Averting Conflict, Insurgency And Militancy

by Carl Collins Ogunshola Oshodi

The nation’s security strategy and defense doctrine now recognize a broader range of threats not only to the national security in general, but to the homeland in particular. Today’s corporate security strategies must be all-encompassing, as much policy- and process-driven as they are technology-dependent. Organizations need to take a higher-level approach to protecting their critical infrastructure and assets in order to reduce their potential vulnerability to new and more aggressive threats, and ensure adherence to compliance mandates.

Like all other terrorist movements, Militancy and religious extremism will end. While it has traits that exploit and reflect the current national context, it is not utterly without precedent: some aspects of militancy in the south-south geopolitical zones, and the religious extremism are unusual, but many are not. Militant groups end according to recognizable patterns that have persisted for centuries, and they reflect, among other factors, the counter-terrorist policies taken against them. It makes sense to formulate those policies with a specific image of an end in mind.

Understanding how Militancy and Religious extremism ends is the best way to avoid being manipulated by the tactic. There is vast historical experience with the decline and ending of militant campaigns in Niger Delta, and religious extremism in the North, yet few of our policymakers and leaders are familiar with it. This Proposal is, in exclusive, of the right preparedness with our national unity, and the services rendered, first explains the typical strategies of militancy/religious extremism and why Nigerian thinkers and leaders fail to grasp them. It then describes historical patterns in ending militancy, insurgency and extremism to suggest how insights from that history can lay a foundation for more effective counter-strategies. Finally, it extracts policy prescriptions specifically relevant to ending the campaign of the above anti-government activities and its associates, moving towards a post Amnesty initiatives.

Protracted crisis situations are a critical and growing element in continuing conflict and instability, especially in the northern and southern parts of Nigeria. Such situations can result in direct security concerns, including the presence of armed elements within the aggrieved and marginalized community population and the spill-over of conflict across borders, and indirect security concerns, as tensions rise between local populations and vast national responsibilities over the allocation of scarce resources. The marginalized and impoverished, environmentally degraded, and economically battered Niger Deltans constitute two of the most challenging protracted economic, political and social situations in Nigeria.
The overall response to protracted crisis situations remains fragmented, compartmentalized and ineffective. What is required is a new policy agenda that extends beyond conventional boundaries and seeks to integrate the resolution of chronic and recurring regional community problems with economic development and security issues.


National terrorism, which takes the turn of Militancy and religious extremism in policy problem, poses a major challenge to our national security. The amnesty initiative of the federal, and the proposed De-Radicalization Programme; these collectively assesses the current threats and threat perceptions, the wide array of state and non-state actors involved in conducting or supporting terrorism, militancy, internal insurgent network and religious extremist punctuations, analyses how individuals get involved in extremist terrorism, and, ultimately, how members of the national leadership community can align strategies and foster effective cooperation to help counter insurgencies and crisis of any kind.

An institute with a detailed curriculum is currently being designed by our pool of professionals and experts with seasoned cumulative experiences of more than 180 years, on a minimum of 20yrs individual experiences in the law enforcement, military and non-military expertise.

Within this area, the Institute will undertake its work under three broad topics:


Understanding the radicalizing processes is a central element in countering the root causes of Militancy, Extremism and Insurgency. With support from a number of different sources and building on longstanding international connections, with eco-community, the nation will have to redefine her focus in particular on radicalization in hot crisis zones.


The practical aspects of countering terrorist activity, including analysis of terrorist use of the internet, and helping the business sector to think through approaches to how to counter the terrorist threat are also key to our role. Other projects in development include examinations of the uses of technology to counter terrorism, analyzing the extent of the defense threat, and exploring the overlap between counterinsurgency thinking and equipment and counter-terrorism.


