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Analysis: AFRICAN APPROACH TO CURB INSURGENCIES – THE CASE OF NIGERIA

The style embraced by African nations to eliminate insurgency within their borders and in international assistance efforts is multifaceted and incorporates a series of steps, which includes:

1) Targeted Strikes At Combatants: In order to be perceived as truly concerned for the well-being of the populace, the military consciously strive to limit civilian casualties in affected areas.

This is done through prior announcements of anti-insurgency operations to advise civilians not to panic and remain indoors throughout a specific operation.

Frequently, curfews and stop-search are adopted.

Such announcements alert militants of impending counter-insurgency strikes.

That is a necessary cost to ensure the protection of civilians.

However, there have been some high-handed, brute force strategies that resulted in the massacre of the civilian population of some villages.

Such retaliatory steps against civilians usually occur after the murder of a military official by insurgents operating within the vicinity.

The idea is that as the civilian populace are blood relations of insurgents, an attack on the former is a tool against the latter.

This is similar to the psychological war utilised by western and western-inclined governments in the deliberate bombing of civilians in order to assassinate a wanted person and the detention of parents, wife and sisters of the said persons.

The tragedy in this procedure is that self-acclaimed law enforcers violate own law: the law of protection of civilians.

Why call terrorism a crime against civilians and embark on a war against terrorism only to commit the same terrorism?

The war against terrorism translates into an act of terrorism, permissible for the state only and not for the individual.

2) Educational Opportunities: The second approach is the use of education to improve the life opportunities of underprivileged youths in the affected regions.

The Nigerian federal government have revitalised attitudes towards education with the construction of schooling facilities for street children* known as almajiris.

Education does expose the student to other positive practices and reduces the probability of the student’s inclination towards violent crimes.

Contrary to the perception that acts of violence are instigated and perpetrated by the uneducated, in some nations with a high security issue, education or the lack of it is not really a determinant of the probability of engaging in violent crimes against non-combatants or the state.

Nevertheless, education if properly employed by all actors – government, parents, community and the individual student enhances the individual’s interest in the welfare of others without limitation.

3) Employment Enhancement Training:

Again, similar to the second approach, this does not necessarily remove the threat of violence, particularly if the leadership of the insurgency picks another grievance to justify violence.

A good example is the case of insurgents in the Niger-Delta whose initial grievance was oil revenue sharing.

Federal revenue allocations to the states in the region were increased to a higher percentage relative to other states.

Despite their actions, insurgents received amnesty and were offered training and employment, with some receiving education in foreign nations.

The latest demand of their leader to forestall another outbreak of treason is the re-election of the incumbent president, a native of the Niger-Delta region.

Nigeria is under siege.

In effect, employment might improve the level of funding and sophistication of violence should the insurgents choose to return to crime.

In addition to the above methods to improve national security, this author proposes an

Ethnic, Cultural and Psychological Dynamism:

This approach is little explored because of its sensitivity.

To reduce the impact of biased leaders on the led, governments and civil society need to convince the followers that followership is not a blind institution.

The follower needs to be educated on the difference between respect for the leader and obedience to the leader.

Respectful and non-personal critique of the leader’s position should be encouraged.

Encouraging courteous opposition is an uphill task considering the command-obey structure of many communities.

Even ethnic communities, for example my people Ndi Igbo, historically known for the absence of such blind obedience and famed for criticising their leaders have adopted the infallibility of the leader stance on ethnicity issues.

Analysis - AFRICAN APPROACH TO CURB INSURGENCIES - The Case Of Nigeria

*Almajiris are street children only in the sense of parental and communal irresponsibility.

They are neither parentless nor homeless but spend much of their life begging on the street, even if the home of their parents is within the vicinity.

This is part of the so-called Islamic education where children are sent to learn under the tutelage of an Imam and are abandoned to fend for their needs, as a means of survival.

Almajiris, a symbol of a misery existence, are thus blamed, typically by non-natives, for violent crimes in the community.

Almajiris are responsible for violent crimes only in the sense that they alone are presented to the media. The reason for this is that every section of the community receive the same cultural innoculation of impunity towards crime as almajiris.

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