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The recent terrorist attacks have been analyzed principally from the following perspectives namely: terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism, clash of civilization and finally an attack against the free world by the emerging rise of Islamic civilization. Whilst it has been analysed from the international perspective this write up will seek to examine the incident from the Nigerian perspective. The issue is whether Nigeria should remain passive or active in the current fight against terror. Nigeria cannot be caught unawares. We should reflect about our own identity as Nigerians with divergent views and competing interests. Nigerians should come to a common stand. The enemy is unknown with no defined territory or government as known to modern day statehood. Just as there are some Nigerians who share the enthusiasm of the American led free world there are other Nigerians who also share the ideals of Bin laden on the call for the globalization of the Islam. If we support the Americans in their wars against bin laden we should at the same accommodate the freedom of others to disagree with our support. We should at the same time donate relief materials to our Islamic brethrens who are dying of hunger and other diseases in Afganistan. Gadafi of Libya who is anti west and pro islam had offered to assist America in locating Bin laden whilst at the same time donated relief materials to the suffering masses of Afganistan.


Islamic scholars have vehemently argued that fundamentally or terrorism is not restricted to the Islamic world alone . They had argued that the spread of Christianity through out Europe was not by peaceful negotiations and agreements but by wars, persecution and violence. The word crusade was associated with Christian violence and wars. Some have gone further to argue that it was the western civilization that produced People like Hittler, Mussoveni, Stalin , Napoleon and two major world wars. It is therefore not correct to assert that Islam is a religion of the sword and violence.
The characteristics of both western and Islamic civilisation were identified by Western scholars as follows :
On the one hand, islamic civilization is seen as the cohesion of the family, the tribe and the merger of culture, religion, state and Empire .On a larger scale, social, political and economic structures are treated as one or in other words intertwined. Islamic fundamentalism as a revolutionary movement rejects the notion of Nation state in favor of unity of Islam. Unification of the whole Moslem world into a single entity is one of the strong beliefs and aims of Bin Laden. Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and others were treated as no true followers of Islam and hence the clash within the Islamic world itself on the one hand and the rest of the world on the other hand. State and religion are all treated as one as opposed to the western world where state and religion have been separated.
In addition to the above, possible causes of religious violence amongst Islamic countries were listed as :
1. Islam from the start was a religion of the sword and it glorifies military virtues, Islam originated among Bedouin nomadic warring tribe. 2. From its origin in Arabia, the spread across northern Africa and much of the middle East and later to central Asia and the Balkans were based on conquest and conversion. 3.Islamic countries do not accomodate minorities. Islam is an absolute faith. 4. States struggle to become leader of Islam such as Saudi Arabia Iran, Pakistan, Turkey and potentially Indonesia. 5.In the Islamic societies, population is exploding.
On the other hand the Christian world evolved through the process of separating state and religion which climaxed with the Theology of Thomas Aquinas in his acclaimed "summa theologica". The qualities and indices of western historical development and civilization were listed as Roman Catholicism, Feudalism, Renaissance, Age of Reason, Reformation, over-seas expansion and colonization and the enlightenment and emergence of nation state. The modern day distinctive features of Western civilization were listed as religion, language, separation of church and state, rule of law, sound pluralism, representative bodies and individualism. What the above criteria is not telling us is whether most of these indices are completely absent in other civilizations. Some scholars using the above indices classified EU as Christian states citing their refusal to admit Turkey the only Islamic state. They based their argument on the fact that since Turkey is the only Islamic state as a potential candidate for the E.U, their admission would lead to clash of civilization. Following the Byzentine disagreements, Christian Europe was divided between Eastern Orthodox and western Catholicism and later Protestantism. During the cold war, it was the Christian west and the communist east, With the collapse of communism, a new cultural divide between Europe marked by western Christianity, Orthodox and Islamic traditions emerged . Ancient cultural divide and fault lines re- emerged.


