Saturday, May 5, 2007

* This post has been updated with news and analysis of the 'Nigerian Terrorist' incident from December 25th, 2009 in "A Nigerian Terrorist & A Nation's Passivity". Please read that post after this one. Thank you.

When most people think of terrorists, you think of a scary dude in military-like gear/ fatigues/ black clothing, face covered, brandished gun in hand and ammunition around his chest. And, of course, you think, right or wrong, of an Arab male.

Well, a funny thing happened a few days ago while I was watching CNN. The commentator announced that 172 terrorists had been captured in Saudi Arabia. Being that I once worked a few blocks from the World Trade Center in NYC and lived walking distance from the White House on September 11th, 2001 and can still remember military aircrafts circulating my neighborhood after the plane went into the Pentagon, roughly 10 miles away, I paid close attention and wanted to learn more about this capture of terrorists.

The commentator didn't say much, but not less than 20 minutes later, some information scrolled across the bottom of the screen. CNN reported that some of the captured terrorists were Yemeni and NIGERIAN. How is that possible? Nigerians are the 'happiest people' on earth, right? Since when did we start doing terrorism? I thought CNN must have misreported and committed myself to paying more attention to the story.
I never again saw any reference to Nigerian involvement in the captured terrorist cell on CNN or any other news outlet this side of the Atlantic. I managed to convince myself that I misread the scroll bar and couldn't possibly have seen what I thought I saw.

Lack of sleep, a few days later, and curiosity, however, set me on a hunt to find some more info and so I started digging. I looked at some of my favorite Nigeria-related blogs, Naija Blog, Omodudu, Chippla, Grandiose Parlor, but I failed to find what I was looking for. Nobody else saw what I saw, it seemed. A simple search on Google, however, pulled up what I was looking for. My eyes had not deceived me. At least 3 of the first 100 websites found made a brief mention of Nigerians being part of the group of captured terrorists. This news came out April 29th. I wonder why more details are hard to find? What is one to make of this Naija connection? Is it real or fabricated?

In light of the recent failed attempt to blow up INEC headquarters in Abuja (in broad day light, while it was surrounded by stragglers, protesters and other businesses on a busy Abuja street), the continuous kidnapping and capturing of foreign workers in the Niger Delta region and now the newest strategy of kidnapping relatives of 'relevant' politicians, such as a governors mother (God have mercy on MEND), I am beginning to wonder just how happy Nigerians really are. It seems that disenfranchisement, the lack of jobs, inadequate resources and non-existing infrastructure seems to have turned a happy-go lucky people into desperate individuals willing to resort to violence to get their point across.

The disenfranchised are using whatever means necessary to hit the Big Boys where it hurts. The 'means' - violence and militarism. 'Where it hurts' - the pocket. Thus, groups like MEND attack the Nigeria's oil production system in an effort to voice their concerns and hopefully influence decisions and outcomes.

Rather than use preventative action, a 'tear-tear/patch-patch' approach is applied by government. Preventative action would be to provide better living conditions in the Niger Delta and all over Nigeria via the better health care, schools, affordable housing, business and job opportunities etc. Instead, the 'tear-tear/patch-patch' approach means that the government uses police intimidation and soldiers to quash any attempts to protest or question the miserable living conditions and incredible incompetence of our 'leaders'. Consequently, by failing to address the issues of the common man, Nigeria continues to breed discontented individuals who can also be easily influenced into joining up with hard-core terrorists and thus get captured in Saudi Arabia or join groups like MEND in the Delta.

If Nigerian terrorists do not yet exist, I posit that the current conditions are enough to encourage the onslaught of terrorists in the near future. There are approximately 140 million Nigerians, with the overwhelming majority of them living below $1 a day. We do not need a generation of discontented Nigerians attacking fellow Nigerians or people from any other part of the globe. Nigeria can be called many things. One thing it MUST NOT be called is a breeding ground for terrorism.

We need to take care of our people and thus prevent the conditions that foster militarism, violence and terrorism. If not, we could be in for a bleak future, indeed.

Related Articles of Interest:
- Nigeria's President Absent During Crisis
- Nigeria Placed on "Terror Prone" List
- African Travel Post Abdulmutallab
- A Nigerian Terrorist & A People's Passivity
- 'Is Nigeria A Breeding Ground For Terrorism' (May 2007)
- America Speaks...Does Nigeria Respond?
- How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot With Al Qaeda

17 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

Kafo said...

there are naija terrorists
i wish one could cling and be naive and hope they don't exist but EVERY country that has a islamic presence has a terrorist.

