national arena, dialogue is better than confrontation. Why the wasteful destruction of our able men and women at war when dialogue could bring lasting peace. Dialogue and amnesty have helped us to successfully defeat Niger Delta militancy during the President Musa Yar’adua administration—and the same could also be used to defeat Boko Haram in Nigeria and any part of the world.
The equity in political positions among various ethnic and religious groups, and the equitable distribution of national income among various regions of the country will go a long way to checking the further development of terrorism among groups.
The effective use of national policy that reduces the rate of unemployed youth will help to starve the terrorist-groups of manpower as the devil makes work for idle hands. Food for the hungry, home for the homeless, provisions for those living in poverty, universal free education that recognizes the religious beliefs of all, autonomy of religion and ethnic group under true federalism, and the accessibility of toll free calls by the members of the public in case of suspicion of terrorists’ act and attack will help to put terrorism under check internally.
On the international scene, diplomacy is the answer to checking the act of terrorism across borders. Two wrongs cannot make a right. Placing embargos against countries only threaten our globe as a united nation, and making the hosts to be more sophisticated and stronger in the act of terrorism.
The abandoned North Korea of yesterday brandishes the ballistic missile of today. The weak and sanctioned Zimbabwe of today might be a potential terrorists-destination of tomorrow. And the banned Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen might unleash the terror that will shake the corporate existence of the world later or sooner if embargoes should continue and diplomacies discontinue—because there is nothing that creates offensive attack than stigma and discrimination.
We need to be security conscious globally as an individual, corporate body and government. We need to jointly finance multinational task force that will help monitor and check terrorists across borders. We need to intensify the use of technology to track down terrorists and dismantle their weapons. We need to keep opened hands to accept repented terrorists and give out amnesty freely. We need to work together with the terrorist-groups towards mutual understanding and cooperation.
Peace is paramount for positive development to take place. Terrorism is a crime against humanity that could be settled through dialogue and diplomacy rather than war against the visible-invisible called terrorist.
When marginalization and discrimination are being checked by nations of the world, I do hope that Armageddon is postponed.
(Paper presented by Lawal Obafemi Peter at Leadership and Entrepreneurial Development Club’s symposium on the current security threat in Nigeria and the world in commemoration of Nigeria’s Independence Day dated September 30th 2017)