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IFRA Special Research Issue Vol. 1

Terrorism: what is to be done about an emerging threat to democracy, good governance, development, and security of nations in the 21st century?

Osisioma Nwolise


The ugly phenomenon of terrorism has a long history, it hit the world like a thunderstorm in the 1970s, especially with the 1972 Black Septembist kidnapping of Jewish athletes during the Munich Olympic, and the plane hijacking that led to the Israeli raid on Entebbe airport in 1976 to free Jewish hostages, however, it was the September 11, 2001 attacks by suicide bombers against the United States that transformed terrorism into a new kind of warfare: they hijacked three separate civil aircraft and turned them into instruments of mass destruction by crashing them into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, the July 7, 2005 multiple bombing of London confirms to a great extent this new thinking of about terrorism.
In this article, Dr. Nwolise examines the terrorist phenomenon, providing a useful theoretical insight for understanding the concept in its various forms, including the politics surrounding the interpretation of the concept – what he refers to as the politics of nomenclature, the article perceives post-September 11 terrorism as a new kind of warfare, and a deadly threat to democracy, good governance, national development, and international peace and security.
In addition to its informative exploration of the goals and consequences of terrorism, the paper presents a new timely and interesting insight into how corporate organizations can manage and combat terrorism, the data on the evolution of terrorism in Nigeria since the 1960s show that the phenomenon is not new in Nigeria, but, in the words of the author, has only graduated to a professional crescendo in contemporary times, they will be very useful for researchers interested in the evolution of terrorism in Nigeria.

Note de l’auteur

Note portant sur l’auteur1

Texte intégral


  • 1 O.B.C Nwolise. “Organised Terrorism and National Sovereignt” (A. B.Sc. Thesiss, submitted to the De (...)

1Terrorism, which had not been a serious phenomenon in Africa1 (see Table 1), in 1998 became one of the criminal phenomena that threaten national and international security in the continent, the August 1998 bombings of the United States embassies in Dar es salam (Tanzania) and Nairobi (Kenya), in which over 16 Americans and 200 Africans were killed, once more stormed the psyche of humanity w ith vibrations of the devastating.capacities of terrorism, but it was the September 11, 2001 deliberate crashing oftwo planes into the towers of the World Trade Centre (New York) and of a third plane into the Pentagon, leading to the death or disappearance of over 6000 persons, that jolted and mobilized most of the world against terrorism, and exposed the phenomenon as a new kind of warfare, the London bombing of July 7 2005, confirms this new thinking.

2It was Paul Wilkinson who, in highlighting the urgency and necessity of more and serious studies on the subject, expressed concern over the issue of terrorism and wrote:

  • 2 Paul Wilkinson, Political Terrorism, London, Macmillan, 1974, p. 29.

“It is hardly necessary to draw attention to the contemporary relevance of the study of political terrorism, some indications of the scale of current concern to increase our knowledge of terrorism and how it might be contained is demonstrated by the intensive activity of governments, and national organizations in organizing study groups, conventions and inquiries into the subject”2.

  • 3 Alan O’ Day (ed), terroris’s Laboratory: Northern Ireland. London, Dartmouth Pub. Coy, 1994.
  • 4 Y. Alexander (ed), the Irish Terrorism Experience, London, 1991
  • 5 Y, Alexander, Middle-East Terrorism: Current Trends and Prospects. 1993.
  • 6 Alison Jamieson, Terrorism And Drug Trafficking m Europe in the 1990s, 1994
  • 7 Paul W ilkinson (ed), Terrorism: The British Perspectives, London, 1993.
  • 8 Martha Crenshaw (ed), Terrorism in Africa, 1993.
  • 9 Edward Moxon – Browne, European Terrorism. 1993.

3The fact that in the last three or four decades terrorism has not been an object of serious focus by mosf African governments unlike several of their European. Latin American and Asian counterparts, must be acknowledged here..I must add that part of the reason is the fact that many of these African governments sponsor use or apply terrorism, however, that terrorism has not received the attention due to it, in this part of the world, politically and intellectually, does not diminish the import of studying it, works by various scholars like Alan O Dav, terrorism s Laboratory: Northern Jreland;3 Alexander, the Irish Terrorism Experience4.and also Middle East Terrorism: Current Trends and Prospects;5 Alison Jamieson, Terrorism and Drug Trafficking in Europe in the 1990s;6 Wilkinson, terrorism: British Perspective7 Martha Crenshaw, terrorism in Africa;8 and Edward Moxon-Browne, european Terrorism9 all show that terrorism is a subject and phenomenon Nigeria and other African states must take more seriously, this assertion is reinforced by the devastating wave of terrorism which

4Nigeria experienced over the June 12 crisis (1993-1998) and by the barbarie September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States, and July 7, 2005 bombing of London.


  • 10 M, Sibley “The Limitations of Behaviouralism”, in J. Charlesworth (ed), Contemporary Political Anal (...)

5The task of this paper is to x-ray the phenomenon of terrorism, highlighting, among others, conceptual discourses on the subject, the different types of terrorism, its nature, uses or goals, and consequences, this study also illuminates, through some case studies, the empirical dimensions of terrorism as experienced at various times in different countries. Measures which can be applied to counter and manage the terrorist phenomenon, as well as the relevance of the phenomenon to Nigeria and her armed forces, are also examined10.


6Research, it is often said, “arises when there are problems to solve”, terrorism, which some may argue is at times desirable, is a very big problem facing mankind today, this calls for serious research, thinking, and study in order to find ways of eliminating it or at least minimizing its frequency and devastating impact.

7This paper hopes to generate ideas and debate that will illuminate some path-ways for solving the problems posed by terrorism, as Arnold Kaufman rightly wrote:

  • 11 A. Kaufman, cited in J. Charlesworth, ibid.

“The Political Philosopher should provide those who make policy with principles which will aid them in the attempt to cope with specific socio-political problems.”11

8There is no doubt that the phenomenon of terrorism will increase with increasing contemporary struggles over issues of justice, democracy, public accountability, national resources distribution, and power sharing ethnie tolerance, religious tolerance and so on, extremists or dissidents, especially those with suicide tendencies, as well as patriots who can no longer bear the retrogression of their country in the midst of plenty, can always emerge to form terrorist groups that will terrorise citizens or government officiais, again, “demons” can always appear as rulers and use the instruments of coercion to terrorise and bamboozle their citizens into obedience and submission, as General Abacha did in Nigeria between 1993 and 1998.

9World politics is fast coming under the yoke of terrorism today: terrorists tend or attempt to force governments to reverse their decisions, avoid taking any decisions over some crucial issues, orto make decisions they would not normally make, also, nobody is safe, and terrorists can strike at any time, targeting children, women, heads of state, travellers and installations, in 1993, for example, a Nigerian plane was hijacked to Niger Republic following the June 12 crisis, the Niger-Delta is fast becoming a zone of terror, and the symbols of the Talliban are showing them-selves in Borno State. Yet, there exists a pool of millions of hungry and angry unemployed youths in this country, from which terrorists can be recruited easily, these make it necessary and urgent for Nigerians to begin to think and plan seriously’about terrorism, the people have been enlightened and mobilize; and the military, security and intelligence force trained and equipped adequately to meet the new challenges of terrorism.

Table 1: International terrorist operations by regions for the period

Table 1: International terrorist operations by regions for the period1993-1998

Source: Patterns of Global Terrorism, 1998


10To enhance understanding and appreciation of this presentation, I deem it necessary to define and discuss relevant concepts like terror, terrorism, and violence, and I also examine some of the rationale behind the value-laden nature of some of the concepts.


  • 12 Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, p. 1042.

11In every day usage, “terror” simply means “great fear”, something or someone that causes great fear12 Hugo Reading, in A Dictionary of the Social Sciences, conceptualizes terror as:

  • 13 M. Reading, A. Dictionary of the Social Sciences, London, Routledge and Paul, 1976.

“Tyranny characterized by failure of obedience to guarantee safety and the infliction of arbitrary punishment to create fear and paralyse resistance.”13

  • 14 Paul Wilkinson. (1974), Op Cit., p. 9.

