Gazing Mode: Why are Terrorists Sentenced in the UK but Free in Nigeria?

Michael Adebolajo has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a UK soldier. Whilst Michael Adebowale is sentenced to at least 45 years for the murder of Lee Rigby, who left behind his wife and a son. The UK Home Secretary at the time of the verdict said the "sickening and barbaric murder" of Rigby had "united the entire nation in condemnation."

Certainly Adebolajo's contention that he was a soldier for Allah was garbaged by the fact that several Muslims living in the UK and abroad unitedly condemned the brutal murder. It was needless. But he vehemently claimed he acted for Allah. At trial, Adebolajo denied the charges of murder on the grounds that he had acted from religious conviction. In 2002 to 2003, while at a university, Adebolajo converted to Islam.

“Adebowale, who did not take the stand, converted to Islam more recently, in 2008 to 2009.In court, Adebolajo gave a matter-of-fact account of his actions. He declared himself a warrior for Allah and said he saw al Qaeda as his "brothers in Islam,” according to CNN report February 26, 2014.

It would surprise you that this event has not taught the Nigerian government any lesson on how to handle terrorists and terrorism, as the recent attacks on children in north-east Nigeria put tears on the face of every onlooker who may mournfully believe that there is neither intelligent executive nor judiciary in Nigeria capable of bringing terrorists to book. Most terrorists in Nigeria are yet to be captured and sentenced publicly as the UK government has done.

While Prosecutor Sue Hemming said the pair "reveled in one of the most appalling terrorist murders I have ever seen. Not only was the attack brutal and calculated, it was also designed to advance extremist views," I do not think she is aware of the conflagration and butchery of 300 school children in North East Nigeria within the last 500 hours.

In her prepared statement, she said "As a soldier, Fusilier Lee Rigby was targeted in a clear act of revenge, deliberately carried out in full view of members of the public for maximum impact”.

Even as the terrorists were sentenced, outside the court, demonstrators from the English Defence League, a far-right group, carried signs calling for capital punishment to be restored. Britain abolished the death penalty in the 1960s.

Death penalty is still permissible in Nigeria. However, it is yet to be used to serve as a public warning to terrorists. A gaze at the way terrorism is handled in Nigeria will sicken anybody. Nigeria— which in 2025 will become the world's fifth biggest country by population and could exceed South Africa in economic size— may continue to lag behind the rest of the world for decades in the provision of security, justice and good standard of living.

Gordon Brown, Former Prime Minister of Britain, while gazing on the effects of terrorism in Nigeria wrote on February 27, 2014,

“When courageous Malala Yousafzai was shot, 5 million men, women and children signed petitions calling for every girl in Pakistan to have the chance to go school. But this week the world remained silent when 40 schoolchildren were shot and then burnt to death in a school in north east Nigeria. The incident was nothing less than a massacre of the innocents. This latest attack, perpetrated by Boko Haram, brings the number of people murdered in the last month by the terrorist group to 300. Many were children targeted simply for going to school.”

President Goodluck Jonathan, who released over 165 persons apprehended in 2013 in the course of military operations against terrorists in the three states in Nigeria under emergency rule: Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, was actually gazing at nothing. That kind of leader may find it impossible to get the kind of reactions Pakistan got from the international community when Malala was shot by terrorists. Indeed, Gordon Brown's plea to the international community to see ways to assist Nigeria would be knocking one's hand on a truck carrying bricks. The country aren't gazing at the solutions to terrorism yet. The world may not gaze at Nigeria soon.

Gaze as used in psychoanalytical, criminological, epistemological and phenomenological discourses has become a meditative gizmo in socio-political research since its usage was popularised by Jacques Lacan.

Security and the knowledge of it can never be captured holistically without uninterrupted gazing. You do not read a new idea and jump around with it. After the empty jump the knowledge disappears into nothingness outside the limits of your perception of it. The more you gaze the more you grasp that you are graspable. It is a wonderful ideology.

Lacan, on the subject of gaze unabashedly contains the gazer in the concept of gazing. By that, to gaze means that the awareness of any object can induce an awareness of also being an object. This is what Lacan terms as the gaze effect. When you look at yourself on the mirror you see yourself. When you gaze at yourself on the mirror you see a picture of you. There is much variance in that. This, also, does not mean that the object one is gazing behaves optically as a mirror or a car side window. This means that by being aware of that picture or shadow you are appealing to your being just by that gazing. You seriously react quicker towards the death of those pupils if you are a president who is gazing thoroughly on the event.

If you would not travel to that location, you would most certainly send numerous representatives to sympathise and strategise ways of forestalling further attacks. You cannot travel to Kenya with fleets of private jets for business deals and find it difficult to send private jets to those sites where your children are butchered in broad day light. It is unreasonable. Money is not as important as life.The parents of those children need support from those billionnaires and those agents that travel around with the President. The north-east needs serious welfare so as to make it difficult for terrorists to decieve and recruit the poor living in that region.

When we analyse economic, medical or political events such as terrorism through gazing, we also realise our own ontological dynamism. We realise how and who we are in that process. The proclivity towards understanding Foucaultian panopticism and the surveillance systems, which are popular in Europe, led me towards gazing on and studying this concept deeply.

