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Studying Nigeria’s ungoverned spaces

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Book title: Nigeria’s Ungoverned Spaces
Edited by: Richard A. Olaniyan and Rufus T.
Akinyele
Publishers: Obafemi Awolowo University
Press
Pagination: 154 pages
Year of publication: 2016
Reviewer: Badejo Adedeji Nurudeen

 

The term “Ungoverned Spaces” actually drew my attention to this book. Ungoverned spaces are those spaces in which officially recognised state institutions cannot exercise their full sovereignty, areas of limited or anomalous government control. In fact, an ungoverned space is a territory of violence and insecurity.

 

The book, Nigeria’s Ungoverned Spaces – Studies in Security, Terrorism and Governance, edited by Richard A. Olaniyan and Rufus T. Akinyele, has come at a right time due largely to the festering security situation in our dear country, most particularly the continued insurgency by the Boko Haram sect in the north-eastern part of the country. The 154-page book is divided into eight chapters, with nine contributors, mostly professors with diverse backgrounds, including history, legal, sociology, international relations, military intelligence etc. A compelling read is chapter three, aptly titled Eco-Violence or Transborder Terrorism: Revisiting Nigerian Pastoral Nomadic Fulani Question by the trio of Awogbade, Olaniyan and Faleye.

 

This chapter is illuminating on the dangerous trend of trans-border influx of pastoral Fulani groups into Nigeria. Despite the wide media publicity of the pastoral nomadic violence in Nigeria, it is rather disheartening that there seems to be a dearth of literatures focusing on understanding the pattern of behaviour within the context of ecological history and geopolitics. It is stated that the incessant clashes involving Fulani pastoralists can be associated with dwindling grazing lands.

 

It is dangerous and should be a concern to the government that, according to intelligence report, in comparison with the Boko Haram insurgency that kills an average of 2, 500 people annually, over 2, 000 people were killed in conflicts between the herdsmen and different host communities in 2015 alone. Indeed, the herdsmen menace has led to the death of about 3.7 million people in a period of 16 years in Adamawa state, among others. A well-known case is the kidnapping of Chief Olu Falae, an elder statesman, who was released after payment of ransom to his captors who were Fulani herdsmen.

 

This chapter highlights the environmental and ecological perspectives of the perennial pastoral Fulani crisis mostly between nomads and sedentary populations. In the study of ecological violence, it was asserted that large populations in many developing countries are highly dependent on four key environmental resources that are fundamental to crop production: fresh water, cropland, forests and fish.

 

The scarcity or shrinking of these resources as a result of misuse, overuse or degradation under certain circumstances will trigger off conflicts. It must be observed that though there are over 3.1 million hectares of potential fadama lands found along the flood plains of Niger, Benue, Sokoto, Rima and Yobe river systems, the nomadic pastoral Fulani violence indicates a breakdown of the traditional eco-social linkages due to climate change, population growth and land use.

 

On the economic and political sides, security and development in the northern region requires the attention of the government, while meaningful economic policies must be propagated and implemented to mitigate illiteracy, unemployment, poverty, vulnerability  and infrastructural development. The political class, on the other hand, must stop patronising religious sects for electoral purpose. Also, ethnic division across modern state boundaries, a legacy of colonial rule aided by the porosity of the Nigerian borders, has made it possible for foreigners who share ethnic and religious affinities with Nigerians to slip into the country and enlist or otherwise join the fanatics’ army.

 

 

A case in point was the Maitatsine rebellion led by Mohammed Marwa, a Cameroonian. Indeed, a whole book is required to do a definitive study on hard-line religious preaching in Nigeria, particularly in the north.

 

In Chapter 8, written by an expert, Tanwa Ashiru, a former intelligence analyst, United States Department of Defense (DoD), aptly titled Fixing Nigeria’s Broken Intelligence Agencies, the  Nigerian intelligence community’s performance is the focus.

 

 

Also, the chapter looks at the lack of information on Nigeria’s intelligence agencies like Department of State Services (DSS), Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and National Intelligence Agency (NIA), particularly on their websites, very unlike the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which has 267 entities in its World Fact book, providing trusted information on every country and geographical entity.

 

More than any aspect of the book, the chapter on intelligence gathering showcases our wrong tactics in the war against the Boko Haram insurgents. Counter insurgency is an intelligence-driven endeavour which focuses on facilitating understanding of the operational environment with emphasis on the populace, host nation and insurgents.

 

Anti-insurgency, on the other hand, involves more kinetic tactical operations necessary for dousing the insurgency. We should have geared our efforts towards focusing on improving the cultural awareness of the region that encouraged the Boko Haram movement due to extreme poverty, socio-economic challenges, high illiteracy rates, ethno-religious sentimentalism, poor border controls and nationalistic devotions.

 

The performance of our intelligence organisations leaves much to be desired. DSS in particular needs to move from just providing security to government and very important personalities, to a full intelligence gathering mechanism. DSS should not involve itself in prosecution but pure intelligence gathering. All of our intelligence gathering agencies are expected to perform optimally.

 

This is the best way we can win the war against insurgency. This is a well-researched book on security, terrorism and governance coming from the academic environment. It is well-packaged and edited; easy to read with references. This book should be a guide to our security and intelligence apparatus, and also generally as everyone needs to be security-conscious. With tact, planning and proper intelligence gathering, we will win the anti-insurgency war.

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Arts & Entertainments

Vandora, Dee One, Princess, Bitto evicted from BBNaija

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Princess and Bitto, Vandora and Dee One have become the first four housemates to be evicted from the Big Brother Naija reality show.

Big Brother had paired the housemates in strategic partnerships for the duration of their stay in the house, which meant that two people will suffer the consequences of the actions of one person and vice versa.

Dee One received his first warning strike over his insensitive jokes. This, by extension, affected Vandora who is his partner.

Princess and Bitto were also sent packing from the third season of the reality show tagged ‘Double Wahala’.

Apart from the first set of evicted housemates, Khloe and Kbrule were also disqualified from the show on Sunday night.

Both were disqualified after they had received three warning strikes.

Khloe got her second warning strike for using “strong abusive curse words”. This affected Kbrule, who is her strategic partner.

The housemates were extremely emotional and tearful as they were told to leave the house.

The remaining housemates are competing for N45 million on this season’s BBNaija.

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Arts & Entertainments

Khloe, Kbrule disqualified from BBNaija

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Khloe and Kbrule, housemates in the ongoing Big Brother Naija reality TV show, have been disqualified from the show.

This makes them the first set of people to leave the show.

Both were disqualified after they got three warning strikes.

Khloe got her second warning strike on Sunday for using “strong abusive curse words”. This affected Kbrule, who is her strategic partner.

Kbrule then got his third warning strike for using “strong threatening words and attempting to physically harm a fellow housemate”.

Dee One also got his first warning strike for his insensitive jokes. This, by extension, affected Vandora who is his strategic partner.

The first eviction show is supposed to hold on Sunday evening.

18 housemates have been put up for eviction except KSquared, who have now been disqualified, and LeoLex.

Big Brother had told housemates that almost all of them had been nominated for possible eviction because of their repeated failure to adhere to the rules of the house.

Since the housemates are in pairs, two of them may possibly be evicted at the weekend during the live show.

 

 

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Arts & Entertainments

BB Naija: Miracle, Nina allegedly having sex, Nigerians react

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Nigerians are currently reacting to Big Brother Naija housemates, Miracle and Nina who appeared to be having intercourse while others were asleep.

Their actions have since elicited different reactions on social media with some saying it is wrong for them to have gone the extra mile while others see nothing wrong in the act labelling those criticising them hypocrites.

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