12Paul Wilkinson, on a more intellectual platform, asserts that in its most important and general sense, the term terror signifies a psychic state of great fear or dread”14 The term, he went on, also denotes the action or quality of causing dread, and great fear, terror, he informs us, comes from the Latin verb terrere, which means “to cause to tremble”, while deterrence comes from the Latin word deterrere meaning “to frighten from”.

13There are some things that can generate terror in human beings, apart from the actions of man, these include:

  1. Death, which frightens hell out of people.

  2. Natural catastrophes like volcanic eruptions, tsunamis (tidal waves), fire, flood; diseases like HIV/AIDS: hunger and starvation; attacks by wild animais like snakes and lions, etc.

  3. Spirits and ghosts.

  4. Magical processes.

  5. Accidents (road, air, sea).

14There are three major types of terror:

  1. Psychic terror: e.g., when a terrorist places a gun against a person’s forehead.

  2. Criminal terror: carried out by individuals who want to utilize blackmail or intimidation to enrich themselves.

  3. Political terror: Political terrorists can effect political murder in order to produce psychic terror.

15Features of political terror include:

  1. Indiscriminate action.

  2. Unpredictability of area or time of action, though on a few occasions some people get warned.

  3. Arbitrariness of operation – no observance of commands or laws of procedure generally

  4. Extreme and ruthless destructive methods – genocide, massacre, political murder, physical beating, harassment, and defamation campaign, rape, biochem agents utilization, etc.

  5. Preparation against possible resistance.

    • 15 Paul Wilkinson. (1974), ibid.

    Indifference to existing moral and humanitarian codes and considerations etc.15

  • 16 Hugo Reading, op. Ct., p. 217.
  • 17 Hugo Reading, ibid.
  • 18 For details on enforcement and agitations terror, See T. Thornton, “Terror as a Weapon of Political (...)

16One can also talk of defensive terror, repressive terror, enforcement terror, and agitational terror, defensive terror is the “systematic use of terrorization by groups in a population to defend the status quo or traditional rights.”16 Repressive terror is the “systematic use of terrorisation by a government or by rebels to eliminate rivais, coerce popular support, or maintain conformity within the rebel organisation.”17 Enforcement terror relates to repressive terror as the former is the terror launched by those in power, while agitational terror stands for the terroristic acts launched by those aspiring to power.18

On Terrorism

  • 19 Hugo Reading, Op Cit., E, Seligman (ed.).

17The Pitman Dictionary defines terrorism as “ruling by fear; intimidation”, hugo Reading’s Dictionary ofthe Social Sciences defines terrorism as “systematic violence aimed at undermining the authority structure through creating fear.”19

18Hardman, writing on “errorism” in the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, defines terrorism as:

  • 20 J. Hardman. “Terrorism”, in Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 14 New York. Macmillan 1937, pp. 5 (...)

“… the method or the theory behind the method whereby an organized group or party seeks to achieve its avowed aims chiefly through the systematic use of violence.”20

19From these definitions of terrorism, it becomes clear that two major phenomena stand out, these are; fear and violence, for this study, I will adopt an earlier definition of mine, which views terrorism as:

  • 21 O.B.C, Nwolise, Op. Cit., p. xiv.

“The threat or use of violence and terror for the achievement of a political, socio-economic or other expedient purpose against an individual or group of individuals, a thing or group of things, a state or group of states.”21

20Just as there are different types of terror, there are different types of terrorism based on different variables, for example, in terms of the objectives of terrorism, one can talk of political terrorism and criminal terrorism, terrorism can also be organized or un-organized. Using the source of the terroristic action, there can be state terrorism, group terrorism, or individual terrorism, on the spatial (geographical) of special scope, there can be national or international terrorism, there are also repressive terrorism, revolutionary terrorism and sub-revolutionary terrorism, some of these types of terrorism need to be elaborated upon.

Political Terrorism

21Political terrorism is explained by Wilkinson as:

  • 22 Paul Wilkinson, Op. Cit., p. 17.

“., a sustained policy involving the waging of organized terror either on the part of the state, a movement, or faction, or by a small group of individuals.”22

22Political terrorism is geared towards the achievement of political objectives and can be carried out by either a government (those in power), the opposition (those aspiring to be in power), a liberation movement or terrorist body.

Criminal Terrorism

  • 23 Paul Wilkinson, ibid.

23Criminal terrorism is regarded as “the systematic use of acts of terror for objectives of private material gains23, this type of terrorism is often carried out by an individual or a few individuals, and is geared towards personal enrichment or satisfaction, with no gains for the masses of the people and no bearing with the struggle for reforms, social justice, and human rights in the society.

Repressive Terrorism

24Wilkinson defines repressive terrorism as:

  • 24 Paul Wilkinson, ibid, p. 40.

“… the systematic use of terroristic acts of violence for the purposes of suppressing, putting down, quelling, or restraining certain groups, individuals, or forms of behaviour deemed to be undesirable by the repressor.”24

25The repressor here may be the state, its rulers, agents or a part or faction; and the repression may be directed against the whole population or a selected group or part of it, for example, state terror, police terror, colonial terror military terror (where the state uses the army as a terror tool), prison terror, slave terror, ideological terror, and counter-insurgency terror, all these are forms of repressive terrorism.

Revolutionary Terrorism

26Revolutionary terrorism is defined as the:

  • 25 Paul Wilkinson, ibid, p. 36.

“..resort to systematic tactics of terroristic violence with the objective of bringing about political revolution.”25

27The features of revolutionary terrorism include;

28Collective rather than individual action.

29The existence of a guiding revolutionary ideology or programme.

30The existence of leaders who mobilize people for terrorist activities.

31The creation of alternative institutional structures to those of government.

32The acquisition and use of weapons.

33The acquisition of competence in terrorist methods and skills.

34The secrecy of operational plans.

35Some degree of popular support.

36Organizations carrying out revolutionary terrorism may be those of pure terror such as national liberation movements, guerrilla groups, international terror groups, etc.

Sub-revolutionary Terrorism

  • 26 Paul Wilkinson, ibid. pp. 38-40.

37Sub-revolutionary terrorism is the terrorism employed for political motives other than the pursuit of revolutions or governmental repression, examples are attempts to force a government to introduce a greatly desired policy, law or programme; revenge or punishment or warning against specifie officiais, waging terror in a feud with rival groups, or retaliation against invasion of land, or cultural interference.26

State Terrorism

38A state can terrorize its own citizens, typical examples are the terrorization of Africans in South Africa in the days of apartheid and the Nigeria experience under the Abacha regime (1995 to May 1998), which virtually became a terror machine, bombing military buses, churches, stadia and assassinating political opponents, a state can also terrorize other sates, a good example is the American invasion of Panama during which the latter’s defence forces were humiliated and the Head of State, President Noriega was captured, tried in court and jailed in a foreign land ( the US.) at the instance of a foreign government which claims to be the champion of democracy in the world.

Violence and Political Violence

  • 27 Hugo Reading, Op. Cit., p. 228.
  • 28 Robert Wolff, On Violence, Journal of Philosophy. 66. 99, october 1976.
  • 29 Gerald Rankle. “Is Violence Always Wrong?” The Journal of Politics, Vol. 38, no. 2, May 1976.

39While Hugo Reading defines violence as “the application of injurious physical force to persons or property”,27 Robert Wolff sees violence, in a value-judgement sense, as the illegitimate and unauthorized use of force to effect decisions against the will or desires of others.28 To Wolff, violence is wrong; but he asserts that all actions that serve rights and justice are non-violent, while all forceful actions that do not serve rights and justice should be regarded as illegitimate violence, thus, when a government is unauthorized, any armed insurrection against that government will be regarded as non-violent. Gerald Runkle agrees with Wolff and states that: “A physical assault on a human being would be violent only if it were illegitiman”29This assertion is based on moral and legal grounds, but Edwin Maduna had warned that:

  • 30 Edwin Madunagu, The Philosophy of Violence, Basic Truth. 1976, p. 221.

“... since morality itself is a class concept, we see that there is no universal morality on which to judge violence.”30

  • 31 E. Madunagu, Ibid., p. 22.

40Writing on political violence, Madunagu asserted that violence “is termed political when it is used in defence of a political order or is directed against it.”31 He goes on to observe that political violence is:

  • 32 E. Madunagu Ibid, p. 22-23.

