By: Karen Goulding
Terrorism is a global tormentor. It is now the world’s biggest affliction, with most countries trapped in its quagmire completely helpless. In the Middle East and parts of North Africa where terrorism has a solid base, rages and spread tentacles to other parts of the globe, its being hell on earth on how to extinguish the fury of terrorism.
Terrorism’s multiplication into subsets or splinter rebellious or extremists groups has drenched most parts of the world in its consuming fire. Before now, emphasis on combating terrorism was centered on field combats alone. But happily enough, nations suffering the menace of terrorism are collectively working round the clock to tame the tide, by also exploring alternative means of battling terror groups.
Both individuals and opinion leaders are involved in concerted efforts to overcome terrorism, as aside direct confrontation with violent extremists sects, campaigns have now shifted focus to checkmating sources of funding for terror Organizations. America’s President Donald Trump had launched a crusade, appealing to nations to check and severe sources of funding for terror sects.
This was after Qatar was accused of funding terrorists and extremists groups to trouble other parts of the world. Fighting terror is now also a battle between the rest of the world and individuals in nations that fund terrorists’ atrocious operations.
Gladly, Qatar responded positively and instantly to the emerging reality on terror wars as it agreed to act accordingly. In a public statement credited to the foreign minister, Qatar explained that “This is in light of its commitment to fighting terrorism, drying up the sources of the funding of terrorism, combating extremist ideology and the instruments of spreading and publicizing it, joint action to end it and fortify societies from it.”
Following Qatar’s positive and favourable disposition, it led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United States as part of the commitment to curtail financing for terrorists and enhance the battle to defeat terrorism across the globe. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was impressed with Qatar’s Emir for “being the first to respond to President Trump’s challenge at the Riyadh Summit to stop the funding of terrorism.”
Nigeria is in similar dilemma with Qatar. Funding of the remnants of Boko Haram Terrorism (BHT) in Nigeria by internal forces is largely responsible for the splashes of terrorism in parts of the country, especially in Borno state.
The Federal Government of Nigeria, under the leadership of President Muhammedu Buhari has done all at its disposal to defeat and finally end terrorism in the country. The Buhari Presidency overhauled the military hierarchy and appointed a committed set of Service Chiefs whom he charged with the responsibility of ending Boko Haram insurgency.
The President restocked Nigeria’s military weaponry and provided funds to carter for the welfare of troops on the battlefield in the counter-insurgency war. Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and counter-insurgency campaigns leader, Lt.Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai, also left no stone unturned by deploying various strategies and tactics in battling terrorists to a standstill. The defeat of Boko Haram terrorists is the reward of the unflinching efforts and priceless sacrifices of the courageous Nigerian troops.
But the veiled forces, suspected to be politicians, some of whom have links with neighbouring countries, which economically reap bountifully from festering insurgency have refused to stop their devilish acts of financing terrorists. Occasionally, suicide bombs have continued to be detonated in Borno state, in Nigeria’s Northeast, just like abductions of adults. And while the dreaded Islamic Boko Haram sect has been defeated, the prospect that terrorism will finally be smothered in Nigeria is bleak on account of its funding by both internal and external forces.
However, a fresh angle in the global battle against terrorism has now been introduced, with the Qatar example. What the whole world is canvassing is that ending terrorism is not only about the combat engagement of terrorists on the battlefield. There is so much to be done upon the realization that the military fighting terror sects anywhere usually makes tremendous gains against the terrorists.
In combat, terrorists sometimes get killed or their weapons destroyed or confiscated. But their sponsors freely replenish the stock, thus, empowering them to wax stronger to commit more atrocities.
The Saudi-led coalition against Qatar and America’s plea to improvise the direction and approach in the counter-terrorism war, by adding the relentless and determined search for sponsors of terrorists sects or organizations is one strategy that has remained too long in the cooler. It means the remedy of eradicating completely, the scourge of terrorism in the world is the total clampdown on the sponsors or those who fund it to flourish.
Money, weapons and food supply are central to the ferocious operations of terror groups around the world, Nigeria inclusive. And once the consensus to block these avenues of strength to terrorists is enforced, terrorists would have been too weakened to operate and the phenomenon would gradually fizzle out.
The current appeal to the conscience of humanity is that it is not enough for the rest of the world to willfully consent to the satanic minds of those who use terrorism to nourish their political or economic interests. Such human beings must be identified and compelled to face lawful penalties for their sins as accomplices in the heinous crimes against humanity via the instrumentality of terrorism.
And finally back to Nigeria, it’s obvious that the people and victims of terrorism are demanding and crying for justice. Certainly, security authorities, like the DSS, NIA, the Police and the Civil Defence should know the sponsors of terrorism in Nigeria. The Qatar example is encouragingly informative enough and conveys in clear terms that terrorism does not operate in a vacuum. It is nourished; funded and protected. These security agencies are yet to identify to Nigerians the internal sponsors of Boko Haram insurgents to massively arrest and arraign them for prosecution. It’s a challenge that has questioned their competence.
They must therefore make haste to go after them in consonance with the Qatar example in order to bring them to justice to serve as deterrence. This is just the only fair thing to do so as to sustain the military’s gains in the defeat of terrorism. This would also block the current streak of funding for terrorists, which has unabatedly continued to shatter the peace and coherence of parts of Nigeria. It will finally end terrorism in the country.
Failure to toe this plank of reasoning and action would only amount to raising an army of terrorists, which suffers destruction after military onslaughts on them; but would resurface again because the sponsors are allowed to go scot-free. The thought of quelling terrorism in Nigeria would be a mirage if the sponsors are not made to pay for it. Thus, the Qatar example becomes very germane for Nigeria and the security agencies responsible must tighten their seat belts.
Goulding is a researcher with the Global Amnesty Watch, London.