By Charles Nwabardi
Before delving deeply into this discourse, it is pertinent for an insight to be drawn from some key words. Terrorism and National Development are the points of focus. Terrorism is an act of terror. The perpetrators of terrorism instill fear in the citizens of a Nation. The New Method English Dictionary defines terrorist as a person or thing that causes great fear. The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary gives the meaning of terror as a violent action or threat that is intended to cause fear usually for political purpose.
National as a word means an entire nation. Therefore, National development by any definition presupposes change for the betterment of citizens. It means progress.
According to the West Indian Scholar, Walter Rodney, development in human society is a many-sided process. At the individual level, it implies increased skill and capacity, greater freedom, creativity, self-discipline, responsibility and material well-being. The achievement of these mentioned aspects of personal development is very much tied to the state of the society as a whole. It becomes clearer to say that development involves the creation of opportunities for the realization of human potentials.
Looking closely at the above insights, Terrorism and National Development are two sides of the coin as the former is obsessed in plotting to bring total set back to a Nation just like in Nigeria today; while the latter means good for the citizenry. Nigeria is a developing country which is still facing the challenges of lack of development caused by the military that held political power for more than thirty years. However, a sigh of freedom came in 1999 when Nigeria embraced democracy but today the story is entirely different as the citizenry is being choked by terrorism.
The level of terror masterminded by terrorists mostly in the different parts of Northern Nigeria is worrisome. For instance, the Nyanya bombing in the Federal Capital Territory on April 14, 2014 is notably a fearful incident. More than 100 people died during the bomb incident. Greater number of people have been dying till date from targeted attacks by Islamic State Of West Africa (ISWAP) and Boko Haram terrorists in Yobe, Bornu, Niger, Adamawa, and many other states in the Northern parts of Nigeria. Moreso, government institutions, Police Stations, Army Barracks, Churches, Schools, Hotels and Bars, schools have been targets of the terrorists.
The ugly effects of terrorism as bane to Nigeria’s development are of various facets. There are internally displaced million persons (IDP) in so many areas affected by terrorism in Nigeria. People fled their homes and become homeless. Farms and other means of lively hoods are abandoned. People of school age are cut off from schools. Lives are lost daily. Police, soldiers and other security operatives are ambushed and slaughtered!
There are kidnappings and armed banditry everywhere. Commuters are waylaid, killed while many are abducted. Worse still, the money that would have been used for meaningful national development are being expended in war against terrorism.
How can Nigeria forge ahead with development when terrorists have sworn to destroy Nigeria? I would not want to declare that development in Nigeria is stand-still but the conditions in which Nigerians live now, can tell the story better. There is abject poverty. Prices of goods and services have gone so high that most people can no longer afford them. At individual level, there is no more room for increased skill and capacity building, greater freedom, creativity, self discipline, responsibility and material well- being. Many marriages and homes are destroyed.
Therefore, terrorism, an enemy of development must be seen as an enemy to Nigeria and be condemned and fought by all; not only the security operatives because terrrorism does not know religion, tribe, sex or profession.