“… either revolutionary or reactionary depending on whether it is used in furtherance of the drive for progressive social change or is used in defence of or the restoration of a decadent social order.”32

41On the basis of this argument, the violence aimed at sacking colonial rulers in USA, and many African and third world states, or aimed at restoring the sanctity of the June 12 elections in Nigeria, or at dismantling the apartheid regime in South Africa, will be seen as revolutionary political violence, while the violence leashed out in defence of the status quo will be seen as reactionary.

Terrorism and Liberation Activities: The Politics Of Nomenclature

  • 33 See Hugo Reading, Op. Cit., p. 154.

42Politics has been variodsly defined as “the struggle for power”, “the authoritative allocation of values” (David Easton)33 and the process of determining who gets what, when and how much (Harold Laswell), we shall also bear in mind that politics, as I see it, is the struggle for the minds and resources of men and nations in the vast theatre of power acquisition and utilization in pursuit of certain goals, those who allow themselves to be deceived or defeated in the struggle lose their resources and grow lean, while those who deceived or defeated them gain resources and grow fat.

43In the heat of the cold war, western nations under the leadership of the US did ail they could to make the world believe that the liberation activities in Africa, especially in South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe were acts of terrorism, the African National Congress (ANC) in the then apartheid South Africa was labelled a terrorist organization, the Palestinen Liberation Organization (PLO), which is struggling for a homeland for the Palestinians, was also labeled a terrorist organization, nelson Mandela and (late) Yasser Arafat, who were then the organizations’ respective leaders, were labelled terrorists, the purpose was for the West to defend and promote their investments in the countries or regions concerned.

44At that time, of course, African countries. China and the defunct USSR refused to be deceived, and they recognized these anti-colonial and Anti-imperialist bodies as liberation movements, because under natural law and justice, the UN Charter, the OAU charter, international Law etc, the liberation fighters in Africa were pursuing a just cause – the right of self-determination, equal rights, and an end to minority and racist rule.

45It will be recalled that the UN at the time had decided that the liberation movements had no alternative method of pursuing their just and popular cause other than the use of forceful action, during the Sixth Legal Committee of the UN debate on terrorism in November 1972, the main index used in distinguishing liberation struggles from terrorism was whether the individual or organization using forceful actions and terror for political, economic or other purpose was isolated from the masses (terrorism) or was acting in the best interest of the masses (liberation struggle), over two-thirds of the countries represented at the debate agreed with the view of the Chinese government representative, pi Chi-Lung, who said:

  • 34 See “The Document of the Chinese Government Representatives Debate on International Terrorism in th (...)

“The Chinese Government is opposed to assassination and hijacking of individuals as a means for waging political struggles, and is also opposed to adventurist acts of terrorism by individuals or a handful of people divorced from the masses because they are detrimental to the interests of the cause of national liberation and people’s revolution.., in our opinion, despite the recent occurrence of some incidents of assassination and hijacking by a few people, we should neverallow imperialism, colonialism, and neo-colonialism, racism, and Zionism to use such incidents to vilify and suppress the national liberation movement and people’s revolutionary struggles.”34

  • 35 See Sunday Sketch, April 6 1986, p. 2.

46It will be recalled that even the conservative Vatican on April 5, 1986 acknowledged that armed struggle could be used as a last resort to combat obvious and proionged tyranny, this change of heart of the Pope contrasted with his earlier disagreement with the concept of liberation theology, this of course meant that the Vatican had accepted the logic that violence can be used to end injustice and to promote the common good.35

47It was in this vein that Nnoli focusing on South Africa in his article, “Revolutionary Violence, development, Equality, and Justice in South Africa” asserted:

  • 36 O. Nnoli. “Revolutionary Violence, Development, Equality and Justice in South Africa”, National Jou (...)

48Revolutionary violence is associated with a political programme for the fundamental transformation of a social order, it is defensive in nature because it does not aim at attaining privileges or protecting vested interests by one group at the expense of others, instead, it usually occurs in the form of resistance against obvious social evils such as exploitation, domination, repression, and discrimination, its goals are greater equality, justice, and freedom for an increased number of the population, therefore, it seeks the safety and freedom of the individual and group from violence to life, existence and property; and their protection from the threat of such violence, fear, anxiety, uncertainty, doubt, loss, want, orcare, and in general all forms of danger.36

49He went on to add that such (revolutionary) violence is generated by the peacelessness often associated with conditions of structural violence which resuit from the imposition of domination by the ruling class over the underprivileged classes, initially by force but later sustained by propaganda, intimidation, blackmail, bribery and corruption, structural violence is usually visited by a dominant minority on the powerless majority, and is based on a combination of exploitation, repression, and fragmentation of the majority that places them below a minimum level of existence and always at a disadvantage.

50Emphasising the objectives of revolutionary violence, nnoli observed further:

  • 37 O, Nnoli, ibid., pp. 12-13.

“The objective of revolutionary violence is to pull the majority of the population above the minimum level of existence, and eliminate their disadvantage, when successful, it tends to move the socio-economic and cultural system toward an ever larger measure of power to the people for conscious participation in building their own future, higher production for societal needs, non-exploitative relations of production and equitable principles of distribution: needs and aspirations of the masses; and the maximum possible enjoyment of culture, as well as an aesthetically and ecologically sound environment by the masses.”37

51On this issue, he informs us that the aggressor must be clearly distinguished from the victim, the predator from the prey, and the exploiter from the exploited, in his words:

  • 38 O, Nnoli, ibid., p. 13.

“Violence that is used to hold man down in poverty, ignorance, disease, prejudice, hate, and exploitation must be distinguished from violence used to free man from these obstacles to human progress.”38

52I have gone this far in discussing the issues of terrorism and violence, on the one hand, and revolutionary terrorism and revolutionary violence, on the other hand, to enable us to distinguish progressive struggles from criminal and self-centred struggles, with this ability, we can then refuse to be deceived by exploiters and oppressors who often misuse the coercive force of the society to hold the masses or groups down in misery and penury in the name of fighting subversive and terrorist elements.

53The key message here for the armed forces and security agencies all over the world is that care and caution are needed when governments issue operational orders for the application of military strategies in dealing with people regarded by such governments as terrorists, this is because the operators of revolutionary violence (call them terrorists or liberation fighters) often have sympathizers among the people and even within the defence and security apparatus of the state, such sympathizers may take a position against the use or misuse of societal violence (military strategy) against citizens struggling for the common good, also, it must be borne in mind that just as the condemned (revolutionary) terrorists of yesterday have become the democratic leaders of today in South Africa, for example, the “terrorists” of today can become the leaders and commanders of the Armed Forces tomorrow in any country.

54The message also implies that defence and security forces need to take a professional stand, when necessary, over matters of justice and societal morality in order to maintain their credibility and loyalty to the state, it must be borne in mind that two major aspects of the military man’s contract are commitment to military professionalism and unalloyed loyalty to the state not just to a government which is one element of the state and a mere agent for the execution of the will of the state, i must state here that I have no sympathy for criminal terrorists, whoever breaks the laws of the land must be ready to pay the price, that is the duty of government, but to unleash a state’s military might, for example, against students demonstrating in China, against Ogoniland, the Ijaw or against Igbo Youths demanding justice and a future for their people, is state terrorism, pure and simple, nigeria under General Abacha experienced a lot of this state terrorism between 1993 and 1998.

Spectrum of Political Conflict

55Terrorism is one of the dynamics in the spectrum of political conflict, though not all terrorist acts are political, the spectrum of political conflict covers the following:

  • Organization of agitation groups.

  • Demonstrations and riots leading to street disorder.

  • Terrorism for change of policy by government.

  • Plots and coups for change of government.

  • Insurgency.

  • Guerrilla warfare.

  • Civil war.

  • International war.

  • World war.


Anatomy of Terrorism

56If terrorism was to be a living organism with flesh and blood, and it is dissected, what would be seen? Among the things to be seen are: Anger, frustration, violence, death, destruction, great fear and agonizing pain. A terrorist by extension is an angry, frustrated and violent person, ready to use, destruction, great fear, and agonizing pain to pursue his goals, some terrorists in these days of suicide bombing are ready to kill themselves or be killed for what they believe in and the goal they are pursuing, as obtains in the Middle-East.

