Across the world, terrorism is a global threat and there have been instances where terrorists have held world powers hostage.
One notable but unfortunate terrorism incident that has remained etched in the collective memory of the world is the September 11 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in the United States of America. That incident led to further wars, terrorist attacks and suspicion.
Unfortunately, Nigeria is also in a battle against terrorism and there have been many terrorist attacks in Nigeria. Besides the many attacks at villages and government installations in the North Eastern parts of Nigeria, the United Nations office in Abuja was once bombed. Also, the internal threat of terror in Nigeria is getting worse and the terrorists are becoming more emboldened with influence from foreign terror organisations.
Nigeria’s ultimate nemesis is Abubakar Shekau, factional leader of Boko Haram, the terror group that has admitted to many of the attacks. Despite claims by the government that Shekau was killed in an attack, he continues to release videos threatening the country. The war against terrorism and insurgency is hydra-headed and it continues to get worse despite the commendable attempt by members of the Nigerian Army at eradicating the terrorists.
Recently, the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) jailed 6 Nigerians for funding the terrorist group, Boko Haram; one of them a Nigerian government official and an undercover Boko Haram member.
In the face of squalor, neglect and poverty, reports claim that Boko Haram started a Microfinance scheme in 2016 to recruit young people. Despite this, the war against insurgency continues to be watered down with allegations of corruption and ill-treatment of soldiers.
However, the Federal Government, in an act of [priority misplacement] which is almost a trademark, recently froze the accounts of some individuals for receiving donations for the #EndSARS movement; Nigeria’s most popular protest in recent times against Police Brutality.
The Central Bank of Nigeria froze their accounts alleging that the funds may have been linked to terrorist activities.
The same government which could not trace the funding of Boko Haram and was not even aware that one of its own official works for Boko Haram is using terrorism allegations against genuine Nigerians protesting for a better country.
For a Central Bank whose policies have been inconsistent over the years, it is surprising that this much attention can be devoted to punishing genuine Nigerians. It is either the ruling class is happy with the continuous festering of terrorism in Nigeria or they are just not following the Boko Haram money trail.
Generally, this amongst many other things, shows that that Nigeria’s approach to combating terrorism is not working and must be changed. It also shows a ruling class that is intolerant of dissent in whatever form. Dissent is a feature of any modern democratic nation and this ongoing clampdown at dissent is dangerous.
We really want this country to be better in our time and cannot but demand that all attention should be focused on fighting terrorism and insurgency, with huge focus on intelligence.
“Ayọ̀délé Ìbíyẹmí is a lifetime student of Literature. He is also a reader who writes occasionally. For him, words are what makes the intractable world livable. Ayo tweets at @Ayo_eagles. He was a Wawa Book Review Young Literary Critics Fellow and won the 2019 Ken Saro-Wiwa Prize for Book Review.”