DOES AFRICA ALONE HAVE THE CAPACITY TO FIGHT TERRORISM?

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Photo Credit: Defence Web

PRESENTED AT JAW WAR 2015 QUARTER-FINAL ON THE 7TH OF OCTOBER, 2015.

GEORGE C. Kimble said; the darkest thing about Africa is not its black people, its black magic or even its shocking history of slavery and colonialism. The darkest thing about Africa has always been our ignorance of Africa. Many persons cannot fathom what Africa truly is, the great qualities she possesses and the magnificent things she is capable of. And so when it is asked that: can Africa fight terrorism, as a matter of reflex and inferiority complex; we tend to forget the facts and even flex the index – all in a bid to say no.

JUDGES, fellow warriors in this tournament, ladies and gentlemen: Good evening to you all. Here stands an African, Adebajo Adekunle Adefisayo, from the faculty of law proudly saying yes to the question – DOES AFRICA ALONE HAVE THE CAPACITY TO FIGHT TERRORISM?

FOR the sake of clarity, the United Nations General Assembly in 1994 described terrorism as criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes…

OUR Yoruba elders often tell us that a society without laws is a society without sins and flaws – ilu ti o ba ti sofin, ko le si ese. You see, though social scientists may not wear suits on a normal day, they do so by all means today because it is then law, the way of public speaking. Premised on this, I can confidently say that Africa’s legal weaponry is a perfect start in the fight against terrorism. This is evidenced by Article 23, Section 2, Paragraph (b) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights which categorically provides that for the purpose of strengthening peace, solidarity and friendly relations, state parties to the present Charter shall ensure that their territories shall not be used as bases for subversive or terrorist activities.

MOVING ON, the existence and re-emergence of the Central Multi-National Force against Boko-Haram between Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin shows that Africa has the unity and solidarity necessary to fight the monsters in our territory.

MOREOVER, what could be more convincing of our capacity to fight terrorists if not the 2014 Global Terrorism Index which places as many as 10 African countries in the list of top 32 countries with least cases of terrorism.

ALSO, it is as clear as the Zik River that the social values in Africa are a nightmare for terrorism. It is these values of justice and equity that propelled the formation of the Civilian Joint Task Force which has been doing a wonderful job in North-Eastern Nigeria fighting and ousting the menace of Boko Haram.

FURTHERMORE, the great Marcus Cicero once remarked – to know nothing of what happened before you were born is to forever remain a child. Thus, the question begging to be asked is: has Africa ever fought or won any fight against terrorists? Besides, how better to judge Africa’s capacity other than through the caps in Africa’s reality? Africa has indeed won several battles against terrorism. And a good instance is the 1985 total obliteration of the Yan Tatsine. We also have the Lord’s Resistance Militancy of Uganda, the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone and the Die Boermag of South Africa ALL of which are heard of no more today. And ah, not to forget our dear Niger Delta Militants who by the way promised us a Civil War should Uncle Jonathan lose the election. Six months later, it is apparent they only had the jaw but not the means to start the war.

IF my friends from the Social Sciences claim that Africa lacks military might to fight the blight of terrorism, please tell them that according to the 2015 Global FirePower list which ranks countries by military strength, India has the fourth best military in the world. However, this does not stop the same India from being ranked number six of the most terrorised nations of the world by the Global Terrorism Index.

FINALLY ladies and gentlemen, before I leave the stage, I must warn us. I fear that my opponents will soon come here to dish out a perfectly prepared delicacy full of the red herring fallacy. I fear that they will present an irrelevant item in order to divert attention from the original problem. And so, let us remember that the topic of today’s debate is not do individual African countries have the capacity. It is – does Africa, the continental land of milk and honey, have the capacity to fight terrorism. Therefore, my answer remains yes, yes and yes! If we combine the acuity of South Africans, the practicality of Egyptians, the numerical capacity of Nigerians, the martial vitality of Kenyans and the positive peculiarities of the 50 other Africa nations, we will not only fight the terrible terrorists terrifying our terra firma, we will in fact win that fight.

THE PARABLE OF RAJI AND MAMA ALAKARA

RAJI AND MAMA ALAKARA: FOOD FOR THOUGHTPrtScr capture_4

Mama, sell akara for me now… I have been standing here since… you no wan make I chop ni?”, rants Raji, a student of the University of Ibadan, and a member of the hall of Mellanby. Raji, on this very night, around 09:30pm, is at the front of a long queue of students who are waiting to buy the quite popular bread and akara of Mellanby hall. He uses every means available to convince the elderly lady at the centre of attraction. He would shout, plead and even argue against the others by telling those belonging to other halls of residence to return to their halls and buy akara there. Why must he queue with them as he is a stakeholder in the premier hall, he says. However, despite all these, the akara vendor refused to attend to him. Why? Because he jumped the queue. Not just this, but because he does so, every night.

A few minutes before this time, coming from a programme, I arrived at the hall. I decided to branch at the stand, to get a space, before proceeding to my room. I had to do this because it was of utmost importance to me to charge my cell-phones and laptop, due to the unpredictable and sporadic nature of our electric supply.
While going to my room, I saw the same Raji just moving towards the gate, that is, towards the akara seller. I did all I needed to and headed back to the place. There, I met the situation earlier described.