Manifestations of Terrorism

57Terrorism is manifested in the following activities, strategies and tactics of terrorists-criminal, political, national or international:

      1. Bombing and laying of mines and explosives at strategie places.

      2. Arrests, Kidnapping, and Detentions.

      3. Beating and torture.

      4. Murder and assassination.

      5. Arson.

  1. Sabotage of installations.

        1. Mysterious phone calls.

        2. Intimidation.

        3. Hijacking and Piracy.

  1. Bank raids and other forms of armed robbery.

  2. Biochem warfare (See Table 2)

  3. Suicide bombing

Some Cases of Terrorism

The Entebbe Affair

58On June 27, 1976, a group of Palestinian and German terrorists hijacked to Uganda a French Air Bus – Flight 139 which took off from Athens heading for Paris, at Entebbe, in Uganda where the plane landed, the 4 terrorists held the 245 passengers and 12 crew hostages demanding the release of 53 terrorist held in five countries, failing which they blow up the plane and kill the hostages, then President Idi Amin aided the hijackers thereby invitingan Israeli invasion of Uganda to free the hostages, he was also condemned for his role.

59Among the condemnations of the hijacking and praises of the Israeli invasion was the release from the Egyptian Gazetter of July 6th 1976, which read in part:

“No responsible person can condole the hijacking of civil airlines and the holding to ransom of innocent passengers, egypt for her part has always been against terrorist operations and the hijacking of aircrafts which endanger the lives of innocent people”.

  • 39 See, African Research Bulletin. Vol 13, No. 7, Aug. 15, 1976, p. 4105: and W. Stevenson, 90 Minutes (...)

60The Kenyan Daily Nation also condemned President Amin’s role in the hi-jack incident and praised Israeli action.39

The Beirut and Rome Operations

61In December 1973, while the world yearned for peace to return to the Middle East, and a Geneva peace conference was being organized for Arabs and Israelis, an Arab leader (Col. Gaddafi as alleged) dispatched five terrorists to Beirut (Lebanon) to shoot down the plane of Dr, henry Kissinger (then US Secretary of state coordinating the Arab-Israeli Peace conference) in order to foil the peace-meeting, when this plan failed, the Arab leader ordered the men to head for Rome Airport and take hostages so that the hostages can be used as bait to stop the peace Conference.

  • 40 See Terrorism Vs Middle Hast Peace. “The Renaissance, Feb. 11. 1974, p. 13

62On landing in Rome, the terrorists met tough security network, and out of frustration killed over 32 innocent people from indiscriminate shooting, they later hijacked a plane with passengers but got arrested in Kuwait on landing, and confessed to Gadaffi’s involvement.40

Political Terrorism in Cotonou

  • 41 See Daily Star, Jan. 22, 1977, p. 1 and Spear, March 1977, p. 5.

63In January 1977, a band of international criminals landed by air in Cotonou. Republic of Benin, their mission was to cease political power by force for President Zinson, first, they tried to seize the presidential Palace under heavy gunfire but failed, they then started shooting, killing and destroying in different pans of the town, and later left in a hurry leaving some members of their gang behind.41

Action aguinst Geneva Peace Conference

  • 42 See The Renaissance, Nov. 16. 1974, p. 7.

64In November 1974, a group of terrorists made up of three Palestinians and one French man was arrested in Lebanon, they confessed that they were, paid $900000 by an Arab Country to blow up the United States embassy in Lebanon, the move was to stop the Palestinian Liberation Organisation from taking part in the coming Geneva peace conference.42

Terrorism against OAU Heads

  • 43 See The Renaissance, Aug. 1. 1975, p. 1.

65In July 1975, the Organization of African Unity in (now African Union) held a conference in Kampala, Uganda, on 30 July, terrorists ordered ail heads of state and government attending the summit to leave the country within 24 hours or face liquidation through bomb attacks43.

Hijacking of a British Airliner

  • 44 See Times International, Nov. 25. 1974, p. 7.

66In November 1974, a group of Palestinian dissident, acting on behalf of an Organization that was isolated from the Arab and Palestinian masses, hijacked a British airliner to Tunis, held the 43 passengers hostage and demanded the release of 13 commandos held by Egypt, failure to do which would make them kill the passengers.44

The Black Septembist Munich Terrorism

67During the 1972 Olympic games in Munich, some Arab terrorists, who called themselves Black Septembists, secretly found their way into the Olympic village in Munich, west Germany, captured some Jewish sportsmen and women, held them hostage and made political demands on Israel, the West German government tried to negotiate with the terrorists but the negotiations broke down, as a resuit the government decided to use force against the terrorists, this led to the death of the Israeli athletes and some of the terrorists.

Terrorism by drug barons in Bogota

68In December 1986, a half-ton bomb was exploded outside a government office building in Bogota. Colombia, killing 52 persons, this was part of the drug war between the cocaine princes, or drug barons of Colombia and the government of President Barco, as TIME magazine put the actions of the President then:

“In his offensive against the coke princes, president Barco has dented the drug pipeline, but hardly destroyed it, the barons lashed back by terrorizing the innocent.”

  • 45 See Time. (Magazine), Dec. 18. 1989, p. 26.

69An insight into the damage terrorism can cause can be seen from the fact that from August 1989, when the government declared war on the drug barons, to December of the same year, the government made 497 arrests and confiscated property and weapons worth $250 million, while the coke princes killed 187 civilians and government officials, the drug barons also carried out 265 bombings and damaged property worth over $500 million.45

Assassination of Prime Minister Rabin

70On November 4, 1995, 73-year-old Israeli Prime Minister. Mr. Yizak Rabin, was shot dead at a peace rally in Tel Aviv after he had addressed the rally that focused on peace between Israeli Jews and Palestinians, his assassin, a 27-year-old Jewish student in an Israeli University, said that he killed the Prime Minister in order to stop the Israeli -Arab peace process and to stop Mr. Rabin from giving Israeli land to the Arabs, especially the settlements in the Gaza strip.

71Mr. Rabin had been the main moving force in the Israeli-Arab peace process, a right wing Jewish extremist group called IN claimed responsibility for the assassination, even though the assassin Mr, amir claimed that he acted alone.

United States Embassy Bombings

72In August 1998, some terrorists bombed US embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, killingover 16 Americans and 200 Africans.

West Jerusalem Bombing

73In the early hours of Friday, November 6, 1998, a car bomb exploded in a crowded market street in West Jerusalem killing two persons and wounding over 16 others, it was regarded as a suicide bombing since the driver of the car died on the spot, the bombing was suspected to be aimed at disrupting the peace process going on then, as Palestinians and Israelis were about to sign a peace treaty.

World Trade Center Destruction

74On September 11, 2001, two planes were hijacked by suicide bombers and made to crash into the towers of the World Trade Centre in New York, USA, this led to the death of 6000 citizens of various nations of the world.

Bombing of London City

75On July 7, 2005, people yet to be identified exploded bombs at several points in London leading to the sudden death of 57 people from different nations of the world, at least two Nigerians died in the bombing.


76The Algerian experience is very sad and instructive, the Islamic militants have been battling the nullification of elections by government, bombing places and slashing peoples’ throats, the terrorist operations have made life unbearable, and property very unsafe in Algeria today, tourism has suffered great set backs, with a resultant loss of revenue to that country.


77Terrorism has great implications for national security, apart from the killing of citizens and the destruction of lives and property, terrorism can subvert the operation of defence and security agencies, and this puts a nation in great danger, again, it can demoralize security forces, and for a nation to have demoralized security forces is bad omen for national security.

78Terrorism can also lead to a break dowrt of law and order and discourage investors both foreign and domestic, in this way, development and national productivity become threatened, since national leaders will always do their best to ensure the security of the nation, terrorism can stimulate the diversion of funds from socio-economic development to defence and security tending.

79The country’s international image can also be adversely affected by terrorist activities and this, in turn, affects tourism and the revenue expected from it, terrorism also weakens government resolve and ability to govern effectively, and retards administrative efficiency and momentum of development.

