President Muhammadu Buhari has emphasised the need to curb the flow of terrorism financing.
Speaking at the meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Saturday, under the theme, “Towards a Comprehensive Approach to Combat the Transnational Threat to Terrorism,” the President said: “The need to curb the flow of terrorism financing cannot be over-emphasized. Concerted efforts must be made to not only dismantle the network between transnational organized crimes and terrorist organizations, but also to block the payment of ransom to terrorist groups.”
President Buhari said Nigeria remained committed to supporting counter terrorism efforts within the African Union and the United Nations, while recalling the UN Resolution 1373 which stressed that “any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts should be brought to justice.”
The Nigerian leader called for resolute and coordinated initiatives by developing an African Union data base of persons or groups and entities involved in terrorist acts for use by law enforcement agents.
According to him, “Nigeria believes that the timely establishment of this tool at the continental level will be strategic in this fight.” President Buhari, while expressing Nigeria’s grave concern over the increasing threats posed by transnational terrorism and the attendant humanitarian crisis, also condemned in the strongest terms the continued activities of the terrorist groups in Africa, and around the world. He called for more concerted action by the African body and the international community to address the global scourge.
In doing that, the President noted that the conditions that are conducive to the spread of extremism, radicalization and terrorism must first be addressed. Similarly, he said collaborative measures must be taken to disrupt the recruitment of terrorists, their financing networks and the movement of foreign fighters.
President Buhari disclosed that Nigeria has enacted domestic anti-terrorism laws that also deal with related issues such as kidnapping, drug peddling and gun-running.
He, however, noted that, “Terrorism cannot be defeated only through military force and law enforcement measures. We need to adopt a multifaceted approach of good governance, economic development and creation of job opportunities for our youth.”
Linking terrorist activities to climate change, the President reiterated Nigeria’s “important call for global action to support the recharging of the Lake Chad Basin,” which has shrunk by over 80 per cent and has impacted negatively on the livelihood of millions of people in the countries of the Basin.
According to him, “There is considerable evidence that the environmental state of the Lake contributed to the radicalization of jobless youth who joined Boko Haram.”
In their submissions, the Chairperson of the AU Peace and Security Council, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, the African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, agreed on the real threat of transnational terrorism, and the need for global efforts to curb the negative trend.
Recalled that, the Federal Government has introduced a new immigration policy known as “Immigration Regulations 2017,’’ to check terrorism and other trans-border crimes; Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau unveiling the document in Abuja, Dambazau explained that the new immigration policy empowers the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to properly register all foreigners, protect Nigerian borders, enhance internal security and attract foreign investors using the latest technology. The minister said with the new policy, the NIS would be empowered to register and monitor the entry and movement of foreign herdsmen who come into Nigeria and that it will help curb herdsmen and farmers clashes. He also explained that the “Immigration Regulations 2017’’ is a vital document that seeks to operationalize the Immigration Act, 2015 and provide the legal framework for the dynamic and unfolding migratory realities and added that the new policy will replace the old and outdated Immigration Act of 1963, which, he said, “could not take care of modern realities such as terrorism, technology and new immigration challenges. “The objective of this new policy is to provide the legal framework for the effective implementation of the Immigration Act, 2015 and consolidate existing immigration regulations”.
“This new document, therefore, replaces the outdated Immigration Act of 1963,’’ he said.
Earlier, NIS Comptroller-General, Muhammad Babandede, said the “Immigration Regulations 2017 will positively change the operations of NIS in line with international best practices.
“The Immigration Act, 2015 made some profound provisions, such as the establishment of migration directorate, dealing with issues bordering on smuggling of migrants and so on. “I can assure you that with the Immigration Regulation 2017, NIS has been strategically positioned to combat all cases relating to transnational organized crimes,’’ he said.
Babandede also said NIS will work with other security agencies like the Police, and INTERPOL, to check trans-border crimes, human trafficking and arms smuggling into Nigeria. Diplomats, officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NIS and the International organization for Migration (IOM) were at the launch.
Terrorism has caused Nigeria a great deal of problem, especially in the recent past; some countries in Africa still continue suffering from effects of terrorism, in particular, Egypt, Libya, Somali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso.
Today terrorism is one of the key threats of the international security system; effects of terrorism on national security are enormous. The greatest danger to the modern world carries a religious type of terrorism.
It appeals to various fundamentalist and radical interpretations of the doctrines of the major world religions. Religious terrorism is becoming a factor of destabilization of socio-political and economic processes; it is an element of contemporary geopolitics and a tool for achieving political leadership in various countries around the world. Effects of terrorism in Africa and effects of terrorism on economy are so great.
