Further Steps To End Insurgence
By Emmanuel Onwubiko
In the preceding edition of this same piece, we had dwelt extensively on the modalities adopted already by the Nigerian Government to seek to bring to a fruitful end the current state of anarchy, lawlessness, bloody killings and insurgency being waged by armed Islamic insurgents of all shapes and color concentrated in Northern Nigeria but increasingly widening their scope of attacks to other geopolitical zones of Nigeria. Abuja is the latest theatre of this bloody rebellion in which over three dozen persons were wasted in a recent bombing campaign at the Emab commercial plaza located strategically in Wuse two, the metropolitan area of the nation's capital
In the last edition, we were able to identify the use of 'carrot and stick' approach as one major formula being adopted by the central government to work towards bringing to an end these killings that have rattled even the consciences of the international community to such an extent that World leaders and influential leaders of international organizations to pay close attention to the happenings in Nigeria which ranks as the largest black nation all over the World. We learnt recently that the harsh tag 'bring back our girls' campaign which started over 70 days ago since over two hundred and fifty school girls were kidnaped by the armed insurgents, have so far attracted over two million signatories from all the World. This is an uncommon feat that a campaign waged in Nigeria could attract this high profile international focus and this demonstrate how severe the terrorists strikes in Nigeria have become.
Now that we are well aware of the unprecedented interest that these killings by terrorists have generated even among international community, our attention will be shifted to the best way out to resolve these spate of attacks which by and large affects every segments of the Nigerian society and has to a very damaging extent crippled the economy of the North which hitherto was the food basket of the nation and the implication is that sooner than we realize it the problem of national hunger and starvation could set in if the mechanisms put in place to bring all the interested parties in these conflicts to the dialogue table collapses and if we fail to bring about social justice to the hundreds of thousands of the victims of the killings then we have only succeeded in instituting a temporary peace of the grave yard.
We have also found out that a major component of dialogue is the successful and comprehensive demobilization of the combatants and the resettlement of the victims. These measures have worked especially on the African continent whereby civil wars have ravaged the people over several years. But even in Asia and parts f Eastern Europe this method has also worked and therefore it is possible that it could bring to an end the killings going on in Nigeria if all parties will be sincere and accept to end these killings which offends our creator.
In the course of research, we encountered a piece which expertly defined the very important term of demobilization of combatants as the “single most important factor determining the success of peace operations and that without demobilization, civil wars cannot be brought to an end and other critical goals-such as democratization, justice and development – have little chance for success.”
The above is derived from the Report of the High-level panel on “threats, challenges and change, UN2004″.
The proliferation of UN peace keeping operations, according to international observers did actually coincides with an increase in UN-led programs to disarm and disband warring parties, as well as re-integrate ex-combatants into civilian life.
“Disarmament, Demobilization and Re-integration, or DDR programs as they are known to practitioners, have features in post-conflict reconstruction from Afghanistan to Haiti. But the Bulk of DDR interventions-twenty-four since 1992-have occurred in Africa.
The 19 DDR programmes are situated in various continents. Two in America (Colombia, within the Haiti) three in Asia (Afghanistan, Aceh, Indonesia, Chad, Cote' d' Ivoire Eritrea, Liberia, Niger, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central Africa Republic, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda.
In Columbia, we found out that after more than 40 years of armed conflict and several negotiation attempts, in 2003 the Colombian government had taken designed, dubbed the “Democratic Security and Defence policy (2003); the main objective of this policy was to strengthen the rule of law in Colombia and as part of this security policy, the government offered the possibility of combatants to demobilize individually in collectively and then reintegrate into civilian life. Currently, the illegal armed groups comprised of approximately 22,000 guerrilla members, and 600 paramilitary members (Gonzales, 2003).
The programs for the individual demobilization was that the Colombian government's aim was to reduce the power of armed groups, leaving them with a negotiable solution as the only alternative (Bernal, 1996).
The demobilization, disarmament and re-litigation programme has successfully reduced the personnel of the illegal armed groups. In addition, it has provided the Colombian government with important information to stop terrorist attacks, and helped rescue kidnapped civilians. From a military perspective, the process is a successful policy, however, the DR programme offers the combatants alternative possibilities to war.
Afghanistan is one nation reputable for being the international headquarters of terrorism but this country is also experimenting with this method. Although there are many technical issues to be addressed in the discussion about disarmament, demobilization and Re-integration in Afghanistan, there is no doubt that it was a political process from beginning to end.
Conversely, these methods in application in Afghanistan are essential parts of a wider programme of security reform, including the ministries of defence, interior and justice, but also because of the way it was conceived and implemented.
While using the instrumentality of the Principle of rule of law in line with section 6 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria[as amended] to bring the most serious offenders, masterminds and sponsors of these killings to justice, it would be important if other constructive methods that don't involve the use of force are employed to positively seek to bring to an end this regime of mass murders in Nigeria. Time is indeed running out for every one of us because if these killings are not brought to an end quickly the majority of Nigerians will either become internally displaced and or most people with the finance and capacity may leave the country in droves and those unable to leave will resort to self help such as arming themselves to preserve their lives since self preservation is the first law of nature.
+Emmanuel Onwubiko heads Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria and [email protected]; www.huriwa.org.