Just so you know the brutal attack against the soldier Lee Rigby was recorded on closed-circuit TV and by bystanders. There was no surveillance camera to record how and when those children were murdered in north-east Nigeria. Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale hit soldier Lee Rigby with a car then hacked him to death with a meat cleaver and knives in May 2013. Sad. They were not even afraid of the police that arrived on time, as they were ready to battle with the security agents. Theirs was a different issue, they were not afraid to die. Yet, there was suerveillance camera on the street viewing them. And, importantly,they were aware they must be caught.

Nonetheless, you may have noticed that in Europe, most churches, clubs, pubs, schools, theatres, Cinemas, streets and even high-ways we drive on are wired with CCTV cameras. For example, you cannot even try to urinate anywhere by the road side except few places in London like Woolwich. A local black community where I taught, and thus noticed that people do not care about surveillance. It was that location where those black boys confronted and killed Lee Rigby last year May in London. And, to tell you the fact, one cannot afford to gaze further at that brutal demise, and the scarific dimple it left on Nigeria's rugged face abroad.

Yet, generally, whilst you live abroad, you find that you have developed a sense of being watched—because there are cameras everywhere— and therefore you modify your behaviour. You have that feeling, although you cannot see the observer, that you are not alone. This surveillance compels you to gaze at your surroundings and in that gazing you become more aware of yourself and what you say or do. Apart from that, the fact that you could be easily hacked or attacked in Europe compels you to gaze uninterruptedly, everywhere.

If the murder of a soldier can increase gazing and anxiety abroad, what about the murder of over 300 Nigerian children in north-east of Nigeria within two weeks. Everyone living in the north of Nigeria would be restless and so uncomfortable. I pity them.

Urgent response to terrorism in Nigeria is needed.

To that effect the Nigerian government can take the following measures to increase their effort on managing terrorism:

The Joint Task Force, The Nigerian police, The Air Force and the Navy, NIA, SSS, students, traditional rulers, civil groups , military generals, retired civil servants, jurists, every citizen of the region, including corporate citizens, academics, NGOs, medical employees, financial employees, entrepreneurs, political parties, media representatives and bloggers must be organised to tackle terrorism. There must be a coalition of representatives of these groups. There must be an accord that would bring government and these forces together so that information from every sector is streamlined. Also there must be leadership framework directed towards ending the attack on children and schools.

The government must be on a gazing mode so as to acquire intelligence for stronger action. Everybody must be at alert as well.

Secondly, there must be solid investment in technology. Every movement in the region must be monitored. Indeed, this is more important than the third aspect of the solution I will proffer. There must be attempt at investing in solar-powered cameras that will be monitored from federal, state and local security offices. This will displace the terrorists. There must be phoneboots in every street in the North and South. Investment on telecommunication must become serious.

Thirdly, there must be one emergency number, and there must be a well-equipped emergency rescue team targeting terrorism. And they should be paid better than what the terrorists are getting from their sponsors. Religion is not the root of all evil. Money is. If government can pay the security agents more than what the terrorists receive, you will even see some of the terrorists joining JTF. It will reduce sabotage within the security forces.

Fourthly, the ammunitions the security operatives use must be improved in every way. AK 47 is outdated. The government needs to empower the security agencies with current power rifles. They should have powerful drones, Helicopters that will not crash, local and foreign inspectors that will check the military tools so as to reduce sabotage.

Fifthly, the stakeholders must be made to hold rallies and intelligence meetings weekly to inundate the government with happenings and solutions to challenges at every stage of the battle. When I refer to stakeholders, you know religious associations and agricultural societies. They should be part of the forest police that can help the government identify hide-outs for the beasts in the north's hinterland.

The sixth response is judicial appraisal or judicial reforms. Terrorists must be made to kiss the full wrath of the law. People connected to terrorism, including spies, sponsors, judges, officers and terrorists must be held and prosecuted. Borders must be monitored. Intelligence must be gathered. For example, what led to the death of late Gen Azazi the ex-NSA chief must be unraveled. The felons are clearly the sponsors of Boko haram.

Likewise, the government needs to invest in education and human resource across the country. The investments in the north of Nigeria vis-à-vis education are recommendable. However, training on security must be part of school curriculum. Students must be trained to be alert.

Forest security must be developed further to be able to unravel the hide-out of the beasts. There must be emergency systems put in place to alert security operatives from every school in the north. There should be security operatives assigned to every street, every school, every market, and every hospital. The security agents must not collect any bribe from citizens.

Now they have threatened to fight the Niger Delta (South of Nigeria), has the government gazed at ways to intensify security in that region? They even kidnapped the president's uncle in Bayelsa state, a Niger Delta location, within the week leading to the country's Centenary celebrations that attracted several heads of governments around the world. Does the government want to wait until they attack more cities, kill more kids in the country before they can gaze further and act?

On Sunday, March 2, 2014, 12 soldiers were adopted, 33 civilians were klled, and several police men wounded in the latest attack by the terrorists in Mafa, Borno State,north of Nigeria. There is clearly no intelligence. Casualties are increasing by the day. The goverment should gaze more, act more to capure the terroists. People also should be alert as well. Gazing mode activated.

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Articles by Stanley Ndukwe