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Is Nigeria really under terrorist attack?

If Nigeria is fighting terrorism, it is fighting the wrong thing or even nothing. We don’t face any terrorism here. We will end up dissipating energy on a problem that is not there. Nigeria’s problem of insecurity is not as a result of any terrorism but of insurgency [insurrection is a more appropriate word], militancy, political victimization, tribal vendetta, struggle for power, pipeline vandalism, armed robbery, kidnapping, arson, hired assassinations, cult activities, ritual killings, suicide bomb attacks and all such things that take lives in our country.
In fact there is nothing that is dangerous to life that is not normal experience in Nigeria today. They are all children of the same parent. The source of discontent everywhere in the country is one. You can add lack of jobs, poor salaries, non-payment of government debts, hunger and starvation, poor health care, too many deaths and irresponsible or no governance at all to them. There are so many such things that endanger lives which we term the same thing (terrorism) and treat the same way, and governments’ violent response to them is also a major threat to security. Government mishandling of all causes of insecurity is a source of insecurity in itself, just as natural disasters are.
What all these point to is improper definition of not only our problems but everything by which other people live that we must copy. We want to be like the Joneses, which makes us adopt their problems even if we don’t have the problems. We also adopt their solutions, which do not apply to our climate, a waste of time that makes the fake problems seem both real and intractable, which they are not. This to me is what underdevelopment is all about. And it is permanent until it is addressed and disowned as a way of life.
From inception, this is a country, society and government that mustn’t exist except by imitation. America’s system is presidential. Therefore we must be presidential. We used to have a parliamentary system because Britain that colonized us has it. They have a Prime Minister. We had to have one. Perhaps next we shall have the Chinese system since China is the in-thing now doing far better than USA and UK. Britain is a ‘united’ kingdom. We must be united, something the entire people have always vehemently rejected. We couldn’t be a kingdom, because who will be the king? Where will he come from?
Britain has upper and lower legislative chambers. We must have the same. The US have Hollywood. Our own name, Hollywood, must have wood in it and Nolly just like Holly, We can’t create our own name for an ordinary movie industry. See how ridiculous the whole thing is. Because of English the Igbo language has to die. They can’t even exist side by side. If they do, that it is sacrilege. It is becoming independent in the real sense, which we don’t feel free enough or are not allowed to be; even though that is what they treacherously granted us and we foolishly accepted it. My position on this language issue has always been that colonialism is the colonizers’ language. We must quit with that legacy to be really free. They have not left as long as their language is still here to give us an English mindset and to destroy everything that is local and original. If they leave, let them take their language with them. Without our language having a pride of place, we are never independent or democratic. Celebrating democracy is a farce.  English in a non-English country is undemocratic because it excludes the majority. Tell me what the colonizers do/did that we don’t have to do and have not been doing.
They have a premier league. We must have it that way. Don’t waste time naming them one by one. This country is an imitation of America and the UK. We fight tooth and nail to be that. Raise a voice against it and see if you won’t be shouted down. Is it not to keep English that Igbo language has to die? Whatever you do about it is resisted and nullified. Whatever they say, we say. America faces and fights terrorism. Nigeria must also face and fight terrorism. There is something US and UK call corruption. Nigeria adopted the same disease wholesale and started fighting it. But Nigeria is not plagued by corruption in any form.
What Nigeria suffers and will always suffer from is the consequence of forced unity which results in its inequitable and unjust social, political and economic ^distribution system. Since people are suffering in plenty, dying in silence, they scramble for the available resources, what we call o buru o gbalaga, or anya hie bute in Igbo land. In Nigeria, people feel they should help themselves by grabbing what they can and resisting any attempt to recover it from them. Nobody is exempted from this, from the first to the last man.
That is why a Nigerian head of state (Abacha) could take a trailer to the Central Bank and evacuated all the money there to his bank accounts abroad. And nothing happened. He still remains venerated as a statesman to the extent that national monuments are named after him. Life thus became a matter of the survival of the fittest and impunity. Yet this is what we call corruption. We leave the substance and pursue the shadow called corruption, a completely hopeless effort that will defeat itself. It was just to be fashionable and in vogue language-wise that we want to adopt the same challenges the British and Americans in particular face. They like us for that and that’s all we care for.
Very recently what is called “executive order” became popular in the US. New president, Donald Trump uses it to impose his will. Now I hear that Nigeria’s acting President Yemi Osinbajo, apparently to show his academic currency and erudition as a professor, has issued three executive orders already. We are hearing of such for the first time. Yet America’s experience with executive orders is not a good one. Some of them have been challenged in court and thrown out. Why must we be such a copycat? Why introduce a style that is not familiar with our terrain, or accustomed to our political lifestyle? I would think that executive orders here are uncalled for.