Uses/Goals and consequences of terrorism

80From the discussions in on the concept of terrorism above, it becomes obvious that terrorism, especially revolutionary terrorism, is at times desirable as an instrument of pursuing and achieving positive change in society, in this sense, terrorism becomes legitimate political violence and terror aimed at promoting the common good in the face of tyranny, autocracy or dictatorship, here, the terrorism is directed against the status quo and the political structure defending and promoting it.

81Autocrats, dictators and tyrants use terrorism in negative ways to suppress and repress opposition and calls for change in order to preserve the status quo and the existing privileges, i must point out here too that governments at times have to use force legitimately to defend the state, life and property against criminal terrorists and unnecessary violence.

82Criminal terrorists only pursue private gains, which may be material gains, revenge, or repudiation of the authority of a government, no matter how patriotic and legitimate it is.

83The key aims of a terrorist are: to kill; gain publicity; seek revenge; force a change in policy or societal structure; or make money.

84The consequences of terrorism may vary according to the source, objectives and amount of force applied. Generally, however, the following are the consequences of terrorism:

  1. Physical injury and pain, especially from torture.

  2. Death.

  3. Mental agony from psychic terror, feeling of helplessness, etc.

  4. Destruction of property, especially buildings.

  5. Damage to infrastructural facilities like rail lines, airports, electricity installations, military installations, police posts, and tourism decline.

  6. Diversion of public funds from socio-economic development to security tending, thereby retarding development.

    1. Abuse of human rights.

    2. Loss of revenue from extortion.

Courter terrorism measures

85Here, I am not concerned with how autocratie, dictatorial or totalitarian regimes can counter progressive struggles aimed at liberating the masses of the people and improving their well-being, as Wilkinson observed:

  • 46 Paul Wilkinson, Op. Cit., p. 136.

“We should shed no tears for tyrants or brutal and repressive rulers who are confronted by revolutionary terrorists; they reap the whirl-wind of theirwn tenor”46

86I would rather think aloud on measures popular governments can take against (criminal) terrorists (national and international), as well as on how society can guard and struggle against state terrorism, the measures include:

  1. The rule of law must be enthroned in society, and no individual or group of individuals must be allowed to be above the laws of the land, these laws must however be popular laws.

  2. Legal sanctions must be in force and whoever violates the laws of the land should pay the price.

  3. The judiciary must, with the support of the people, preserve fundamental rights and freedoms and protect society against arbitrary rule, police brutality (terror) and martial terror.

  4. Terrorists must not in any way be allowed to wage battle against popular governments, nor must criminal terrorists be allowed to wage war against society in pursuit of their selfish private ends, for this purpose, both the police and the armed forces need to be trained and equipped accordingly, especially where terrorists apply guerrilla tactics. Government needs to develop the culture of never giving in to criminal terrorists but must dialogue with groups fighting for justice or liberation fighters even if they use terror tactics, the Dutch approach (dialogue) is thus recommended.

  5. Agood intelligence network is crucial to nip (criminal) terrorism in the bud, such an intelligence network must be well coordinated between the police, military and other units, strategic Spiritual Research (SSR) is crucial in this area as long as its findings are empiricised before officiai action is taken.

  6. Positive social programmes as well as political, economic and social reforms relevant at any time in the history of society need to be carried out without waiting for revolutionary terrorism to move onto the scene to force the government’s hands, early voluntary government reforms will isolate terrorists from the population.

  1. Security of premises, installations, airports and airlines must be ensured by applying electronic devices where necessary.

  2. Punishment of convicted terrorists is crucial to serve as a deterrence.

  3. In the case of international terrorism, the relevant treaty provisions should be followed, it must be borne in mind always that the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunals did declare that the killing of hostages and the murder of non-combatants are crimes against humanity, also, the Geneva Convention of 1949 prohibits the collective punishment of any community for actions committed by individuals in their private capacities, terrorists, it is known, have no officiai status in international law, thus governments treat them as they deem fit, however, governments must bear in mind that the fundamental causes of international terrorist actions “live” in the socio-economic and political problems that they have left unsolved at home, internation (criminal) terrorists should be extradited for trial and appropriate punishment, especially where political murder is involved.

  1. The police and military need to establish special anti-terrorist squads, the military squad will be unleashed against any terrorist group that is heavily armed and ready to shoot and kill.

  2. Governments and the society need, however, to always study each phenomenon of terrorism and apply appropriate solutions, prevention, it is said, is better than cure.

  3. Research on known terrorists and terrorist groups, leading to their computerized data banks on them, are important.

  4. Intensive propaganda, public enlightenment and education are useful instruments against criminal terrorists and other terrorists that do not pursue the collective goals of the people, these will tune the public into vigilance against unknown faces and strange movements and objects around them.

  5. Above all, there is a need for a national anti-terrorist policy formulation to guide both citizens, government, and security agencies in this matter, for example, in Israel there is a policy prohibiting deals with terrorists, who are seen by law as criminals, such a policy promotes international cooperation against terrorism.

  6. Where a government, such as that of Sani Abacha in Nigeria or Idi Amin Dada of Uganda or Fracois Duvalier (Papa Doc) of Haiti, emerges in any country, it is the duty of patriots to bring such a government down, by all means, to save the people and the country.

Table 2: The Weapons of Biochemical terror

Table 2: The Weapons of Biochemical terror

Table 2: continues

Table 2: continues


87To many Nigerian citizens terrorism may appear to be a new phenomenon given the experiences with hired assassinations, bomb blasts and plane hijacking since the June 12 crisis of 1993, but those with a sense of history know that the phenomenon is not new in principle; it has only recently graduated to a “professional” level.

88This assertion is true because, as primary school children in the early 1°960s, we heard of, and saw political thugs chasing opponents of their pay masters out of homes and murdering them, they burnt the houses of their paymasters’ opponents, and some of them were paid to kidnap, torture and kill, these are all acts of terrorism, the difference today is that the phenomenon has moved from thuggery, kidnapping and murder through armed robbery to bombing, hijacking and high-class political assassinations, table 3 at least shows as much, what pains this author is that despite the fact that terrorism began in this country from the first half-decade after independence, nothing effective is in place in terms of policy, specially trained and equipped forces, etc against the phenomenon, one other point worth noting in Nigeria’s terrorism phenomena is that, generally, no one claims responsibility.

89Even with the several bomb-blasts that rocked the sense of security of the Nigerian nation, what citizens heard were accusations of mainly straw-men, arrests of people that could not be fully proven to be culprits, directives to police to unravel the mystery of bombers and bombings, appeals to the public to help the police, etc, but are the Nigerian Police fully trained, prepared and equipped for counter-terrorist operations? The answer is No! Our police like our military, are not new to terrorism, but they are not at home with it.

90It must be made clear, however, that what Nigeria faced, especially from 1995 to 1998, was the phenomenon of state terrorism effected by the regime of the late General Sani Abacha in his bid for self-perpetuation in office and to terrorize citizens and his opponents, the nation paid dearly for this bid through a collapsed economy and an insecure and unstable society, indicating how terrorism can adversely affect a nation’s fortunes, the United States recent experience demonstrates this better, as discussed in the next section.


91The United States of America is the most powerful (militarily) and richest country in the world today, it has the longest history in the running of democratie government based on regular free and fair elections, the rule of law, respect for human rights, public accountability, transparency as well as responsive and responsible tenets, thus, with all sincerity, the US can be said to manifest good governance, the country’s technological and industrial profiles also mark it out to be on the route of sustainable development, with one of the strongest and most sought after currencies in the world — the almighty dollar.

92However, despite all these positive attributes, the US was attacked on September 11, 2001 by groups who decided to use hijacked passenger planes as missiles, this attack gave rise to the death of over 6000 people and to the destruction of the World Trade Centre and part of the Pentagon, this singular terrorist attack led to a "declaration of a state of emergency in Washington, the interruption of commercial flights throughout the country for some days, the closure of the New York Stock Exchange, the closure of 50 of the 250 US missions all over the world, the evacuation of the US President and his family from the White House, a drastic reduction in tourist patronage, temporary drop in the value of the dollar, as well as a temporary sealing off of the air, land and sea borders of the United States.

93As people in the US began to dread air travel, due to fear of hijacking, and shifted to traveling by road, the terrorists began slashing the throats of bus drivers while their vehicles were in motion, thereby occasioning road accidents, this again led to the closure of some large commercial bus companies, such as Greyhound for some days.

