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NIGERIA FOREIGN POLICY AND NATIONAL SECURITY,A CASE STUDY OF NIGERIA AND CAMEROON,2000-2014
Fundamentally, the first goal of virtually every Independent State is to provide a reasonable amount of Security for its citizens. With some notable exceptions, such as tyrannies that deliberately implant suspicion and fear among their citizens, governments tend to view individual and group security as important in their own right and as prerequisites for the achievement of all other worthwhile ends (Magstadt, 2006: 380-389). Aristotle and Thomas Hobbes are among the influential political philosophers who argued most strenuously that safety from harm constituted the chief justification for a government existence. Aristotle posits that once a State has arisen, the inhabitants of that State arrange for a constitution or government. A constitution, politeia, for Aristotle, is the arrangement of powers in a State, especially of the supreme power and the constitution makes the government whose cardinal aim is to protect life and property, or provide security for its citizens. Jeremy Bentham had identified four “subordinate ends” of legislation namely: the ends to provide subsistence, to produce abundance, to favour equality, and to maintain security, which produced “the greatest happiness of the greatest number.” However, security was juxtaposed to the top of the hierarchy of government, since it is “the foundation of life” on which everything depends (Bentham, 1950:96-7; Dean, 1991:187-8). Barker (1962:5) observes that though Aristotle may have stressed other, higher, aims of politics, he also understood clearly that the first goal of political life was the protection of life itself. In the same vein, Thomas Hobbes contends that once a State had been established through the covenant, there emerges political society and government simultaneously by one consent, and that government is a solution to man’s natural State, where man’s life, in the popular Hobbessian conception, was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”, and in which sovereigns have “their eyes fixed on one another, that is their forts, garrisons and guns upon the frontiers of their kingdoms, and continual spies upon their neighbours, which is a posture of war.” In the view of Rousseau (cited in Asirvatham and Misra, 2005:55), “government is “a living tool”. It is the practical organization of the State through which the will of the State is formulated, expressed and realized. Thus, and as Eminue (2001:178) remarked, “every State must have a government – that is, public institutions or machinery for accomplishing State purposes- one of which is the protection of life and property”.
At independence, national security became a commonplace expression in the vocabulary of Nigerian government and politics. Protecting Nigerians from foreign and domestic enemies was the highest national priority. Put differently, safeguarding the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the State was the central pillar of Nigeria’s national security policy. Thus, section 14(2) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria states, inter alia that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of the government.” Recently, there have been several instances of violence occasioned by a spate of suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism or insurgency leading to the loss of hundreds of innocent lives and property in many parts of Nigeria, in particular, security threats posed by the activities of the Boko Haram (BH) sect domiciled in parts of Nigeria’s Northern States just as militant groups in the Southern States of the Federation (the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in the Niger Delta region, the O’odua People’s Congress (OPC) in the South-West and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in the South East) have been a source of concern not only to Nigerian citizens but also to the Federal Government and its security agents.
This article examines the world-view and terrorists activities of BH sect and their implications for Nigeria’s national security, within the context of the projected Islamization of Nigeria and BH’s portrayal of Islam as “a fighting creed.”
The Constructivist approach or a Three-level Security framework propounded by Barry Buzan is relevant to the study. In this thought-provoking work, People, States and Fear: An Agenda for International Security Studies in the Post-Cold War Era (1991), Buzan examines security from the three perspectives of the international system, the State, and the individual, and argues that the most important and effective provider of security should remain the sovereign State. According to Buzan, where the State is assumed to be the main referent in the study of security, one has to first ask these pertinent questions: what constitute a State?, what is the nature of a State? Eminue (2001) has defined a State as “a politically organized body of the people occupying a definite territory, living under a government and incorporating sovereignty”. Corroborating the above assertion, Naidoo (2001) posits that “using the conventional interpretation, a State is made up of a government, people, territory and sovereignty”. These definitions accord perfectly with the definition and constitution of statehood as have been enshrined in the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States. Naidoo (2001) explains further thus:
the whole (that is the State), comprising all its constituent parts has a reciprocal relationship with the individual parts. The State cannot be secure if its constituent parts are insecure or unstable. At the same time, if the State as the institution representing its constituent parts is weak or insecure in relation to other States, its elements will also be affected by such weakness or insecurity
Buzan, therefore, considers the nature of the State in order to be able to understand the security of “larger and more complicated entities” that are “more amorphous in character”. Buzan takes this consideration of the essence of the State all the way to a figure provided in his work, which represents the idea of the State, the physical base of the State and the institutional expression of the State on the three points of a triangle. This makes it clear that the components of the State cannot be discussed as security issues alone, but that they are interlinked and that the examination of the linkages among them is a fruitful source of insight into the national security problem.