The greatest manifestation in the modern world has Islamist terrorism (Islamic state, al Qaeda, etc.). It is important to emphasize that Muslim terrorism should not be identified as Islamic, but Islamist one. Islamism is third totalitarian ideology (following fascism and communism), which offers a ridiculous medieval approach to the problems of modern life.
Retrograde and aggressive, it oppresses non-Muslims, oppresses women, and justifies the extension of the authority of Islam by force.
Islamists are trying to establish control over secessionist, irredentist and protest movements.
The ideology of Islamists assumes the obligation of Jihad against all infidels like non-Muslims and those Muslims who do not want to be Islamists. Such Muslims are declared apostates as a result of Takfir, recognizing them invalid.
The Islamists allow and recommend the Commitment of terrorist acts, including “blind” attacks (against a random set of people in places of their concentration), the use of suicide bombers. They tend to re-islamization, to engagement in struggle to achieve the goals of Islamists “ethnic Muslims”, that are, people whose ancestors were Muslims, but they themselves do not believe Muslims.
Speaking about the influence of terrorism on economy, it is worth saying that terroristic attacks cause bigger spending’s of the country due to the fact that terrorist attacks bring about financial losses and property damaging, demolishing objects of national importance or wrecking national economy facilities. Militants’ deeds give birth to response reaction of representatives of security service of the country, law enforcement representatives and others non-indifferent participants in the life of the country or city.
These events act as signals to further protective and preventing terrorist attacks measures.
It can be said that terrorism sets out as a means of all spheres influence, in particular, daily life of common citizens of Nigeria towns. Daily life receives the most major shock due to the huge numbers of dead people and injured ones. Boko Haram did not originate as an armed group.
It appeared as a cultural movement in 2002. Its leader Mohammed Yusuf built state mosque and school in the city of Maiduguri, where he taught children from poor families. He spoke out strongly against government policies and actions of the police, which received great support of the population.
The violence began in 2009, when the security forces started to brutally persecute members of Boko Haram. In 2009, in clashes with security forces were killed about 700 people, the leader of the organization Mohammed Yusuf was imprisoned and killed.
After years of suppression of their activities by the authorities, Boko Haram members began retaliatory military action. Their first armed attack was carried out in 2010 in a prison in Bauchi state, which resulted in releasing of 150 prisoners. Note that the prisons in Nigeria, especially those located in the States of Bauchi, Borno and Yobe are known for their extreme cruelty. In addition to this, there were multiple smaller armed attacks, which law enforcement authorities automatically pinned on Boko Haram.
But, the government fighting terrorism soon was surpassed by the violence of those with whom they fought.
Specifically to suppress Boko Haram they created Joint Special Forces consisting from the army, police, intelligence services and immigration services, which began to kill, arrest and torture people on the slightest suspicion of membership in Boko Haram group.
Each time the insurgents struck killing hundreds of people, government official just came out talk tough and promise the people that the culprits would not be apprehended, but that such dastardly act will not occur in the country again, only for such mindless attacks to repeat itself over and over again; the people are fed up and thoroughly frustrated.
This is compounded by the fact that several countries are now issuing travel warnings and restrictions to their citizens; steadily Nigeria is been classified as “one of the axis of evil” in the international community.
It was under this confusion that President Buhari became the leader of the country, and he is of the firm view that the responsible of putting paid to the ugly insecurity is with the government; and that must government should sit up, and find very, lasting urgent, all-embracing solution to the menace and that trading blames would not take the country anywhere. The government should not only take responsibility but it must show capacity and capability to resolve this quagmire as soon as possible.
The senseless bombings and security challenge must stop, this is exactly what the Buhari administration has done, it has reorganized the armed forces and motivated them accordingly, the counter-terrorism war is now prosecuted with determination and vigour, new arms and ammunitions have been procured, the probe of the $2.1 billion arms procurement is on-going, all the territories previously occurred by the insurgents have been captured by Nigerian soldiers, the rescue of the Chibok girls has gathered the much needed steam, yes, there are still incidents of bomb detonation, here and there, but by and large, the insurgents have been largely defeated and incapacitated, but the government is not resting on its oars, as it is collaborating with the country’s immediate neighbours and indeed the international community to stamp out terrorism completely from the country.
The Federal Government is not collaborating and not fighting the governments of the North Eastern states, as used to be the case to fight a lasting solution to the activities of the insurgents in the areas, therefore, it is imperative that the efforts of the government in this regard should be deeply appreciated, after all, the 1999 constitution states unequivocally that the security and welfare of the people shall be the purpose of government. Hence, this is the best of constitutional democracy in practice.
Ayobolu, a public affairs analyst contributed this piece from Lagos State