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Analysis On The Effect Of Terrorism In Nigeria

By Edikan Ekanem
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On `1st October 2010 around 10:30am, there was a car bombing also referred to as the “2010 Nigeria Independence Day attack where two car bombing were carried out against crowds celebrating the fiftieth anniversary (golden jubilee) of Nigeria’s independence. The Attack left 12 dead and 17 injured.

Around 11:30pm on 25th of July 2016, militants blew up a state-run oil pipeline Akwa Ibom state which caused massive spills in the latest attack on the country’s oil infrastructure, injured living person and affected human properties as well; people suffered loss of possession and lack of means of livelihood.

From the above and Nigerian history, it may be presumed that Terrorism is not a new development in human society neither it is strange in its manifestations. It has been manifested in various ways; it has been manifested in forms of communal boundary, ethnic and religious clashes. It has become a worldwide problem that is seriously threatening the foundation of world peace, survival of democracy, human and the protection human rights in the nations of the world.

This paper will seek to deliberate on how the offence of terrorism is seen the eyes of the law and other offences committed during the act of terrorism. It will go further to show how an action can be maintained in tort though it is a crime, showing who the action will lie against the, and whether or not damages can be awarded as a result of the injury suffered in the act of terrorism. This work will as well show the extent that terrorist activities have affected Nigeria’s economic, Political, and educational development in this 21st century, will as well show some ways that this act of terrorism may be overcome.

By way of meaning and description, terrorism has been described as both tactic and strategy; a crime and a holy duty; a justified action to oppression and an inexcusable abomination. Terrorism is also “the use of bombs and violence especially against ordinary people to try to force a government to do something”. Also, it is “the use of violent action in order to achieve political aims or to force a government to act an act of terrorism”

Bryan A. Garner, defines terrorism as “the use or threat of violence to intimidate or cause panic, especially as a means of affecting political conduit”

Paul Wilkinson sees it from the political perspective when he said “political terrorism may be briefly defined as a special form of clandestine, undeclared and unconstitutional warfare without any humanitarian restraint or rules”.

The United States Department of Defence defines terrorism as “the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear to coerce or intimidate governments or societies in pursuit of goals that are general, religious, political or ideological”

The above definitions have three key elements- violence, fear and intimidation and each produces terror in its victims. Putting it differently, we can say that violence, fear and intimidation are three fundamental elements of the offence of terrorism.

In the Nigeria’s case, Boko Haram coupled with the latest activities of the Niger Delter Avengers has become the main and prominent terrorist group that are causing political, social, economic and educational upheavals. These activities seem to be increasing on daily basis and the extent it has gotten into has become unimaginable. Indeed, these situations need to be handled with kid gloves.

Tracing to history of terrorism, it comes from a French word “terrorisme” and originally referred to state terrorism as practical by the French government during the Reign of Terror. Going further to look at types of terrorism we can say that we have the following as types of terrorism. Civil Disorder: collective violence interfering with the peace, security and the normal functioning of the community, Political Terrorism, Non Political Terrorism, Quasi Terrorism, Limited Political Terrorism, Official or State Terrorism.

Nigerian Statues against Terrorism
Criminal and Penal Codes: the Criminal code applies to the Southern part of Nigeria while the Penal code applies to the Northern part of Nigeria. The Criminal code and the Penal code have no legislations targeted at curbing terrorisms. The criminal code is over a hundred and fifty years old thus it is not surprising that in the entire criminal code, nowhere is terrorism mentioned, neither was it defined in any of the codes. Thus it will not be a proper legal instrument to combat terrorism. Despite the above mentioned defects, it would be an unfair to say that there is no offence related to terrorism as prohibited by the code. Section 37 of Criminal Code provides that “Any person who levies war against the state, in order to intimidate or overawe the President or the Governor of the State is guilty of treason and is liable to the punishment of death”.

Section 37(2) Of the Criminal Code also provides to the effect that any person who conspires with a person being a Nigerian or Non Nigerian to cause war would be treason if committed and is liable to the punishment of death. The above provision captures act carried out by insurgent groups in Nigeria. No better explanation could be given to this act of Boko Haram and militancy in Nigeria turn of the above provision of the act.

