Why terrorism, violent crimes thrive

President Muhammadu Buhari’s speeches both at the United Nations summit in Paris on climate change; and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta, dwelt much on the causes of violent crimes and terrorism, which are major problems confronting Nigeria.
People gather in tribute to the victims of the attacks in Paris on November 14, 2015 in Nantes, western France. Islamic State jihadists claimed a series of coordinated attacks by gunmen and suicide bombers in Paris that killed at least 128 people in scenes of carnage at a concert hall, restaurants and the national stadium. AFP PHOTO / JEAN-SEBASTIEN EVRARD

People gather in tribute to the victims of the attacks in Paris on November 14, 2015 in Nantes, western France. File Photo:

While in Paris, he drew attention to the rapidly drying Lake Chad and the consequential displacement and impoverishment of over five million people as a major factor behind the rise of Boko Haram Islamist terrorism. In Malta, he argued: “The reign of terror will only succeed if peace-loving people choose to remain idle. But I am confident that through our collective efforts, we will defeat this scourge and restore peace”.

As a nation in the eyes of these twin storms, it is important that our leaders remain mindful of factors leading otherwise peaceful and law-abiding people to suddenly become violent. It is a sociological challenge which requires a scientific mindset for solutions.

Apart from natural causes such as the type confronting the Lake Chad basin,it is important to accept the fact that desperation and injustice are the main causes of violent crimes and civil disobedience.

It is a trite sociological fact that when people feel alienated, they first complain, and when this falls on deaf ears, a violent challenge of the status quo could follow. The feeling of oppression and injustice has been the major factor behind most of the violence in Nigeria over time.

From the civil war to the June 12 struggle, from the Niger Delta militancy to the ongoing agitation for Biafra, from the numerous communal conflicts nationwide to the Boko Haram insurgency, injustice and a corrupt, oppressive system are both the remote and immediate causes.

The greatest antidote to the social ferment that regularly assails Nigeria is to create a system in which all Nigerians will be proud to belong and call their motherland. That collective feeling alone has the power to tackle all other social problems, including the much vexed issue of corruption in the system. Even the Boko Haram Islamists found a fertile ground for their evil ideology because they were able to draw large numbers of recruits from a mass of people disgruntled with a system that does not care about the welfare of the common people.

With the support of all Nigerians, Nigeria can defeat violent crimes and terrorism, but not just through the force of arms alon. The Federal government must address this growing feeling that this government is favouring a section of the country more than the others in the appointment of people to vital government offices.

The president must ensure that goodies of governance are felt equitably by all sections of Nigeria.

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