Terrorism in Nigeria Essay
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Nigeria is a country in the West of Africa with an interesting population of over 160 million people. A British Colony, Nigeria was hitherto peaceful and seen as key to African development and interests. Such has been the opposite of the true state of the supposed Giant of Africa since gaining independence in 1960 and declaring a Republic in 1961. After years of Military Dictatorship and coups left the country under-developed for much of her early post-independent years, Democracy was returned to the Oil rich Nation.
The country divided across religious and ethic lines with the North dominated by Muslims, and the South by Christians. The country’s major trade partners include the USA and UK. The early independent kingdoms and states that make the present day British colonized Nigeria are;
i. Benin Kingdom
ii. Borgu Kingdom
iii. Fulani Empire
iv. Hausa Kingdoms
v. Kanem Bornu Empire
vi. Kwararafa Kingdom
vii. Ibibio Kingdom
viii. Nri Kingdom
ix. Nupe Kingdom
x. Oyo Kingdom
xi. Songhai Empire
xii. Warri Kingdom
The name Nigeria was suggested by a British Journalist Flora Shaw in the 1890s. She referred to the area as Nigeria, after the Niger River, which dominates much of the country’s landscape. The word Niger is Latin for black. Nigeria has over 250 ethnic groups, which the three major and internationally recognized are Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo. Other smaller groups include the Fulani, Ijaw, Kanuri, Ibibio, Tiv, and Edo. Prior to their conquest by Europeans, these ethnic groups had separate and independent histories; hence their amalgamation was a construct of their European Colonizers. That singular act of amalgamation has proved costly year after year as communal, religious, and ethnic clashes characterize the present-day Nigeria. With porous borders on the West to Benin, North to Niger and Chad, and on the East to Cameroun, clashes often than not spiral out of the shores of Nigeria to neighbouring countries.
Nigeria gained independence from Britain on 1st October, 1960 and following independence, vicious fighting between and among ethnic political parties created chaos within the fledging system. On the 15th of January, 1966, a group of army officers most of whom were Igbo staged a military coup, killing many of the government ministers from the Western and Northern tribes. Six months later, Northern forces within the military staged a countercoup killing most of the Igbo leaders. Note that Nigeria’s persistent ethnic rivalry is deep rooted and dates back to colonization. From Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in Northern Nigeria, to the Militants in the Niger Delta (Southern).
The Afenifere in Western Nigeria to MASSOP in the East, continuous calls for disintegration and de-amalgamation by the aforementioned groups underlines the many ethnic divide and challenges facing Nigeria since creation. The current sophisticated attack on government institutions by an Islamic extremists group popularly known as Boko Haram (Western Education is Sin – Islam) buttress the notion that agitations from these groups have long departed from mere campaigns and media sponsored attacks. Suicide bombing that once was alien to Nigeria now characterize an already tensed and over-stretched system.
Nigeria’s quest to quell all form of ethnic aggression and divide will most undoubtedly succeed if the Government looked into the origin and distinctions of the diversities rather than combating a generational dissent.