94The issue is that if this type of terrorism is waged for 3-6 months, it can lead to the collapse of a nation’s economy with all the adverse consequences, it can threaten democracy since it may not be possible to hold elections when they are due, it can destabilize government through various means and method, and is capable of leading to the collapse of even a super-power nation.

95This is why terrorism, especially the type the USA faced in September 2001, must be avoided by all means, if the USA does not handle the present terrorist crisis facing it with maturity, great tact and diplomacy, especially regarding matters concerning the Arab States the experience in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Israël and Palestine, the seeds of the collapse of the US as a world power may be in the sowing and the way may be paved for the emergence of China as the next super power.

96The present dimension of terrorism is different from what the world knew before, it seems to be systematic and determined and to be focused on the destruction of the United States with all the weapons that can be mustered, including biochemical terror, the American President, George Bush, confidently asserted, as quoted in Time magazine of September 24, 2001; “This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others, it will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing.” Let us hope so, however, my little knowledge of terrorism and the psychology of terrorists tell me that terrorism is not defeated by conventional warfare waged even by a superpower, new strategies are needed, including dialogue, confidence building and conflict resolution and policy review among others.


97The implications of terrorism for a corporate organization, apart from physical destructions, is that terrorism scares away customers, slows down business, (production/services), and cuts down profit or revenue generation, when the interruption of the service/product of the organization is felt nation-wide, national disaster occurs.

98The Management of terrorism by public institutions or private organizations can be carried out at three levels: Prevention, Situation Control, and Strategy Review, these three levels need more detailed discussion.

Preventive Measures

99Preventive measures involve doing things to avoid being a terrorist target and putting in place all the necessary ideas, plans, contact lines and structures that will be needed to handle a terrorist attack, some of these are discussed below:

Measures For Avoidance of Terrorist Attacks

  • Educating the public on the value of the organization to the individual person specifïcally and to the public in general.

  • Installation of electronic security gadgets.

  • Ensuring justice and fairness, as well as good treatment of staff.

  • Occasional “sweeping” of premises by a trained unit for bombs and explosives.

  • Assessing the nature and degree of threats in the area.

  • Research work on known terrorists for easy recognition and surveillance, the police, government sources and intelligence units can be very useful in this direction.

  • Constant vigilance by staff, and reporting of suspicious persons objects, and movements within the company premises.

Measures For Handling Terrorist Attacks

  • Making contingency plans of what is to be done, and by whom in case terrorist attack occurs, this also means mapping out different scenarios and how each can be handled.

  • Putting in place structures for secret escape of staff.

  • Constructing the building in a way that anticipates terrorist attacks and so makes for easy escape, evacuation, monitoring, etc.

  • Providing evacuation facilities or entering into agreement with a body that can provide these at very short notice.

  • Providing direct and secret alarm system and communication lines with the relevant law enforcement agencies, especially those specialized in terrorist operations.

  • Training staff on what to do individually and collectively in case of terrorist attack, especially in the art of negotiation.

  • Training the security men of the organization in anti-terrorist operations, they also need to be aware of certain terms (see Appendix 1 ) so that they can be more psychologically prepared to deal with terrorist attacks, be able to report findings more accurately, and carry out safe and effective anti-terrorist plans.

  • Designing and putting into effect a Comprehensive Anti-Terrorist Security System (CATSS): mapping out lines of defence that can aid detection, and prevent the escape of terrorists if they strike, the design should include the use of barriers, electronic devices, locks and response forces.

  • Evaluation of the CATSS as much as is practicable to ensure that it works, here, simulate an attack on fortified targets (houses, persons, safes, vehicles, oil flow lines, or oil rigs) as close as possible to the way terrorists would execute it, audit the system by examining security installations and questioning personnel.

100It is also important to carry out what I term Constant Vigilance Maintenance Counter Terrorist Activities (COVIMACTA), these are meant to keep all personnel constantly vigilant and always at a high degree of alertness and to ensure that security equipment and facilities are in proper working condition at all times, these COVIMACTA are:

  • Giving high morale building attention to the security staff and other personnel so that they can always perform maximally when terrorism occurs. Life insurance is crucial here.

  • Constant checks on security equipment and facilities.

  • Using drills, training, and other simulating-exercises to get (security) staff used to their equipment and CATSS.

  • Doing everything possible to ensure that if terrorists ever strike, they won’t have an easy access or exit, thus, identity cards, bags and vehicles are to be properly checked, patrols are also crucial.

  • Constant collection and analysis of threat intelligence.

  • Use of intruder detection equipment, alarm systems, etc.

  • Checking beforehand areas that a target person or material will enter.

  • Security men being very familiar with who or what belongs to a place or an office so that new faces can easily be detected and watched, while strange objects, explosives, weapons, as well as illegal surveillance devices. can readily be detected.

  • Security men being always on the alert and on stand-by, very close to personalities or structures being protected in order to ensure quick defensive action as and when necessary.

  • Security personnel must always be punctual, givingand obeying law-ful orders.

  • When a personalitv being protected is in motion, vehicles should be driven in such a way as to leave room for a quick escape in case of an attack.

Situation Control

101At this level it is assumed that there is an actual terrorist attack, either in the form of bombing, hostage taking, etc, if there is an early warning, the first thing to do is to evacuate staff and critical property, then the whole premises can be combed, while the relevant government security agency is called in, this is where the management applies to a real situation all the security preparations made at the first level, once an act of terrorism is in progress. (for example, an attack by bombing.) orderly evacuation must follow, the police have to be called immediately, and then “ambulance” movement occurs either to hospital or from hospital and back, evacuation has to occur, where there is hostage taking in the building, negotiations must commence, and this means that communication facilities must be in place.

102It is important at this point to highlight some aspects of Explosive Ordnance Disposai, when an actual bomb planting or bombing occurs, it is important that only bomb squads and similarorganizations should be called in, to handle or dispose of any bombs or explosive devices that may be found, even when there is a bomb threat, only bomb squads should be quickly called in; security men not trained to handle, dispose of, or disffuse bombs should never be allowed to try such deadly things as fiddling with bombs.

Table 3: The evolution of terrorism in Nigeria

Table 3: The evolution of terrorism in Nigeria
  • 2 This marked the beginning of murder through letter bombs in Nigeria 's history.

Note *2

Table 3: continues

Table 3: continues

Table 3: continues

Table 3: continues

Strategy Review

103In a situation in which an actual terrorist attack has occurred, the management of the victim-corporate body has to take stock of what happened, how well the body reacted to and handled the situation, and how adequate the facilities put in place were, the essence is to get better prepared for the future as far as counter-terrorist measures are concerned.

104It is, however, my view that the greater part of the work against terrorism has to be done by governments and not by corporate bodies and individuals, this is because the things that generate terrorism in a state or across national boundaries mostly arise from the policies, commissions and omissions of governments, apart from the get-rich-quick syndrome and the thugs and robbers produced by the social and economic hardships in the society, Nigeria before June 1993 was not a fertile ground for even criminal terrorists, algeria is today not safe because of terrorist actions generated by the nullification of the resuit of an election held in 1991 and won by the Islamic Front Party.


105What is the significance or implication of terrorism for the Nigerian armed forces, the police and the Nigerian state? For the armed forces and the police, terrorism spells out the need for proper training, equipment, and contingency planning for tackling any terrorist action, especially international terrorism requiring military involvement either in the air, on land, or at sea, for the Nigerian society, all citizens must be tuned and ready for necessary action, and must assist the law enforcement agents, when required to do so, to tackle any terrorist attack in the country, for the Nigerian government, in particular, terrorism emphasizes the relevance of good governance, justice and fairplay (especially in the sharing of political power, and distribution of national resources), good policies and the sustenance of democracy.

106This is because (revolutionary) terrorism is a justifiable and internationally acceptable antidote to prolonged sectional marginalization, dictatorship, repressive rulership, and an unbearably oppressive socio-economic system, i must quickly add here, however, that the cost of terrorism to innocent people must always be evaluated and minimized, so that revolutionary terror aimed at dethroning autocrats and eliminating injustice does not bring untold suffering to the innocent masses. Violence should therefore only remain as medicine to despotism or a bad constitution, not as its daily food.