The above classifications and causes are debatable. The happening in America seemed on the surface as mindless killing in a country thousand of miles away and with no direct impact or link to Nigeria.

The Americans and their allies in EU and NATO would prefer to classify the destructive incident in New York and Washington as the actions of Islamic fundamentalists determined to destroy the free world. Britain, France, Germany and others have described the attack as an attack not just on America but also on the whole Free world. The members of the free world were not defined. Does the free world include Russia, Africa, Asia, the Arabic countries and Latin America etc? One may conclude that any member of the United Nation is a member of the Free world. This will include also members of the Arab world and their sympathizers. The Security Council of the United Nations and NATO described the attack on America as an act of war on America. America as a Nation seems to have accepted the responsibility of defending herself and the “free world” using her own definition, means and force. However America seeks the support of the allies from the Arabic Islamic countries, Russia, China, and the entire comity of Nations for this defence of the “free world”. One issue that has arisen from the current event is sensitivity to choice of words. The Americans called their planned retaliation operation “infinite justice” and were compelled by the Arab world to change the terminology to operation “enduring freedom” and to re-emphasize that the enemy is not Islam but terrorists organizations sponsored by bin Laden who would be "smoked out of their holes". President Bush used the word “crusade” and he was attacked for using this word as it connoted the equivalent of the Christian attacks on the Moslem and other world. The Italian Prime Minister more recently asserted that Western civilisation was superior to the Islamic civilization. He was compelled by public outcry to withdraw the assertion. The Talibans and other Islamic groups across the Middle East and Asia are questioning the American definition of terrorism and Free world. Within the context of the Middle East conflict the Arabic world would classify Israel and their allies as the terrorist whilst the Israelis would classify the PLO as the terrorists.



The successful attacks were against specific symbols of American life: “the World Trade Center New York” which stands for democratic capitalism and globalization and the Pentagon in Washington which stands for America as the only surviving super power. For the Western world Bin Laden stands for fundamentalism, terrorism and global Islam while America stands for the enlightenment project of a global market and democratic capitalism. Each one has gotten its own arguments for and against and its followers. Despite their disagreements the Western and the Arabic world are against using terrorism as a means of propagating bin Ladens ideals. What does not command universal acceptance is that terrorism against American goals and ideals is justifiable . The American goals and ideals of enlightenment can be summarized as follows:
Democratic capitalism will soon be accepted all over the world. A global free market will become a reality. The manifold economic cultures and systems that the world has always contained would become redundant. They would be merged into a single free market. Transnational organizations have sought to impose free markets into the economic life of societies throughout the whole world. A single global market is the enlightenment's project of a universal civilization. John Gray, a British professor of European thoughts, called this an utopia following the former Soviet Union enlightenment utopia of universal civilization in which markets were replaced by central planning. The cost of the American experiment have resulted in over 100m peasants becoming migrants laborers in China, joblessness of tens of millions in advanced societies, near capitalist anarchy in the old communist block, over hanging debt burden in African and other less/least developed countries.
A global free market presupposes that economic modernization means the same thing everywhere. That the parties, opportunities, economic and technological means are equal. However it spurns indigenous type of capitalism that owe little to any western model. Market economies are as divergent as you find in China, Japan and Russia. The role of WTO is to project a free market into the economic life of every nation or society. It does so by trying to compel adherence to the rules which releases free markets. John Gray in his book “False dawn” proposes that the attempt to impose the Anglo-American-style free market on the world will create a disaster on the scale of Soviet Communism. He summarized his arguments thus: That global economic system will collapse because it is immoral, inequitable unworkable and unstable. He concluded that the movement towards free market, goods and ideas is not a naturally occurring process but rather a political process that rests on American power.
Huntington, another western scholar, attacked the above concept of universal values arguing that it leads to dualism of civilization and barbarism. He argued that all civilized people have the same basic value and want the same things. There are evils and goods that are universally human. Security from violent death and starvation cuts across all civilization. “Universalisation is immoral because it leads to imperialism” (Huntington). This statement appears to be true both for the Bin Laden concept of a global or universal Islam , the American concept of a global or universal enlightenment or Global Market and the call by Major General Buhari (rtd) for a universal sharia for the Nigerian State.
The background to the happening can be analyzed from age-long theories events and happening from time immemorial till date. You can analyse it from the dialectics. Plato in his dialogue sought to investigate truth using the dialectical method. Hegel applied the word to his philosophical system postulating that the evolution of ideas occurs through dialectical process and Karl Marx applied the same concept of dialectical method to social and economic processes. Many scholars had argued that Gorbechov failed in his Perestroika because he failed to conceptualize the new dawn in the context of the dialectical method and left a vacuum, which swept him into oblivion. Gorbechov’s omissions created what John Gray referred to as “False dawn” and Huntington called it “clash of civilization”. A new dimension had been introduced into the dialectical world of ours. It combines the previous dialectics and emphasized the imposition of religion and culture on other civilization. People fight wars to establish their culture and religion. VERDI aptly captured this in his song of the Egyptian slaves ,NABUCCO: “people fight any war only to prove how right they are and they will never be free, I wonder how they fail to see that it is never important who is right if you loose your soul inside.”


