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THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON ANTI-TERRORISM: A CASE STUDY OF NIGERIA IN THE CURRENT WAR ON TERROR

Posted by at September 23, 2021 Read our previous post

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1            Background

Definition of Terrorism:

In its broadest sense, Terrorism is any act designed to cause terror. In a narrower sense terrorism can be understood to feature a political objective. The word terrorism is politically loaded and emotionally charged.

According to the Black's Law Dictionary Ninth Edition- terrorism is the use or threat of violence to intimidate or cause panic especially as a means of affecting political conduct.

The Encarta Dictionary defines terrorism as: Political Violence- violence or the threat of violence, especially bombing, kidnapping, and assassination, carried out for political purposes.

Also according to the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, third edition- terrorism is a violent action for political purposes.

Terrorism can be viewed as the deliberate creation and exploitation of fear for bringing about political change. All terrorist acts involve violence or equally important- the threat of violence. These violent acts are committed by non-governmental groups or individuals- that is, by those who are neither part of nor officially serving in the military forces, law enforcement agencies, intelligence services, or other governmental agencies of an established Nation State.

Terrorists attempt not only to sow panic but also to undermine confidence in the government and political leadership of their target country.

 Terrorism is therefore designed to have psychological effects that reach far beyond its impact on the immediate victims or object of an attack. Terrorists mean to frighten and thereby intimidate a wider audience, such as a rival ethnic or religious group, an entire country and its political leadership, or the international community as a whole.

Terrorist groups generally have few members, limited firepower, and comparatively few organizational resources.

 For this reason they rely on dramatic, often spectacular, bloody and destructive acts of hit- and- run violence to attract attention to themselves and their cause. Through the publicity generated by their violence, terrorists seek to obtain the leverage, influence, and power they otherwise lack.

 

1.2              Government Definitions of Terrorism

Legal statutes in most countries around the world regard terrorism as a crime. Yet there is considerable variation in how these laws define terrorism, even in countries whose laws derive from a common origin.

In the UNITED KINGDOM for example, legislation titled Terrorist Act 2000 States that terrorism is "the use or threat of action designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause".

The legal system and code of law of the UNITED KINGDOM has influenced those of the UNITED STATES, CANADA and ISRAEL.

UNITED STATES federal statute defines terrorism as " violent acts or acts DANGEROUS to human life that appears to be intended:

1.     To intimidate or coerce a civilian population.

2.     To influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

3.     To affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping ".

The above definition appears in UNITED STATES Code, Title 18, Section 2331 (18 USC 2331).

Canada's Anti-terrorism Act (Bill C- 36) designates " terrorist activity " as "an act or omission that is committed in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause and in whole or in part with the intention of intimidating the public, or a segment of the public, with regard to its Security, including its economic security, or compelling a person, a government or a domestic or an international organization to do or to refrain from doing any act, whether the person government or organization is inside or outside Canada.

Israel law does not address terrorism specifically. But in the prevention of Terrorism Ordinance No. 33, it defines a terrorist organization as "a body of persons resorting in its activities to acts of violence calculated to cause death or injury to a person or to threats of such acts of violence.

The definition of terrorism has proved controversial. Various Legal Systems and Government agencies use different definitions of terrorism in their national legislation.

Moreover, international community has been slow to formulate a universally agreed, legally binding definition of this crime. These difficulties arise from the fact that the term 'terrorism' is politically and emotionally charged. In this regard Angus Martyn, briefing the Australian Parliament stated,

"The international community has never succeeded in developing an accepted comprehensive definition of terrorism. During the 1970s and 1980s the UNITED NATIONS attempted to define the term floundered mainly due to differences of opinion between various members about the use of violence in the context of conflicts over national liberation and self determination."

These divergences have made it impossible for the UNITED NATIONS to conclude a comprehensive CONVENTION on international TERRORISM that incorporates a single all encompassing legally binding and criminal law definition of terrorism.

 The international community has adopted a series of sectoral conventions that define and criminalize various types of terrorist activities.

Since 1994, the UNITED NATIONS General Assembly has repeatedly condemned terrorist acts using the following political description of terrorism.

"Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the  public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them".