107It is also necessary for society to study and understand the terrorist so that both he and his activities can be predicted and controlled, terrorists are generally young people between 20 and 40 years who are well organized, well funded, skilled in military tactics and weapons manipulation and dedicated to their assignment, they may be angry and frustrated over one form of injustice or the other, or they may want to change the political system by force, a few may be school dropouts; some may be idealistic and some power hungry; others may just be motivated by the thrill of violence.

108Finally, let me end w ith the quotations from Richard Clutterbuck, and Brian Jenkins, to Clutterbuck:

  • 47 R. Clutterbuck, Terrorism and Guerrilla Warfare. London. Routledge, 1990, p.220.

“...Terrorism is, with very few exceptions, the recourse of tiny minorities who know that they could never get the majority to accept their views, while dessent can be constructive and stimulating, when it gives way to violence it must not be tolerated, the majority have always had to be prepared to forgo some of their own comforts and when facing the challenge of people prepared to kill, but there is no rightful claim of a civil liberty to kill, wound, sabotage, impersonate or intimidate, the claim by a minority of the right to kill must never be allowed to override the right of the majority to live in peace.47

109Jenkins sensitizes us on the issue of who should fight terrorism by asserting that terrorism:

  • 48 Brian Jenkins, International Terrorism: the Other World War. Macmillan. London. 1990, p. 277.

“… is not the war the.. military (of national governments) was trained for, there are no massed armor formations pouring across a central front, no divisions on the march, no scramble of fighter aircraft, it is rather a hundred wars waged by elusive and ruthless foes.48

110The message is that each country needs to create, train and equip a special, ever-ready effective squad for anti-terrorist operations against (small) terrorist groups, i must also add here that Nigeria and other oppressed and exploited nations of the world must start doing their homework against what I term Advanced International Terrorism, as manifested by the misuse of military might by imperial world powers, in 2000, the US bombed Sudan and Afghanistan on the basis of allegation that both countries were backing terrorists, in 2003, the US illegally invaded Iraq, in the process overthrowing President Saddam Hussein, this invasion was based on a suspicion – for which subsequent investigations provided no transparent evidence – that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, these acts of US are as terrorizing and uncalled for as the nuclear bombings of Japan’s Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, as wel as the September 11 attack n the World Trade Centre, and July 7 2005 attack against London by Al-Qaeda groups, this view is strengthened the more by the fact that Pakistan, whose air space was violated in the 2000 bombing, is today an ally ofthe USA in its war against terror in Afghanistan, afghanistan, in turn, was an ally of the USA against the then USSR in the days of the cold war, in short, in defence of Afghanistan, the USA in 1980 imposed sanctions against the USSR for invading Afghanistan in 1979, the point must be made that most of these people called terrorists today, including Osama bin Laden, were all allies of the USA in the war against the defunct communist Soviet Union, and many of the training camps bombed in Afghanistan on the suspicion that they were terrorist training camps, were established in the days of the war against the USSR by Afghan Mujahedeens with USA support, including training by the CIA, tjus, the whole affair is riddled w ith double standards and unjust foreign policy.

111This call against Advance International Terrorism becomes more relevant as these imperial powers explore and colonize the known and hitherto unknown planets, sooner than expected, these powers will start using the Moon, Mars. Venus, etc to monitor, target and terrorize small nations, it may reach a stage where the small nations have to pay satellite-based meter-read fees or dues to get the sun’s rays for the photosynthetic processes needed by plants, without which there will be no food.

112The solution lies in giving serious and patriotic thought to the security and development of poor nations, as well as adequately financing research and development, defence capabilities, and welfare of the people.

113I wish to emphasise the point that the past terrorist experience of Nigeria, especially in the period 1994 – 1998, the long standing “terrorist” experience of Israel, the September 11, 2001 most horrifying terrorist attacks against the USA, and the terrible and barbarie attacks organize London city on July 7, 2005, out-standingly demonstrate that terrorism is a real and deadly threat against democracy, human liberty, sustainable development. good governance, personal and materiel prosperity, as well as national security in the 21st century, all hands therefore must be on deck to combat it, at the same time, better strategies other than military action should be employed to resolve the root causes of terrorism at the national and international levels, includingdialogue, fairness and justice in resource distribution and in conflict resolution, just foreign policy, and just economie would order.

114Much of the terrorism that has threatened international peace and security has emanated from the Middle-East crisis, the United Nations must now sit up and get that crisis resolved permanently before it generates the third world war, the Palestinians must get their independent homeland now. To this end, Israel needs to show a more transparent commitment to peace in the sub-region, (the August 2005 Israeli withdrawal from Gaza is a good beginning), while the Arab world must guarantee Israel’s right to a secure existence, all these can be handled in a negotiated seulement guided by a strong political will for an enduring peace, each minute’s delay in the just resolution of the Middle-East crisis multiplies the spores of terrorism and sharpens its tools of destruction as the venom of hatred increases the zeal to destroy and revenge, the Middle-East crisis sowed the seeds that have transformed terrorism into a new form of warfare today.

115Finally, there are lessons to be learnt from the September 11. 2001 terrorist attack on the United States, that attack has a message for all nations, the members of the international community, and Nigeria, as rightly observed by Adam Rotfeld:

  • 49 Adam Rotleld. “Introduction to Global Security After 11 September 2001” in SIPRI Yearbook 2002, Oxf (...)

“The 11 September 2001 terrorist attack on the United States marked a watershed in the international security process, from the ruins of the World Trade Centre in New York, and the destroved Pentagon building, grew the catalyst for the shaping of a new security system. Unresolved issues, clashes of interests, and conflicts began to be analysed from a different perspective, with new issues and priorites.., although the unprecedented terrorist acts-of 2001 were directed against the United States, they were the impulse for a new reassessment and redefinition of the security policies by practically ail states and major international securit\ institutions, the attacks helped precipitate the shaping of a new-global security system, the attacks on the USA have shown that the norms, procedures, mechanisms, and institutions of the current security system are not sufficient for dealing w ith this kind of threat effectively, the international community-states, the United Nations and regional structures, including NATO-was caught off-guard, in spite of the fact that there had been some warning of an impending attack.”49

116Where does this message concern Nigeria today? It is in the area of reassessing threats and redefining our concept of national security to cover all dimensions, especially non-military threats, and then training and equipping our security and defence forces to meet the new challenges, this is more important today in the face of the ICJ October 2002 judgement which, in the footsteps of the infamous 1884/85 Berlin Conference, handed over Nigeria’s Bakassi Peninsular to Cameroun.

117Anti-terrorism became globalization’s first war in the dawn of the 21st century, this author hopes that the second will not be the final weakening of Africa for recolonization, to begin with a collective white-led attack on and devastation of Nigeria in the guise of implementingthe ICJ decision or supporting UN resolutions, such an attack can take any form from aerial bombardment through terrorism to peace-keeping of the Congo style (1960-64), even though our past leaders made the mistakes that paved the ugly way to the 2002 ICJ judgement, Nigerians must be ready to defend their fatherland, and the government must start now to prepare the citizens for any eventuality, however, war must be avoided by all means, because going to war with Cameroun will be playing into the hands of the enemy, providing them with the opportunity and weapons to humiliate destroy and dismember Nigeria, therefore, the current peaceful approach to the resolution of the Bakassi crisis with Cameroun should be maintained.

  • 50 For details, see Daily Sun (Newspaper), October 19. 2004, p. 4.
  • 51 See United States National Intelligence Council. “Mapping Sub-Saharan Africa”. (Report of US expert (...)

118At the same time, the Federal Government should show more serious concern on the issue of crushing poverty, the provocative rate of unemployment, hunger and cashlessness (especially of unpaid pensioners and workers), the idea held by the youths of this country today, to wit, that government does not care about them and their future, is dangerous. More dangerous is the belief of several young people that violence or armed struggle is the only language the government understands, this was recently expressed by Asari-Dokubo, the leader of the Niger-Delta People’s Volunteer Force.50 In the face of the small arms (freely) floating all over Africa, if the underlying causes of such beliefs and struggles are not quickly resolved, through just distribution of national resources, and power rotation, Nigeria is may be preparing for her own September 11, or even worse yet, disintegration, on this account, the Federal government and all Nigerian must not wish away the early warning information contained in the 2005 Report of the American National Intelligence Council no matter how distasteful it may be, the government needs to convene Nigerian experts to strategies how the unfavourable prediction about Nigeria collapsing or becoming a failed state51 by 2020 can be avoided.