Not because Moslems are terrorists but mainly because Islam thrives in communities were people live in abject poverty.
People need hope and when this dream is coupled with starvation, terrorism is the least of our worries.

Anonymous said...

Terrorism is here to stay and i am sad to admit that but the Western/American war against it made it even more popular...


@ Kafo: "People need hope and when this dream is coupled with starvation, terrorism is the least of our worries."

In a way you are definitely right. However, I find it hard to believe that terrorism can ever be the least of our problems. Every problem we face is a serious one. It might seem small as an individual entity but once it interacts with another set of problems, the mix could be dangerous.

That is what worries me about terrorism. It seems to be a product of various negative factors. Starvation or terrorism - both bad. People will end up dying one way or the other. At least we can take care of starvation and hopefully stave off terrorism in the process. If not, well, the consequence will be dire.

Thanks for stopping by and making a comment. Much appreciated. Come back often.


@ Obinwanne: "Terrorism is here to stay and i am sad to admit that but the Western/American war against it made it even more popular..."

I must admit that like you I believe that terrorism is not going anywhere. Though usually clothed in the garb of religion and injustice, it is simply used by manipulative men and women to promote anarchy and gain power. The desire to destroy in an effort to gather the spoils is as basic as breathing for many and has been an impulse present in human nature since the beginning of time.

And, yes, Big brother is seen as beating up on little brother vie this war on terror, thus making terrorism ever so popular for some. How ironic. Reminds me of what I wrote about Unintended Consequences but that was in regard to Nigeria....

Anyway, thanks for your comment. Stop by often.

Omodudu said...

My brother I had about the incident. Also Nigeria was named the country with the second highest number of terror attacks. since nobody talked about it I felt it would be a better idea to ignore it because, one its sensitive stuff, two we do not need that kind of publicity things are as hard as it is right now. It is a shame that my thoughts on the oppression of our people by the leaders can not be fully expressed right here. But the truth be told, as long as the gap between rich and poor keep growing its only a matter of time that the so-called Nigerian rich will discover that all their loot can buy them is more of what the poor person has, and nothing more.
It is as if Nigerian are in denial, there is so little talk about the INEC blasts.
We are definitely not a nation of terrorists, just like we are not a Nation of fraudsters.

Anonymous said...

There is no need to drag our name through the mud any further. All this talk about nigerian terrorists is ridiculous

I also cannot accept that Nigeria is a nation of terrorirsts or fraudsters. Nija has to find a way to address the issues that could essentially contribute to creating useless terrorists. Our leaders are busy chopping left and right and not sharing the wealth That is why those useless boys went to Saudi Arabia to start trouble.

nice write up.


@ Omodudu: Okay, thankd for your comment. Now I understand the silence. But, I wonder if it will not backfire in the end. I put a search on google using Nigeria and terrorism as search terms and so much info came up. It seems that there is growing chatter on Nigeria as a growing hotspot what with MEND and Taleban in the north.

I just fear that if we don't start talking about it (and other crucial issues), we will not be able to have some control and say over the terms used in the global discussion which is going on right now without us, as usual.

And, yes, the attempted INEC bombing seems to have been washed under the rug. Nigerians have an attitude where we can get over almost anything, I swear. That is a good thing but it can also be a bad thing because it suuggests that we might be unable to deal with issues decisively and immediately when they rear their head. Ignoring problems will only allow them to fester and we all know what happens when diseases fester. After all, prevention is better than cure, shebi? Anyway, I appreciate your comments.


@ Anon: True, Nigeria definitely does not need any more bad press and it was not my intention to give it any, oh! Just wanted to address the issues I saw.

"Our leaders are busy chopping left and right and not sharing the wealth That is why those useless boys went to Saudi Arabia to start trouble."

I agree. If they send those "useless" boys back to Nija and directly to Oshodi or Ajegunle, they can then receive mob justice a la burning tires. Just kidding. I hope Nija folks have but back on that practice.

Thanks for your post. Next time, do not be shy to intorduce yourself and shed the 'anon' identity.

