1.1 Background to the study
The entire world today is confronted with a plethora of challenges emanating from conflicts that pose direct threat to international and national peace, security, and development. Doubtless, despite their local origin, these conflicts constitute global concerns because when they occur, their impact can spread across borders. Societies irrespective of location value security as it’s the bedrock upon which socio-economic growth and development take place, hence, society must evolve ways of maintaining security whenever conflicts occur. Before the 19th century, terrorism was based on political, religious, or ideological or socio economic events which occurred within the national borders. However, by late 19th century, the world had witnessed an upsurge in political violence by terrorist groups, which respects no national borders and aim at undermining targeted sovereign states or re-ordering life according to their chosen ideological world view (Parachinni, 1999). The attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 by a terrorist group known as Al-Qaeda re-awakened the world to the threat posed by the phenomenon to international peace and security. In view of this, many nations both developed and developing that had never considered terrorism as a serious social and political issue began to do so after the September 11, 2001 attack (Mbanefo, 2005). It also renewed the interests of stakeholders in fighting terrorism anywhere it could be found in the world (Bolaji, 2010:208). However, fighting terrorism is no tea party because it entails a lot of financial commitments. Corroborating Bolaji’s submission, Akanji (2007) asserted that while terrorism was not a major issue in the past, its present-day widespread use has generated unprecedented efforts to understand it. The terrorist acts of 11 September 2001 transformed the general global attitude towards terrorism, and were a major factor in causing both local and international communities to agree about the need to address it. Terrorism is now an international security issue which has united the United States and its partners across Europe, Africa and Asia in mobilising their resources to combat it. On September 11, 2001, nineteen members of the al Qaeda terrorist group hijacked four U.S. commercial airliners and flew two of them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania. More than three thousand people were killed and thousands more injured as a result of these devastating attacks, which caught the United States and the rest of the world by surprise. After spending years on the back burner, the term "terrorism" captured the world's attention. It caused a media frenzy and spread fear and insecurity among the American public at a rate unparalleled since the early days of the cold war. Dobbins (2011:15) agreed with the above by submitting that: The September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was unprecedented in the scale of its destruction and the immediacy of its visual impact. Americans had heard or read about other historical disasters, but this was the first to be witnessed by hundreds of millions of citizens as it occurred. The impact on American policy was correspondingly dramatic and long lasting. The United State September 11 attacks made the United States to respond with the declaration of the War on Terrorism. The United State invaded Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, who had harboured al-Qaeda terrorists. As a result of this event many countries also strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded law enforcement powers. The 9/11 attacks saw America taken some very drastic steps like the enactment of the Patriot Act in 2001 and the listing of some organizations as terrorist groups. Late Osama Bin Laden who lived in Sudan before he left in 1998, was said to have sponsored the attacks. In 2002 the US declared the War on Terror (WOT) and she states that any country or continent that is not with America is definitely against her and so will be treated as an enemy. The War on Terror was sold to all countries in the world and through the United Nations Organization (UN) all member nations were co-opted into the WOT (Mohammed, 2011:12). Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, President of the 61st session of the General Assembly Launching the United Nation Global Counter Terrorism Strategy on 19th September 2006 declares: “The passing of the resolution on the United Nations Global Counter Terrorism Strategy with its annexed Plan of Action by 192 Member States represents a common testament that we, the United Nations, will face terrorism head on and that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, must be condemned and shall not be tolerated (UN General Assembly plenary, 2010:19).” This was indicative that the war against terrorism is not just an American war as people tend to ascribe it, but a global war which all and sundry are part of. There exist divergent views as regard the history of terrorism in Nigeria, while some believed that it dated back to 1952 when there were severe killings in Kano powered by misconstrued and misdirected politicians (Eboh, 2010), some argued that terrorism in Nigeria started with the Niger Delta militants (Tunde, 2007).