The most disastrous one now is to claim that Nigeria is facing terrorism simply because America and Europe are. This is complete nonsense and a misinterpretation of what terrorism is. It is like saying that a family war is terrorism. Not only is it an exaggeration, it is a misrepresentation, a national display of stark ignorance. It is wrong to say that everybody who kills is a terrorist. Whatever you may wish to call a killer, what matters is how society handles him and his motive, You may want to kill him or to cure him. To kill him is to eliminate him so he doesn’t pose a threat ever again to human life anywhere. That is the misguided method America’s Trump is proposing. But mature and rational people want the terrorist cured (if possible) as a permanent solution.
The other one is volatile. It must make terrorism a problem without end. Unfortunately this is a solution Nigeria has copied and adopted, which brings us to the deadlock where we are currently. Today terrorism is deflated; the wind has been taken off it; it has been defeated. Tomorrow it is still there. You are in dialogue with fighters that are said to have been defeated. You negotiate with them for installmental and periodic freeing of your girls in their custody as captives. They are in a position to dictate the number to release to you and the number to keep back!
Terrorism is determined by the motive of the killer(s). The terrorist’s singular motive is to kill for fun. He wants to prove how weak your ‘strong’ defenses are. He is on a mission to create insecurity and instability in the targeted territory or country. He is out to get maximum destruction, especially of human life, including his/her life if need be. Because of terrorism’s undeniable root in Islam, terrorists would like to go for the lives of Muslims who are not faithful and non-Muslims who they regard as infidels that should be killed for being so. Terrorists believe that if they die as suicide bombers, they have qualified for going to heaven. This is a brainwashing in Islam that is believed to be a strong motive for terrorism. I don’t know how this can be defeated with the gun.
Terrorism is not a face to face exchange of fire. It is not a hit and run affair. They strike and it is fight to a finish with maximum damage. Nobody, they expect, is supposed to come out of it alive. They hope and wish that everything would perish in that one strike. If they get hold of nuclear weapons of mass destruction the world say their last prayers. They will mindlessly use it. Terrorists don’t fight to hold territory. If they have managed to hold a base, it is to enable them operate in safety, to plan and to live to strike another day. They need a sanctuary. They want safety for themselves too. If they take captives, it is only for ransom and to inflict pain. Terrorism has created two worlds of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Them’ are those whose lives would continuously be disrupted with bombs and gunfire. ‘Us’ are the Islamic lands who recruit people and train them to sneak in at will and massacre ‘them’. Nigeria is not one of ‘them’. Why should it be? It has no reason to be. Nigeria could well be a base for terrorists. Who knows? Does Satan war against its kingdom?
The West make terrorism look like a world-wide issue, but it is not. Nigeria seem to join them in adopting this notion. There are countries which clearly are not targets for the terrorism wave. Surprisingly, Russia, China, Japan, Brazil, and India are among them. You wonder why, and Nigeria thinks it has to be a place for terrorist activities. Those who are outside the terrorism wave constitute a larger part of the world. Some of them may well be secret bases or sanctuaries for terrorists. But they won’t be in the international coalition for fighting terrorism. They condemn terrorist attacks whenever they occur, but do everything not to be strategic targets, and to be safe from the madness. Why won’t Nigeria do the same?
Terrorism targets are anti-Islam peoples and nations wherever they may be in the world. Nigerians who are killed in the line of internal upheavals arising from personal and group maladjustment, disorientation and citizen militant actions to confront and dismantle a state arrangement that has dehumanized them, which also does not fulfill its mandate to take care of its people. The current internal battles in Nigeria are the final struggle for the country’s corporate existence. Nigeria has to come to terms, with this reality and stop taking its survival chances in the circumstance for granted. The matter is as serious as that. It cannot be treated with the type of levity I am seeing.
Then let’s see why the attacks around Europe and America may be terrorism and the ones in Nigeria are not. Attacks in Europe and America are external invasions. Those in Nigeria are internal uprisings. When Nigeria fights its attackers and kills them, it decimates its own people. When America and Europe fight they decimate foreign enemies who are not their own people. Killing internal miscreants in Nigeria and killing foreign invaders to Europe and America are not the same.
Nigeria regarding its internal crises as terrorism muddles the situation. Clearly, muddle avoids problems, it does not solve them. The fight against terrorism rather than resolving the dispute at home between the establishment and a disgruntled people and the flashes of protest and rebellion ensuing from them has failed. When there is an attack in the west, they don’t rush to conclusions that it must be a terrorist attack which Nigeria has been doing. Nigeria has become a vicious circle for that reason.
The more it apes the attitudes and methods of Europe and America about terrorism, the more it shoots itself on the foot. If America hopes to defeat terrorists, Nigeria cannot hope to defeat its own people. The rebellious citizens are suffering sorely. But the time when they will be beaten into total submission is far away. Their death and decimation is a gradual demise of the country as well.

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