The story of Militancy’s reconstitution in the South-South has been repeatedly told, what has been less examined is Militant and Extremist’s new strategic plan. Where do insurgent strategists stand with regard to the recent Jos crisis and Niger Delta question? What is the thinking behind regional alliances, and to what degree are they controlled by a central command? Who are the driving ideologues, and to what degree have strategic thinkers like Asari, Oronto, and MEND etc made an impact on strategic planning and thinking? Our alliance with the federal government under the NIA, NMI, SSS and other government sponsored agencies will be to develop a project on internal Insurgent’s strategy to offer policymakers and academics alike some sound basic assumptions upon which to build future planning to counter the threat.


In conjunction with our partners’ of USA, and as part of their 360 Project, we recently undertook a series of reports examining, on what the private sector can do to mitigate the threat of terrorist threat directly, as well as what role it can play in helping society more generally to counter the threat. As well as participating in workshops hosted by partners in the US on its major recurring threat level; which we have offered as part of our services to government and non-government agencies:


In February 2010, our partner led a delegation of European counter-terrorism and technology experts on a trip to Japan to a workshop and series of meetings hosted by the Japanese Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (RISTEX). The delegation participated in a high level day-long workshop with Japanese experts looking at some of the technological countermeasures Japan has been developing, as well as examining some of the lessons learned from Japanese experiences with regard to bio and chemical terrorist attacks. Finally, the group met experts to compare approaches to crisis management capability.


In one of our recent international conference on Counter-terrorism, and strategic security we discussed issues from home-grown terrorism to jihadist paraphelia, and some of the other issues that were discussed pointed on the introduction of the Seven-Stage Hate Model (SHM). The SHM is a predictive tool that tracks hate groups from inception to full maturity. A hate group, if unimpeded, passes through seven successive stages. In the first four stages, hate groups vocalize their beliefs and in the last three stages, they act on their beliefs.

A transition period exists between verbal violence and acting that violence out, our function as trained intelligent experts in collaboration with our services and trainin

g programme is to track and avert occurring tendencies of these hate groups. Prior to the groups transition to acting out violence interdiction has the greatest probability of success.

Our integral researched Seven-Stage Hate Model can be used to predict violence before it occurs. Observers can track individuals and groups as they pass through each of the seven stages and develop intervention strategies before violence occurs. This Model is universal and extends to terrorist groups. It explains why people willingly detonate suicide bombs and what motivates people to become terrorists, militants, religious extremist and suicide bombers.

This expert services provides tools for predicting violence and provides intervention and interdiction techniques to prevent violence. The Group Immersion Dynamic and the Personal Pronoun Index determine commitment of terrorists and provide techniques to interview terrorists with a full range of commitment from sympathizer to jihadist.

This services and training programme provides practical tools to interview terrorists. The Group Immersion Model determines the level of indoctrination of group members. The service ranges to either foster internal strategic security, or while our training services mainly for senior management staffs will learn how to identify which terrorists are more likely to talk to investigators or intercepted during one of their heinous operations.

The jihadist ostensible definition does not have to do with punctuation of Islamic mobilization, and crisis effectiveness through an issue of Islamic nomenclatures; yet it is the perfect use of discussant ideologies in explaining crisis of its adverse nature. Giving credence to Jihadist nomenclature does not mean that Muslims are singularly involved in this violence punctuation, however from the gross definition; it is an effective paraphelia towards instigating sympathy and enclave of radicalization process of Hate group; ranging from militant emasculation and fundamentalist syndic network.

The Seven-Stage Hate Model can predict acts of violence by militant and hate groups as well as workplace and school violence. It has been successfully used to predict and prevent violent terrorist acts in the United States, and such can be replicated in Nigerian environment with the right resources and manpower put in place.


As Nigeria moves into the twenty-first century, answering the question “what is the threat to Nigerian internal security management?” which include private business establishments, such as multinational oil companies, Banks presents a very complex problem for the Nigerian Military Intelligence and SSS. The attacks of several groups, Boko Haram religious sect of the north, and militant activity in the South were not only a wake-up call, alerting the Nigerian government to a more dangerous world; they also triggered an immediate re-thinking of responses to Militant operations and religious/political violence.

