December 7, 2014
The ongoing insurgency in Nigeria’s North-East, led by the fundamentalist group Boko Haram, has prompted various efforts by the government and stakeholders to combat the menace. Despite implementing several measures, terrorism continues to thrive, indicating the need for a comprehensive and localized approach.
One of the reasons for the escalation of the crisis is the initial slow response and lack of strategic thinking in addressing the conflict at its early stages. While some confrontational strategies have been employed, they have shown limited success and sometimes resulted in unintended collateral damage.
Countries like the US and Israel have used confrontational methods to combat terrorism, but these approaches have not led to decisive victories. Nigeria lacks the resources and patience for such prolonged conflicts and must find an alternative solution.
A more effective approach would involve a deeper understanding of the root causes and dynamics of the conflict. By engaging in dialogue with all stakeholders, including the aggrieved parties, Nigeria can address the core issues driving the insurgency.
The recent setting up of a Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution on Security Challenges in the North is a step in the right direction. To ensure transparency and effectiveness, the government should involve experienced peace practitioners and representatives from various segments of society.
A multi-track approach, drawing expertise from diverse backgrounds, will contribute to a comprehensive and lasting resolution. The current committee overseeing negotiations may need reconstitution to include more seasoned individuals.
Forceful measures can provide temporary relief, but a negotiated settlement is the key to extinguishing the violence that plagues the country. By prioritizing dialogue and genuine engagement, Nigeria can pave the way for a brighter future, free from the darkness of terrorism.
The successful implementation of a homegrown strategy will allow Nigeria to resume its nation-building process and foster a more peaceful and united nation. With sincere efforts and a commitment to lasting peace, Nigeria can overcome its current challenges and emerge stronger. God save Nigeria.
Founder/Executive Director, CPPBI