Alhaji Majakid Asari-Dokubu was charged under the above provision in court with fine court charges of conspiracy, treasonable felony, forming managing and assisting in managing an unlawful society, publishing of false statement and being a member of an unlawful society.

Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2013
The Act was established by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when the threat to security was on the increase and every effort of the security agencies was not yielding the desired result. The Act provide measures for the prevention, prohibition and combating of acts of terrorism, the financing of terrorism in Nigeria and for the effective implementation of the prevention and combating terrorism, presenting penalties for violating any of its provisions. The Act has made provisions for various ways the act of terrorism could likely be committed and their punishment thereto.

Having examined the ways in which the terrorists’ acts have violated the laws of Nigeria, seeing how terrorism can be identified and their punishment, it is important to see whether “Terrorism is only a Criminal Act and no early action can be maintained from it”. In addressing the issue proper, it is proper to see the current position of the law on the concept of ubi jus ibi remedium meaning that “where there is a right, there is always a remedy”. From the principle, once an individual can establish that the unlawful, intentional act of the defendant caused damage to him, an action will be maintained. It therefore means that a civil action can be maintained and damages claimed from the act of terrorism. As the State is prosecuting the terrorist criminally, an individual at the same time can maintain an action against the accused under the tort (civil wrong).

The principle of ubi jus ibi remedium was applied in the case of Bello & others v Attorney general of Oyo state Government In that case, one Nasira Bello was prematurely executed by Oyo state Government while his appeal against his conviction for armed robbery at the court of appeal. Although it was a case without a precedent, the Supreme Court unanimously allowing the appeal held that the premature execution of the deceased by the Oyo state Government was not only unconstitutional but also both illegal and unlawful and that by it the deceased lost his right to life and his right to prosecute his appeal. Also his dependants were unjustly deprived of their breadwinner. This position in the above cases has been upheld in other cases in recent times.

In the same vein, if an individual can file a suit based on reasonable grounds: breach of fundamental rights, like freedom of association, movement and freedom of worship, he may succeed in action under tort against terrorist. This concept of ubi jus ibi remedium is prevailing and can help citizens seek proper redress in court. If properties like automobiles, houses and establishments were lost. As a result of the terrorist act, damages can be claimed from it if the terrorists can be reached to serve them notice.

Another important question now arises, what civil remedies are available against terrorism? The remedies are normally provided by the federal courts, yet the federal civil judicial remedies currently available against terrorism remains relatively few in number. Looking beyond the courts and thinking imaginatively, however, the no forcible, non-criminal remedies available to combat terrorism span a far broader range than one might assume. The array of possible civil antiterrorist run to gamut from those remedies directed primarily against terrorist individuals and groups to those intended primarily to sanction their supporters. Immigration measures and curtailment travel rights are prime example of non-forcible and noncriminal actions targeted against individual terrorist.

Having said all this, public attention nevertheless returns almost invariably to the judicial remedy as the civil remedy best adapted not only to the making terrorist pay in general sense, but also to making them literary pay up in the specific sense of compensating the victims of their acts whether compensation is in fact likely or possible however depends on the extent of the legal obstacles to the civil recovery, the other issue dominating how it can be realized.

In some cases, the government may be jointly sued in order to get the required damages.

The judges also reduce the obstacle of civil relief in terrorist cases caused by creating judicial exceptions to existing obstacles to civil recovery whenever terrorist acts are alleged this becoming a punitive for offenders and serving as a deterrent for others. In any case, if litigation is brought before the court, prove actual damages with evidence, damages can be claimed from terrorism.

To draw the curtain, we have been able to show the various definitions of terrorism, the brief history activities effects of terrorism in our dear country and the world at large. It has also show that the prevailing concept of ubi jus ibi remedium has provided the basis and ground for civil actions being maintained in terrorism.

Edikan Ekanem is a student of University of Uyo, a writer, a columnist, a literal observer, an analyst and remains politically neutral. He can be reached at: 08130015006, [email protected] .

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Edikan Ekanem and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."