"Terrorism" comes from the French word terrorism, and originally referred specifically to state terrorism as practiced by the French government during the 1793- 1794 Reign of Terror. The French word terrorism in turn derived from the Latin verb terrere (terreo) meaning "to frighten". The terror cimbricus was a panic and state of emergency in Rome in response to the approach of warriors of Cimbri tribe in 105 BCE.

 The Jacobins cited this precedent when imposing the reign of Terror during the French Revolution. After the Jacobins lost power, the word "terrorist" became a term of abuse.

Although "Terrorism" originally referred to acts committed by a government, currently it usually refers to the killing of innocent people for political purposes in such a way as to create a media spectacle. This meaning can be traced back to Serve Nechayev, who described himself as a "terrorist". Nechayev founded the Russian terrorist group “People’s Retribution” in 1869.

In November 2004, a Secretary General of the UNITED NATIONS report described terrorism as any act " intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non - combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act.

 

1.3            Statement of the Problem

In the Nigerian setting terrorism had taken various degrees and dimension this study is fashioned towards exposing terrorism and the Nigerian legal frame work towards tackling same.

 

Boko Haram

This organization referred to by themselves as Wilayat Gharb Ifriqiyyah (Islamic State West Africa Province, ISWAP), and Jama'at Ahl as - sunnah lid - Da'awah wa'l - Jihad ("Group of the people of sunnah for preaching and Jihad"), is an Islamic extremist group based in northeastern Nigeria, also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon. The group' s leader is Abubakar Shekau. The group had alleged links to al- Qaeda, but in March 2015, it announced its allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Since the current insurgency started in 2009, it has killed 20,000 and displaced 2.3 million from their homes and was ranked as the world’s deadliest terror group by the Global Terrorism Index in 2015.

After its founding in 2002, Boko Haram's increasing radicalization led to a violent uprising in July 2009 in which it's leader was summarily executed through extra judicial killing by State Actors.

Its unexpected resurgence, following a mass prison break in September 2010, was accompanied by increasingly sophisticated attacks, initially against soft targets, and progressing in 2011 to include suicide bombings of police buildings and the UNITED NATIONS office in Abuja.

The government's establishment of a state of emergency at the beginning of 2012, extended in the following year to cover the entire northeast of Nigeria, led to an increase in both Security force abuses and militant attacks.

Insurgency in the Niger Delta Region

The crisis in Nigeria's Oil rich Niger Delta region can be traced to years of neglect as evidenced by oil spillage without a scintilla of effort for clean up; an example can be drawn from the case of Ogoniland Oil spillage.

The territory of Ogoni is located in Rivers State on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, East of the city of Port Harcourt. It extends across the (LGAs) Khana, Gokhana, Element and Tae.

United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) estimated that it could take up to 30 years to rehabilitate Ogoniland to its full potential and that the first five years of rehabilitation would require refunding of about US $1 billion.

The UNEP report shows evidence of fifty years of Oil spillage in Ogoni.

The UNEP team over a period of 14 - month period, examined more than 200 locations, surveyed 122 kilometers of pipeline rights of way, received more than 5000 medical records and engaged over 23,000 people at local community meetings.

Detailed soil and groundwater contamination investigations were conducted at 69 sites, which ranged in size from 1, 300 square metres (Barabeedom - K. dere, Gokhana local government (LGA) to 79 hectares (Ajeokpori - Akpajo, Element LGA).

Altogether more than 4, 000 samples were analyzed, including water taken from 142 ground water monitoring Wells drilled specifically for the study and soil extracted from 780 boreholes.

In one community at Nisisioken Ogale, in western Ogoniland, families are drinking water from Wells that is contaminated with benzene - a known carcinogen - at levels over 900 times above World Health Organization guidelines. The site is close to a Nigerian National Petroleum Company Pipeline.

These and more are some of the compelling evidence of Negligence, breach of standard of reasonable care on the part of both Nigerian government and the oil companies; and we can safely postulate that the above mentioned led to the birthing of radical terror organizations like the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Niger Delta Volunteer force, Niger Delta Avengers and a host of others.