Raji was relentlessly demanding that he be attended to, and the “mama” kept refusing, firmly I must say. Everybody thought there was no way she would give in to his request, there was no way she would unfairly attend to him before others who have patiently stood up for several minutes, for the same purpose. I could hear the individual staying behind me saying if the akara vendor sells to Raji, then he would be vexed as ‘ese ni o’ i.e. ‘it is a sin’.

But we were wrong.

In a little more than no time, what I can say was anticipated but still is to everybody’s amazement, she eventually gave in, and sold akara to him. Adding that if he behaves the same way the next night, he will not get the same result.

Raji got what he wanted; he succeeded in breaking the protocols, delaying the others and infringing on their equitable rights. YET, nothing was done about it. Nobody got angry, or at least, nobody showed it. Nobody strongly protested it. Nobody said anything or did anything to correct the corruption which has just been committed with impunity.

This got me thinking.

The truth is that, in every country, there are dominant traits. Traits that seem to define the people of that country. Traits that are inextricable from the actual existence of the people. Once these traits are observable in the all the affairs of the people, they will get to the centre, the leadership. And once they are seen at the centre, know that they originated from the grassroots.

In Nigeria, these traits unfortunately include lateness (African time), nonchalance with things that are not ours, the spirit of forgiveness (which does not always work for us), the belief that ‘laws are made to be broken’ and of course, corruption.

The word Nigeria is today synonymous with corruption; this is because it is so widespread in the economy that those in the government are nothing but advocates of corruption and selfish interests. It is now thought that anybody going into politics, no matter how saintly, is automatically going there to fill his pockets. We now find youths publicly asserting that if they find themselves in the seat of power, they would not “dull” themselves, they also would not hesitate to have a long-lasting taste of the symbolic national cake.

Just like Raji, politicians, who are established monsters, incessantly demand to buy the masses’ votes and mandate. And just like the akara vendor, the electorates always eventually give in, mostly due to their forgetfulness, ignorance and spirit of forgiveness. Even those who promise hell if this happens, are in one way or the other, silenced. This cycle of corruption getting rewarded with forgiveness by its victims, keeps rolling and things keep getting worse. This will indubitably go on until somebody rises to the task of breaking this vicious cycle, until ‘mama alakara’ stands her ground and refuses to sell her akara to criminals and deceitful persons, until Raji realises that you cannot always get what you want by whatever means you utilise, you cannot ‘fool all the people, all the time!’

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THE MANIFEST EVIDENCE

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THE MANIFEST EVIDENCE!

‘Quod non apparet non est’; that is the philosophy of some people. If they hear about it, they will say ‘seeing is believing’. If they are privileged to see it, they will say ‘this is not sufficient to convince us, we need to see more’. THIS is the trait of no other than hypocrites. It is akin to the story of a man who lives in a dilapidated house, and then after a tireless demand for succour the state decides to demolish it and build a new strong state-of-the-art home for him. But rather than relocating to his new home, the man still clings to the old rubble.

On a Tuesday, the 26th day of February to be exact, something peculiar transpired in Queen Elizabeth II hall, University of Ibadan. A 200 level student of Bio-chemistry who goes by the name, Ola Kareem Khayrah, was visited by her mom and given some chunks of raw meat. Later on, as she was boiling the meats, the intriguing incident took place: the name of God, as it is universally used by Arabs and Muslims, appears on one of the chunks.

Relating it, in my presence, some hours later, at the Dawah Enlightenment programme organised by the Muslim students’ society of the university, Khayrah had this to say; ‘’my mommy brought raw beef for me in Queen’s hall. I took the meat to the meat to the kitchenette to boil. As the meat started to simmer, an inscription of Allah’s name in Arabic language {الله} began to appear on a piece of the meat. The more the meat boiled, the clearer the inscription became. I then decided to fry that slice of meat, perhaps, the name will disappear. Lo! It became more engraved on the meat after frying. The experience really shocked me.’’

It is worthy of note that this is not the first time something like this would happen, neither is it the second, fifth nor tenth I have personally seen. We have seen and heard of related cases in other parts of the globe, but none ever this nigh. There is the case of the tree bowing towards the Ka’aba, the child born with Arabic inscriptions, the cactus plant forming ‘Allah’, the mosque that withstood a great seismic activity amongst many others.

One au fait with the Glorious Qur’an ought not to be flummoxed by the happening as it is indelibly stated in the divine scripture that ‘we will show them Our signs in the universe and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this [Qur’an, Islam] is the truth…’ {Q41, V53}

Verily, Islam is the only true religion endorsed by the Almighty. It is the only solution to all worldly snags. It is the only source of salvation. If only we did but know, those of us yet to accept Islam as the only genuine guidance for mankind would do so, and those who have, would hold it dearly in order to secure an eternity of peace and rest of mind.

Ad summum, as is the catch phrase of legal minds, ‘res ipsa loquitur’: ‘the thing speaks for itself’. There is absolutely no need for unnecessary elucidation and lengthy literature, in order to underscore what is already evident. And like I always say, ‘a word is enough for the wise, and a million chapters will never suffice a fool.’

‘Whoever goes right, then he goes right only for the benefit of his own self. And whoever goes astray, then, he goes astray to his own loss…’ {Q17, V15}