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Terrorism: Genesis, Causes, Effect, and Solution - By Alh. Femi Abbas SMs only 0811 570 8536

“In Yoruba ancient mythology, a dragon fly dancing on the surface of a stream was believed to symbolize a puzzling omen. But convinced that killing the fly would not remove the omen, the elders in that vicinity consulted an oracle which disclosed that the dancing dragon fly had its drummer beneath the water. Unless that drummer could be identified and stopped from drumming, the dragon fly might continue to frighten the stream water drawers with its puzzling dance ad infinitum”.

Historical Factors

“The historical factors that gave rise to terrorism clearly transcend religion. When the first act of terrorism was perpetrated by a Jewish Zealot group, over 2,000 years ago, neither Christianity nor Islam had taken any firm root. Although Prophet Isa (Jesus) had come and gone by then, his divine mission had not effectively reached the Gentile. And Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who later brought Islam to mankind had not been born. If violence alone is what constitutes terrorism as many people wrongly tend to believe, then, it never emanated from religion though religion had sometimes been used as a cover up and blamed for it. No genuine message from Allah ordains or supports violence of any form among human beings. Therefore, the engendered terrorism by the Jewish Zealots in year 06 CE was rather a violent expression of resentment for the domination of the Jews by the Roman Gentile than a fight between two religions (see Luke 6:15, Acts 1: 13 and Mathew 10: 4 for confirmation in the St. James edition of the Bible). By connotation, that resentment was a resistance to exploitative domination of a culture by another culture. Thus, as it was in the beginning, so it is today. 

The Theory of Terrorism

From the brief historical account just given above, it should be clear that terrorism is neither a phenomenon peculiar to the modern time nor a new innovation rooted in religion. Its causes and effects remain the same today as they were some centuries back. What should be understood about terrorists’ method of operation is that any evil doer will simply look for a justifying reason to indulge in. It does not matter to them whether such reason is tenable or untenable. Invariably, the reason often given is one that appeals to people of like minds at least in the immediate vicinity. This is to elicit sympathy and support of feeble-minded elements around with tendency for roguery. The common denominator among all terrorists is the theory of “using what you have to get what you want”. This theory has a fundamental meaning to all peaceful or violent agitators in their quest for what they often call redress against what they perceive as injustice”.

Beyond Boko Haram

“It is not only in Nigeria that some vandals like Boko Haram and Akhwat Akwop are using religion (Islam and Christianity respectively) as cover for terrorism. At least the case of Joseph Kony of Uganda who waged a rebellious war on his country and on Central Africa Republic for decades ‘in the name of Jesus’ can still be vividly remembered. For over two decades of his atrocious operations, that former Catholic altar boy from northern Uganda used Biblical Ten Commandments to execute his terrorist activities with which he recruited thousands of kids into his army and killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent people including women and children indiscriminately. At least for that calamitous period, Joseph Kony and his over 3,000 heavily armed teenage soldiers that constituted a terror army in the region were a minority group among Ugandan Christians just as the devilish Boko Haram members in Nigeria are a minority group claiming to be Muslims and using Islam as a cover. Yet, Kony’s evil activities did not make him a crusader for God as he claimed neither was Christianity blamed for his satanic activities”.“Anybody can give any religious or mundane reason to justify any evil activity, according to his or her interpretation of the religion or ideology he claims to profess in order to get what he/she wants. But that does not make such an evil agent a true adherent or representative of his claimed religion or ideology”. “The concern here is much more about national security, through safety of lives and property than flagrant apportionment of blame through sheer religious sentiment”.

Origin of Atomic Bomb

“In modern time, the origin of using bomb either as a weapon for war or as an instrument for terrorism can be traced back to 1939. In August that year, a German American physicist, Albert Einstein, sent a letter to the then U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to hint him of the possibility of discovering a powerful explosive device through the fission of uranium and warned Roosevelt of the danger in allowing other nations to develop it before the US. In response, the U.S. government established the top secret Manhattan Project in 1942 to develop an atomic device. The leader of that Project was a U.S. Army Brigadier General Leslie R. Groves whose team worked in several locations but largely at Los Alamos, New Mexico, under the direction of American physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. The team designed and built the first atomic bomb which was test-exploded at Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16, 1945. And that was the weapon used by the US to destroy Japan’s two cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the World War II an incident that brought that war to an abrupt end.

Non-Proliferation Treaty

“Following the above episode, the fear of proliferation of nuclear arsenal compelled the so-called super powers to initiate the idea of non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty which was signed in 1968. By that initiative, virtually all countries of the world besides the known nine nuclear nations formally pledged not to manufacture those weapons. The pledge was made under the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which came into force in 1970. The treaty was later ratified by 187 non-nuclear weapon states. Yet, secret proliferation of those weapons remains one of the major causes of terrorism in the world today”.

Global Concern

:”The problem concerning terrorism here is not about the signing or breaching of treaty per se. Neither is it about armament reduction. It is rather about some nations’ determination to balance power with rivals. This was the factor that led to the invention of atomic bomb by the US in the first instance. And this factor has now advanced to the stage of balance of terror not only among nations but even more between those perceived as oppressors and certain groups who feel oppressed. Thus, the more the knowledge of developing weapons of mass destruction keeps spreading, and the more the strategy for policing proliferation of nuclear weapons becomes intensified, the more the world  finds it difficult to ventilate a peaceful atmosphere for any confident existence of mankind”. 

The Super Power Syndrome

“The lopsidedness created by the super power syndrome has turned the whole world into one massive animal farm in which all animals are supposed to be equal but some are claiming to be more equal than others. This was the kind of situation which forced the former colonies to rebel against their colonizers in various ways in order to become independent. One can imagine what could have happened if other super powers like Russia and China were to be as aggressively bellicose as the US, Britain and France. Arrogance of power is a major propelling force that often instigates terrorism in various parts of the world, which must be shed if terrorism is to be sincerely repelled. Today, terrorism has so much become an implacable monster that no single country or clique of power mongers can confront it without the cooperation of all other countries. And such cooperation must be on the terms of majority of those other countries and not on master/servant terms”. 

Internal Terrorism

“As for internal terrorism which is far more dangerous than the external one, only good governance can curb it and ventilate the atmosphere for peace”. “No government has ever been able to defeat terrorism by the use of force. Nigeria cannot be an exception. Wherever terrorism is seen to have simmered, diplomacy and dialogue, rather than force, must have played a vital role in its dysfunction. This fact must be considered very seriously. In finding solution, to these three major hitherto unfocused areas must now be handled without levity. One is checkmating sources of weapons used by the terrorists. Another is creation of mass employments for the youths. And the third is the official regulation of religious propagation in the country to check possible excesses that often breed fanaticism as well as the danger in commercialization of religion. Managing these three areas will definitely make tremendous difference in curbing the spate of violence in the land”.


“Despite our diversity in tongues and faiths in Nigeria, we have managed to come this far and have lived together in harmony as a people. What remains is the maintenance of that togetherness based on tolerance and compromise. We must not allow religious or tribal sentiments to destroy the house which the Almighty Allah has guided us to jointly build. God bless Nigeria!

By Femi Abbas in a lecture, he was not allowed to deliver at a programme by Christian Association of Nigeria:  ‘Terrorism: Genesis, Causes, Effect and Solution’


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