The impressions of the recent religious violent in Jos, and Militant bomb scares, bombardments, and sabotaging of multinational oil companies’ facilities, have changed the strategic security environment. This strategic uncertainty has also muddied the nation’s threat assessment by painting groups like Boko Haram, misdirected militant groups as both trans-national “national security threats” and as groups of terrorist criminals who could be “brought to justice.” In expressing the variety of threats facing Nigeria, the current National Strategy for averting security threats by focusing on terrorism, Religious extremism and militancy in Nigeria

In my view of the current political trends, Terrorism of its international nature will soon be prevalent in our own soul. But currently studies also indicates have involved Nigerians citizens or foreigners, acting in concert with others, on their own, or on behalf of a hostile state have perpetuated the worst form of barbarity and treason against the Nigerian state through any of the following act of terrorism, militancy, espionage conducts and religious extremism .” Statements like this define three main types of threats facing Nigeria today: a continuation of conventional military threats from hostile nation-states, such as border issues; traditional asymmetric threats from hostile states and state-sponsored political groups; and a new trans-national terrorist threat from ideological enemies.

In assessing these diverse threats, Nigeria is confronted with a spectrum of threats ranging from traditional national security threats (Militant invasion, religious violence, sectarian motivations) to law enforcement threats (e.g. drug smuggling). Conceptually, this threat-environment mosaic is not a clear matrix of hostile states and non-state groups, but rather a threat “spectrum” – a range of hostile challenges from what Nigerians consider “war” to what most label as “crime”. This is a conceptual spectrum with clear definitions at both ends and less clarity in the middle, where the two ends blend together. At one end of the nation’s threat spectrum are types of threats that are clearly military in nature and are just as clearly NMI’s responsibility, such as external defense, and border cohesion. These are traditional threats utilizing military capabilities from hostile and potentially hostile nation states. Examples include conventional military power and transnational border threats from “rogue states” and strategic threats from other nation states.

These threats are not new – they are well understood, with clear responsibilities within the federal government. Just as clear to the federal government, and the Nigerian citizens, is the opposite end of the threat spectrum where threats are considered criminal in nature, perpetuated by highly place individuals and syndicates and politicians for collective and directed gain. These hostile actors include national criminal rings and narco-militants and Islamic extremist in the north whose missions, motivations, and methods are criminal in nature rather than political or ideological.

The Nigerian law enforcement responsibilities for these types of threats are clear. The most dangerous of these groups, the narco-militant and narco-religious extremism, are criminal in nature and there is normally no direct military involvement other than traditional military assistance and counter-drug support with the help of the NDLA. On the periphery of this end of the spectrum are more domestic terrorist groups, also dealt with as law enforcement concerns; the Nigerian Militant Intelligence (NMI) has little responsibility for these threats, except in the extreme and remote case of fighting insurrection against the government, as was declared in 2001 by Asari Dokubor, MOSOP declaration 1993, and the Kaiama Declaration of 1999, Jos unrest of 1997, 2000, 2010. Even declarations of a “war on money laundering” by the EFCC have not changed the dynamic of who in the federal government, whether the policy, and other law enforcement agencies are charged with countering these criminal acts, as evidenced by what happens when members of criminal drug cartels are captured, tried in a court of law, and imprisoned by Nigeria government and law enforcement.

In the middle is a “seam” of ambiguity, where threats are neither clearly national security threats (requiring a military [NMI] response capability) nor clearly law enforcement threats (requiring a non-military response capability from the Nigerian Police Force [NPF]. Along this “seam” are threats such as transnational terrorist groups who challenge the delineation of responsibility between NMI, NPF and/or other government law enforcement agencies, because it is difficult to label them as either a national security threat or a law enforcement threat. Determining whether a particular adversary is one or the other will depend on the circumstances at the time and who is most capable to lead the nation’s efforts. Because of the nature of this spectrum, a coordinated, integrated

, and coherent national effort is essential in securing the Nigerian Homeland Security against all threats.