Ideas that hold the State together and on which political institutions are build are nationalism and political ideology. Anything that threatens these ideas ultimately threatens the stability of political order. Such threats might be targeted at the existing structure of government or at the territorial integrity of the State or at the existence of the State itself.
As Buzan et al (1998:150) succinctly observe,
Existential threats to a State are those that ultimately involve sovereignty, because sovereignty is what defines a State as a State. Threats to State survival are therefore threats to sovereignty.
The territory of the State constitutes the physical base of the State, and most threats targeted at the physical base of the State must be military, economic and environmental in character. The basic institutions of the State comprise the Legislature, the Executive, the Judiciary, the Civil Service and the military.
According to Buzan (1991:118 ff):
Nigeria can be guided by the Anti-terrorism policy as spelt out by Wilkinson (1993) which entails the following (albeit, with some modifications): no surrender to terrorists; an absolute determination to defeat terrorists; no deals with and no concessions to terrorists; intensified effort to bring terrorists to justice; tough measures to punish State sponsors. We can borrow from the United States President W. H. Bush the “Anti-Terrorism Strategy” called “the 4D Strategy”: “Defeat, Deny, Diminish and Defend” of 29 January 2002.. This Strategy which could be modified for use in the Nigerian context entails firstly, “calls for defeating terrorist organizations” of global reach through the direct or indirect use of diplomatic, economic, information, law enforcement, military, financial, intelligence and other instruments of power;
Secondly, it entails denying terrorists the sponsorship, support, and sanctuary that enable them to exist, gain strength, train, plan, and execute their attacks. Nigeria must join in the International campaign against terrorist financing – Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Finance of Terrorism – which is summarized by the acronym “AML/CFT”. Since money is the lifeblood of all terrorist operations, stopping or blocking payment is a sure way of disorganizing and defeating BH. Nigeria already criminalizes money laundering, but given the wave of BH bombings, efforts to organizationally strangulate, financially amputate and socially isolate the BH sect need to be intensified along the lines of acquisition of necessary anti-money laundering skills and data processing capacity by financial intelligence units and other financial institutions; freezing of all assets and bank accounts of known BH terrorists and sponsors; monitoring of possible cash couriers and alternative remittance systems outside the formal banking system; strict compliance with cash reporting requirements in consonance with modern electronic banking system; blocking of suspicious fund-raising activities by individuals and groups with fictitious/doubtful identity; following all monies transferred from and to charities to authenticate their sources, destination and the propriety of their use and apprehension and prosecution of all patrons, sponsors and operatives of the BH sect, no matter how highly placed they may be (Sharman in Bellamy et.al 2008:77-189);
Thirdly, there is a need for diminishing the underlying conditions (such as poverty, unemployment, educational backwardness, deprivation, social disenfranchisement, etc) that tend to make under-privileged Nigerians vulnerable exploitation. Fourthly, defending Nigeria’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and its national interests at home and abroad; including the protection of the secular status of Nigeria, its populace and the protection of its democratic principles.
Fifthly, there should be no dialogue with BH terrorists. One of the fundamental principles in the war on terror is that there must be no compromise with terrorists. Even though the Goodluck Jonathan administration has been severally criticized for using exclusively military means to tackle the BH menace, Government should remain focused in its resolve to stamp out religious bigotry from the society. In any case, BH does not even make itself amenable, even if Government was willing to dialogue with it. It takes two to tangle. Apart from the elusiveness of BH’s leadership, its self-confessed unwillingness to negotiate would be another serious obstacle, for as BH’s spokesman, Abu Qaqa, has unequivocally stated:
We will consider negotiation only when we have brought the Government to their knees (sic). Once we have seen that things are being done according to the dictates of Allah, and our members are released (from prison), we will only put aside our arms – but we will not lay them down. You don’t put down your arms in Islam, you only put them aside (Mark, 2012).
H0: Nigeria’s foreign policy does not have a significant impact on national security
H1: Nigeria’s foreign policy have a significant impact on national security
There was limited time and finance during the research
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