119The explosion that occurs in a bomb results from a chain of reactions of specifie elements in its firing system, two types of such systems exist: Electric and Non-electric, these two types are made up of:

  1. Activation Source: which is current from a battery or generator for the Electric; and heat or flame from a match or fuse lighter for non-electric.

  2. Firing Line: which is Wire for the Electric, and Fuse for the Non-Electric.

  3. Detonator: which is an electric blasting cap for the Electric type; and Non-electric blasting cap for the other.

  4. Explosive: which is high or low for both types.

120Generally when an activation source charges the firing line, the detonator explodes, setting off the explosive charges, and the bomb carries out its destructive mission.

121It is important for security officers to note that bombs can come in any manner or shape, a bomb is essentially an explosive firing system in a box or any container which can be in shoe; wooden box, metal box, biro, pipe, briefcase, ink pen, bottle, lunch box, flower container, thermos, or even envelope shape, it takes expert eyes to easily recognise a bomb

122Bombs can be activated in several ways such as:

    1. Chemical: where a chemical delay device activates the detonator.

    2. Mechanical: where an alarm clock is wired to close a circuit at a particular time: or a key with a string attached pulls two flexible metal elements together effecting contact.

    3. Motional: where a metal ball when the bomb is titled making contact and closing circuit.

    4. Frictional: where two abrasives spark when they rub together.

    5. Electrical: whereaswitch is closed by lifting, pushing, or turning on a light switch.

123Therefore to avoid activating a planted bomb, the following rules of thumb are necessary for all staff:

      1. Avoid cutting wires indiscriminately.

      2. Trace all strange wires as much as possible and make reports where necessary.

      3. Do not submerge in water objects you do not know.

  1. If situation demand, always check your doors, windows, curtains, and rooms for strange wires, and objects.

  2. Do not handle objects you are not sure of carelessly: and do not shake or tilt such objects.

  3. Do not freeze or heat thermostatic dev ices

    1. Do not cut into packages such letters or parcels.

    2. Always report suspicious letters, parcel, and containers.

    3. When objects are seen with high degree of suspicion or certainty, the location should be evacuated and isolated, then call and lead Explosive Ordinance disposai teams to the location; and where there is time, search for more devices carefully: open all doors and windows so that if an explosion occurs the effects will be minimal; disconnect utilities, remove flammable materials from the area, sandbags or very thick mattresses can be place around bomb areas.

  1. In areas of suspicion, open doors, windows, cabinet drawers etc slowly, always watching out for trip-wires or booby traps are found.

  1. When there is a bomb threat through phone or written messages, report, and preserve all materials like envelopes.

  1. Screening machines should be used to x-ray suspicious envelopes or parcel.


1 O.B.C Nwolise. “Organised Terrorism and National Sovereignt” (A. B.Sc. Thesiss, submitted to the Dept. of Political Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka) 1977.

2 Paul Wilkinson, Political Terrorism, London, Macmillan, 1974, p. 29.

3 Alan O’ Day (ed), terroris’s Laboratory: Northern Ireland. London, Dartmouth Pub. Coy, 1994.

4 Y. Alexander (ed), the Irish Terrorism Experience, London, 1991

5 Y, Alexander, Middle-East Terrorism: Current Trends and Prospects. 1993.

6 Alison Jamieson, Terrorism And Drug Trafficking m Europe in the 1990s, 1994

7 Paul W ilkinson (ed), Terrorism: The British Perspectives, London, 1993.

8 Martha Crenshaw (ed), Terrorism in Africa, 1993.

9 Edward Moxon – Browne, European Terrorism. 1993.

10 M, Sibley “The Limitations of Behaviouralism”, in J. Charlesworth (ed), Contemporary Political Analysis, London. Macmillan, 1967, p. 53.

11 A. Kaufman, cited in J. Charlesworth, ibid.

12 Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, p. 1042.

13 M. Reading, A. Dictionary of the Social Sciences, London, Routledge and Paul, 1976.

14 Paul Wilkinson. (1974), Op Cit., p. 9.

15 Paul Wilkinson. (1974), ibid.

16 Hugo Reading, op. Ct., p. 217.

17 Hugo Reading, ibid.

18 For details on enforcement and agitations terror, See T. Thornton, “Terror as a Weapon of Political Agitation:, in Eckstin (ed), Internal War, new York., Free Press, 1964, pp. 17-99.

19 Hugo Reading, Op Cit., E, Seligman (ed.).

20 J. Hardman. “Terrorism”, in Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 14 New York. Macmillan 1937, pp. 575-579.

21 O.B.C, Nwolise, Op. Cit., p. xiv.

22 Paul Wilkinson, Op. Cit., p. 17.

23 Paul Wilkinson, ibid.

24 Paul Wilkinson, ibid, p. 40.

25 Paul Wilkinson, ibid, p. 36.

26 Paul Wilkinson, ibid. pp. 38-40.

27 Hugo Reading, Op. Cit., p. 228.

28 Robert Wolff, On Violence, Journal of Philosophy. 66. 99, october 1976.

29 Gerald Rankle. “Is Violence Always Wrong?” The Journal of Politics, Vol. 38, no. 2, May 1976.

30 Edwin Madunagu, The Philosophy of Violence, Basic Truth. 1976, p. 221.

31 E. Madunagu, Ibid., p. 22.

32 E. Madunagu Ibid, p. 22-23.

33 See Hugo Reading, Op. Cit., p. 154.

34 See “The Document of the Chinese Government Representatives Debate on International Terrorism in the Sixth Legal Committee of the UN General Assembly”, Nov. 9-23. 1972, p. 2.

35 See Sunday Sketch, April 6 1986, p. 2.

36 O. Nnoli. “Revolutionary Violence, Development, Equality and Justice in South Africa”, National Journal of International Affairs. (Lagos ). Vol. 13, no. 2, NIIA. 1987, p. 12.

37 O, Nnoli, ibid., pp. 12-13.

38 O, Nnoli, ibid., p. 13.

39 See, African Research Bulletin. Vol 13, No. 7, Aug. 15, 1976, p. 4105: and W. Stevenson, 90 Minutes at Entebbe.

40 See Terrorism Vs Middle Hast Peace. “The Renaissance, Feb. 11. 1974, p. 13

41 See Daily Star, Jan. 22, 1977, p. 1 and Spear, March 1977, p. 5.

42 See The Renaissance, Nov. 16. 1974, p. 7.

43 See The Renaissance, Aug. 1. 1975, p. 1.

44 See Times International, Nov. 25. 1974, p. 7.

45 See Time. (Magazine), Dec. 18. 1989, p. 26.

46 Paul Wilkinson, Op. Cit., p. 136.

47 R. Clutterbuck, Terrorism and Guerrilla Warfare. London. Routledge, 1990, p.220.

48 Brian Jenkins, International Terrorism: the Other World War. Macmillan. London. 1990, p. 277.

49 Adam Rotleld. “Introduction to Global Security After 11 September 2001” in SIPRI Yearbook 2002, Oxford, O.U.P. 2002.

50 For details, see Daily Sun (Newspaper), October 19. 2004, p. 4.

51 See United States National Intelligence Council. “Mapping Sub-Saharan Africa”. (Report of US experts’ one day conference on Africa to discuss likely trends in sub-Saharan Africa over the next fifteen years). March 2005.

Notes de fin

1 Department of Political Sciences, University of Ibadan.

2 This marked the beginning of murder through letter bombs in Nigeria 's history.

Table des illustrations

Titre Table 1: International terrorist operations by regions for the period1993-1998
Légende Source: Patterns of Global Terrorism, 1998
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Titre Table 2: The Weapons of Biochemical terror
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Titre Table 2: continues
Fichier image/jpeg, 88k
Titre Table 3: The evolution of terrorism in Nigeria
Légende Note *2
Fichier image/jpeg, 316k
Titre Table 3: continues
Fichier image/jpeg, 404k
Titre Table 3: continues
Fichier image/jpeg, 104k
Fichier image/jpeg, 348k

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