In addition to the already cited instances and drawing from these experiences, I will highlight the diversity of ways in which civil society groups can contribute and in many ways are already contributing to global, regional, and national efforts to combat terrorism and other forms of violent extremism; and some of the challenges they face in trying to engage in an area that is still too often seen by governments as the exclusive domain of states, in particular their security services. I will close with a few recommendations, at least some of which I hope can be taken up by the SENATE committee on Amnesty, National Security and/or its individual members at some point in the future.


First, however, it is important to make clear what is meant by “civil society.” Although commonly associated primarily with NGOs and charities, civil society in fact consists of a range of voluntary associations including political parties, trade unions and professional bodies, private foundations, educational and research institutions and think tanks, religious, faith based, and community based organizations, and women’s, human rights, social and environmental groups.


A vibrant civil society can play a strategic role in protecting local communities, countering extremist ideologies, and dealing with political violence. Civil society gives a voice to different social groups and causes, which provides a channel of expression for the marginalized and can promote a culture of tolerance and pluralism. On a more practical level, civil society groups can play a significant role in building local support for counterterrorism through education, lobbying government authorities to adopt a holistic response that respects human rights, monitoring implementation of counterterrorism measures, investigating and publicizing abuses committed in the name of fighting terrorism, giving assistance and support to victims, promoting the importance of peace and security, and providing capacity building training.

Further, civil society can play a critical role in helping states increase awareness of the threat and the impact of an attack on local communities, and in deepening public support for government action to address it, which is an essential component of any effective long term strategy. Finally, victims groups can make important contributions by condemning and putting a human face on terrorism and raising awareness of its human costs, much like they have done in successful ongoing campaigns against small arms and light weapons and explosives.

More concretely, and drawing from the Center’s extensive work in Africa, allow me to give some examples of the work that CSOs are doing, more often than not without the “counterterrorism” label, that are nevertheless contributing to efforts on the continent to combat and prevent militancy/religious extremism, generally focusing on the what the UN Strategy refers to as the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism as expressed in our national threat pattern.

With lessons learnt from the following agencies, I believe simplistic units in Nigeria can be replicated in preventing the scourge of violent and anti-government activities and operations. It also has to do with empowering vulnerable communities to have a voice and a stake in their central government and the wider societies of which they are a part can help to inoculate these communities against violent radicalization.

The Consortium for the Empowerment and Development of Marginalized Communities is working in marginalized areas in Kenya, often along borders, which are poorly developed, have limited infrastructure and are cut off from the central government. Its work focuses on civic education, good governance, and democracy advocacy, as it seeks to empower these communities to engage with the national authorities using non violent means.

Through a combination of research, technical assistance, and training activities, the Pretoria based Institute for Security Studies’ International Crime in Africa Program is providing a broad range of counterterrorism related support to a number of African countries and sub regional bodies. This work includes research support on terrorism trends and threats, tailored counterterrorism training for law enforcement and criminal justice officials, and the development of technical assistance and training tools.

The Africa Center for Constructive Resolution of Disputes, which is based in South Africa, but works continent wide, has trained some 15,000 people across Africa in conflict management and conflict resolution, focusing on the government, the public service, business, military, police, and civil society.

The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), which is a coordinating mechanism for the increasing number of CSOs – more than 450 and counting – involved in peacebuilding activities (e.g., conflict prevention, early warning and response, capacity building, conflict intervention, and non violence education) in West Africa. As the UN Global Counter Terrorism
Strategy notes, prolonged unresolved conflicts are one of the chief conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism. Civil society, particularly in areas such as West Africa, has played a critical role in ending conflict and consolidating peace.

