Security Experts Advocate Modern Approach to Counter Terrorism in Nigeria
Security experts in the country have advocated the adoption of modern security approach in the fight against terrorism in the country. They also called on the Federal Government to address the issue of injustice across the nation, particularly in the Niger Delta Area in order to stem the tide of insurgency.
The experts suggested the approach at the just concluded 2-day workshop on “Modern Security Approaches Towards Arresting the Tide of Terrorism in Nigeria”, organised by Covenant University’s Department of Sociology in conjunction with the University’s Centre for Life-Long Learning on July 25-26, 2016 at its campus.
Ahmadu Suleiman, a retired Army Colonel and the first Keynote Speaker at the Workshop, submitted that terrorism has taken a different dimension from just recruiting people because of economic problems. He noted that terrorism include activities of Boko Haram, Niger Delta Avengers, Kidnappers, Fulani Herdsmen, Armed Robbers and political thugs among others.
Colonel Suleiman (Rtd) emphasised injustice, particularly against the people of the Niger Delta as the bane of terrorist activities in the area. “Injustice being done in the Niger Delta has to be reversed or redressed. No nation can survive under injustice. It is the razor that tears a nation apart,” he noted.
Colonel Suleiman, who is also the CEO of Veteran Security Limited, blamed leadership failure for the Niger Delta agitations, noting that a lot of money and resources had gone into addressing the challenges but nothing to show for it and no one was held accountable.
He, however, commended the Federal Government for adopting the option to dialogue with the Niger Delta Avengers to address the issues, even as he suggested immediate, medium and long-term solution to the insurgencies. Amnesty programme, according to him, ought to have been properly addressed as Rehabilitation programme, which is the immediate solution while the long-term solution would include restructuring of the nation to allow resource control by the states.
He also commended Covenant University for taking the initiative to organise the Workshop which he said, was very apt.
The second Keynote Speaker, Dr. Ferdinard Ikwang, who is the Programme Adviser on Niger Delta, Office of the National Security Adviser, in the Presidency, corroborated Col. Suleiman, noting that the reason why people take up arms is not poverty or unemployment but injustice. He explained that terrorism is pre-meditated violence perpetrated against non-combatant target by sub-national group or clandestine agents.
Dr. Ikwang suggested various strategies to arrest terrorism in the country, which include de-radicalisation of radicals, strategic communication to counter the terrorists narratives as well as counter radicalisation, which premised on the concept that, “To stop burning fire, you take the unburned firewood away. When the burning firewood burns out, the fire goes down.”
He advised the participants to always challenge anything contrary to the facts because, “If they are not challenged, the society will be radicalised and when it is radicalised, it will become violent.”
Dr. Ikwang proposed that universities should be included as part of the National Counter Terrorism Strategy. “When something happens and I cannot solve it, I should be able to send it to the universities for professors and research students to proffer solutions on how to deal with the matter. That is why I want to commend this University because this is the first time any institution in Nigeria is giving terrorism a name,” he said.
He also suggested that the Workshop should be made an annual lecture in order to equip the next generation of leaders to deal with the next generation of problems.
In his remarks, the Director, Vice-Chancellor’s Office, Dr. Akan Williams, who stood in for the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Aderemi Aaron-Anthony Atayero, expressed confidence that the participants had a swell time and had become the change agents to stem the tide of terrorism. He congratulated the Department of Sociology and the Centre for Life-Long Learning for organising the Workshop.
Earlier in her remarks, the Head of Department, Sociology, Dr. Tayo George, noted that the security challenge in the country was a great national concern which necessitated the Workshop. She expressed assurance that capacity had been built and Nigeria would be better for it.
Other presentations include, “Mode of Terrorism Operations,” by Dr. Wilson Ijide; “Policy Framework and Guidelines for Curbing Terrorism,” by Professor Paul Omaji; “Threat Assessment Modes (TAM) in Modern Day Terrorism,” by Dr. Ajibade Jegede; “The Functionality of the Rs of Terrorism,” by Mr. Taiwo Kasumu; “The ‘Must Do’ in Stemming the Tide of Terrorism,” by Air Commodore Olatunji Ayelowo (Rtd) as well as the “Theory and Practice of Terrorism” by Dr. Don John Omale.