 

Assessment of Mend and Other Terrorist Organizations Operating in the Niger Delta and Beyond.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is one of the largest militant groups in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

The organization claims to expose exploitation and oppression of the people of the Niger Delta and devastation of the natural environment by Public - Private Partnerships between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Corporations involved in the production of Oil in the Niger Delta.

The Economist Magazine had described the organization as one that "portrays itself as a Political Organization that wants a greater share of Nigeria's Oil revenues to go to the impoverished region that sits atop the Oil.

 In fact, it is more of an umbrella organization for several armed groups, which it sometimes pays in cash or guns to launch attacks".

MEND had been linked to attacks on Petroleum operations in Nigeria as part of the conflict in the Niger Delta, engaging in actions including sabotage, theft, property destruction, guerrilla warfare, and kidnapping.

 

In January 2006 email, MEND warned the oil industry, "It must be clear that the Nigerian government cannot protect your workers or assests. Leave our land while you can or die in it.... Our aim is to totally destroy the capacity of the Nigerian government to export oil".

 

Former UNITED STATES Air force "counter terrorism" officer, technology analyst, and software entrepreneur, John Robb in a wired Magazine interview about the emergence of "open source guerrillas", alleged that MEND "doesn't even field its own guerrillas. They hire their experts and fighters mostly from criminal gangs and tribal warrior cults to do their operations".

 

1.4    Timeline of Mend Activities

Here's a synopsis of attacks launched by MEND

 

2006

On May 10, 2006 an executive with the UNITED STATES based oil company Baker Hughes was shot and killed in the South - Eastern city of Port Harcourt. At the time of the shooting, it was not immediately known if MEND had any involvement or not. Witnesses say the attacker appeared to be specifically targeting the US executive.

On June 2, 2006 a Norwegian rig offshore Nigeria was attacked and 16 crew members were kidnapped. According to the news agency Reuters, MEND has not taken responsibility for this attack.

On August 20, 2006, 10 MEND members were killed by the Nigerian military. The members were working on releasing a Royal Dutch Shell hostage. In an email to REUTERS MEND stated "Our response to Sunday's killings will come at our time, but for certain it will not go unpunished.

 

2007

On May 3, 2007, MEND seized eight foreigners from another offshore vessel. The hostages were released less than 24 hours later, stating they had intended to destroy the vessel and did not want more hostages.

23 May, 7 hostages were taken from a pipelayer barge of Nembe area of Bayelsa State they were released 23 days later, they included British Americans and one South African.

 

2008

On May 3, 2008, MEND militants attacked Shell operated pipelines in Nigeria, forcing the company to halt 170, 000 barrels per day of exports of Bonny Light Crude.

On September 14, 2008, MEND inaugurated the operation Hurricane Barbarossa with an ongoing string of militant attacks to bring down the oil industry in Rivers State.

2009

On June 18, MEND claimed they had blown up a Shell Pipeline, as a warning to then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev who was arriving Nigeria the next day and to any potential foreign investors.

November 24 MEND gunmen hijacked the oil carrier Cancale Star. 2 sailors were killed while another was wounded. When the gunmen fled the Ship one gunman was overpowered by the Ship's crew.

2010

August 27: High ranking MEND commander Soboma George was killed by some of his own Soldiers. His killers said they killed him because he ordered a hit on then Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi.

Octobet 1: Two bombs exploded at Abuja during a  parade. 12 killed 17 injured. Bomb was 1 kilometre away from then President Goodluck Jonathan. MEND claimed responsibility and also claimed to have sent warning in the form of an email to a journalist half - an - hour before the bombs detonated.

 

2011

March 16: A bomb exploded on an oil platform owned and operated by Agip in southern Nigeria. This is for the first MEND attack on a major bombing campaign.

October 13: 20 Russian sailors were kidnapped off oil vessel MT Cape Bird. All 20 sailors were later released.

2012

January 12: MEND militants bombed a hotel in Warri. No people were reported injured.

February 13: MEND gunmen shot dead the Captain and Chief Engineer of a Cargo Ship 180 kilometres (110 miles) off the coast of Nigeria.

2013

February 4: MEND militants hijacked a Filipino operated oil vessel near Bonny Island. 1 Sailor was killed and another was kidnapped.

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Pages: 40

Chapters: 1-5 (Complete)

Format: MS-Word



 

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