And finally, on the human rights front, the Muslim Human Rights Forum, and other Kenyan civil society groups, for example, have been instrumental in drawing attention to extrajudicial activity such as arbitrary detention and rendition particularly of individuals captured along the Somali border. These groups have also been very effective in preventing the adoption of draft counterterrorism, and more recently anti money laundering, legislation, which they claim target
Muslims, give the government overly broad powers, and increase the potential for human rights abuses. The latter being as much an example of the power of civil society and the perils of not getting civil society buy in as it is of the challenges, particularly in Kenya and other areas of Africa, of getting civil society to acknowledge the legitimacy of the threat and to engage constructively on the issue.


Despite the contributions they are capable of making, civil society groups in many countries lack the capacity, resources, and expertise to engage on counterterrorism issues, while in others, because of lack of political space and measures restricting civil society, CSOs simply do not have the freedom to engage.

This ability of civil society to engage is largely tied to basic standards of freedom of information, freedom of association, and freedom to seek funding, which states have an obligation to ensure. The inclination of some governments to view counterterrorism as exclusively a government responsibility and the related “over sensitivity on the part of security forces and their tendency to consider everything relating to terrorism as top secret” has significantly limited the information flow to civil society, thus inhibiting their ability to gain a full picture of the threats facing and vulnerabilities.

In some instances, counterterrorism has been used as a pretense to crack down on civil society and political opposition. A number of governments have adopted overly expansive counterterrorism legislation and used it to clamp down on freedom of association, speech, and assembly. The lack of a common definition of terrorism consistent with international human rights standards has made it easier for governments to act this way. More common, however, are more subtle forms of state interference including overly restrictive or arbitrarily applied regulations and restri

ctions on civil society.

With detailed already done, it is indicated that some countries have implemented or are proposing onerous restrictions on CSO financing, such as Ethiopia, which in January 2009 passed legislation that limits foreign funding for groups working on human rights and good governance to no more than 10 percent. Even where states provide CSOs the necessary space and may be willing to engage, CSOs may be reluctant to do so, the purpose of this white paper report is to assure the FGN that CSO are the right agent that can reduce an act of terrorism, and stabilize the political, and socio-economic system, that is close to the a near narco-government and anti-peopled policies.

As I suggested earlier, many groups are cautious about associating with governments on an issue which in many domestic contexts is politically sensitive or perceived as an externally imposed priority. In fact, there may be little incentive for civil society groups operating in some countries to engage on issues of terrorism and counterterrorism, as doing so may open up those groups to retaliation by governments and/or potentially undermine their support and credibility among local populations particularly among vulnerable and marginalized groups. As a result, many civil society actors have found it more fruitful to engage on related issues such as crime prevention, good governance, or peace and security more generally than under the rubric of terrorism and counterterrorism.


The adoption of the UN Strategy and the more recent shift away from the “Global War on Terror” rhetoric, however, could help to change this dynamic. With the Strategy’s emphasis on addressing underlying social, political, and economic issues that give rise to terrorism, issues which CSOs have traditionally been actively involved in, and explicit recognition that civil society has a role to play in its implementation, the 2006 UN framework provides civil society with a unique opportunity to engage on a range of security issues from which they have too often been excluded and gives political cover and support to CSOs working on more politically sensitive issues of counterterrorism that have historically been the exclusive domain of states.

Perhaps equally significantly, however, the Strategy offers the United Nations the opportunity to find ways to highlight the indispensable role that CSOs can play and in some cases are playing in the global effort to combat and prevent terrorism and involve these groups in the various UN counterterrorism and broader UN Strategy related initiatives. To date, most of the focus of the UN in this area has been in ensuring that countries have the necessary safeguards in place to ensure that Islamic charities and other NGOs are not being used as conduits for terrorist financing.

The Strategy offers the United Nations and interested member states the framework in which to highlight the importance of creating the necessary political space at the national level to allow for enhanced citizen participation in the discourse surrounding effective responses to the terrorist threat, and more broadly, in efforts to counter terrorism.

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