Olawunmi said...

nigeria already has terrorists. some of them are in government, but the others are in everyday society. its a shame, but where can we turn, when our very society is decaayed from the top to its roots.

we are a breedng ground for terrorists, its just the the majority of them are called armed robbers and deperate opportunistic youths. their agenda might not be political, but the end result is the same if the population is too terrified to go about their business.

but then, the inec incident and the niger delta insurgency with its kidnappings and sabotage are classic cases of terrorism. only God can help us, our leaders have abrogated the responsibility in favour of looting the resources that might help us avert the looming crisis


@ Olawunmi: Thank you, I absolutely agree! Although I focused on mend and terrorists you are very right that even non-violent individuals terrorise Nigerians.

"our very society is decaayed from the top to its roots."

Very well said. Thank you for joining the conversation.

Dee said...

Great write up…sadly you have brought up front a topic most Nigerians refuse to discuss and to a large extent deny its existence. Yes, Nigerians are seemingly peaceful and happy people and are not capable of the kind of terrorism that has initiated many wars. But we forget many instances in Nigeria that has resulted in “tribal or religious wars/conflicts” that is now defined in the western world today as “homegrown terrorism”.
Now that a new kind of war (terrorism) is popular and has flourished in the world…forgive me to say, it has given conflict minded Nigerians new ideas on how to carry out violent intentions
You know, for a very long time now the issue of terrorism and Nigerians has bothered me. Nigerians are easily influenced by the ways of the world and frankly if we think there are no Nigerian terrorists, we need to think again. Especially with the heightened and popular MEND activities in the Niger-Delta. I must confess that my greatest fear is hearing that one of the major oil wells has been blown up (e.g. bonny facility). Its not something I pray for or even want to happen…but as each kidnapping incident is reported from the Niger-Delta…and with the Govt. pretending not to notice (well at least on the international front, I haven’t heard of any concrete Govt. work or initiatives being done to eradicate or reduce MEND activities…), it isn’t far fetched that MEND or even some other group would go a step further (and alas, we haven’t even considered the Fundamental Religious Northerners!)

Yes, Nigeria is a breeding ground for terrorism. In every sector there’s room to grow terrorists: political, religion, culture, economics, wealth; we just have too many issues that are not being taken care of by the Govt.
For years the common man has been pushed to the wall one too many times, and he’s fighting back now (MEND). There’s a new style in town to get your issues noticed and it isn’t rioting…its TERRORISM

Again I don’t pray for it but I wouldn’t be surprised if some places begin to go “BOOM”

Anonymous said...

i am deeply saddened that such a thing could happen to nigeria. this is yet another national disgrace. but yet terrorism is everyday. i hope nigeria encourages national zeal and shuns terrorism and stay close to our commrades the US and Israel.hope is here for all nigerians. voilence is never the answer.

Anonymous said...

this article written 2 years ago is oh so relevant today!!!

Anonymous said...

The truth is that Nigeria does have terrorists. even America has home grown terrorists. What baffles me is that a Nigerian would want to kill himself and for what reason??? Now people have a reason to stare at us some more and stereotype..

Anonymous said...

I am Nigerian and I belive that we are not being sincere with the situation. Nigeria is a TERRORIST Nation period. We have a Nation where the Nothern Muslims rule with threaths of Sharia Terrorism. Killings of Southen Non-Terroist Christians has become a yearly ritual. Is there any year that we do not loose ove a thousand people Islamic Nothern Terrorists? Maybe the arrest of this jerk will be a good thing for us so that the country can be seperated into the Non-Terroist South and the Terrorist North

Anonymous said...

Those criminals who called themselves elected polical leaders, should do a rain check on thier lives and see the sadness they have brought to us nigerians. That so called mutallab boy was the biggest fool I have ever heard of. If somebody wants you to take your life and that of others, while don't they do it themselves istead of asking you to do it for them? The answer is NO!!!!!!!!!. why becos, they want to live life to the fullest with their wives and children and want you not to enjoy your by giving you a stupid story about some dozen virgins awaiting you when you die taking other people life. Why can't they go get the virgin themselves? I can't believe a Nigerian will fall for this stupid nonsense. That I know only those dumb asse muslims will do in the name of religion. The muslim nations have the highest poverty ratio anybody can think of the riches wicked folks. Those who practise this wickedness among the human race, God (Allah) will blast them with thunder from above where ever they are. Nigerian's governmental criminals get ready. God almight will punish all of you one by one.

christian ohaka said...

You live a walking distance from the White House? I should have known. You are definitely not one of us

Post a Comment

Get curious...share your thoughts, long and short. But, do remain civil.