The current senseless killings based on religious beliefs all over the world can be described as a post cold war phenomena in a world still inhabited by Homo sapiens. In the case of Nigeria, it is not a post cold war phenomenon but rather internal anachronistic forces such as religious intolerance, struggle for power, resource control, feudalism and materialism. From the global perspective, old suppressed nationalities now assert their rights to self-determination using culture and religion as the basis for identification. From the Nigerian perspective, ethnic minorities using culture and religion as basis for identification now assert their right to self-determination. The right to self-determination is not breaking away from the entity known as Nigeria but asserting their right to power and wealth popularly referred to in Nigeria as right to the National cake, power rotation, resource control and democratic dividend etc. This was seen with the breaking up of the old Soviet block across Eastern Europe. Statistics in that part of the world clearly show the emergence of religion and culture as the basis of nationalistic identities. For some inexplicable reason, based on religion and culture Nigeria is caught up in the fight for self-determination by various ethnic and religious groups. You now have cultural, religious, ethnic and generation conflicts between the Hausa Fulani and the urban dwellers across the entire middle belt region. The current flash points are Jos, Tiv-Jukun Ilorin, Bauchi, Kaduna and Kano states. However what is disturbing in the current events is that the civilized world classified Nigeria as a "FAULT LINE" Country in the new threat to world peace posed by religious intolerance and age long tribal or ethnic wars. The Financial Times and the Economist years ago classified Nigeria, Indonesia, Pakistan and Malaysia as Fault-line countries. Various scholars and authors followed that argument. An American author, Karl Maier, entitled his book “Midnight in Nigeria-This House has Fallen”. Nigeria cannot be truly described as a Moslem, Christian, Arabic, or Western civilization. The estimated population of 120 million Nigerians is distributed almost proportionally amongst Christian and Islamic civilizations. Caught between the two are the fault-line states of which Nigeria has been named as one. The question then is: Is Nigeria truly on the Fault-line? Fault line characteristics are listed as: 1. Wars between clans, tribes, ethnic groups, religious communities and nations rooted in identity struggle. The conflicts seem to be particularistic in that they do not involve broader ideological or political issues of direct interest to the rest of the world except arousing humanitarian concerns as was seen in the Balkans, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Burundi. They tend to be lengthy, vicious, and bloody and may be interrupted by truces or agreements which tend to break down with the resumption of the conflict. 2. Fault-line conflicts are conflicts between states or groups from different Civilization. They are violent conflicts. Fault-line conflict within states may involve groups, which are predominantly located in geographically distinct areas. This may involve the struggle for power and refusals to accept the ruling Government by either of the parties. 3. Fault-line conflicts are struggle for control of power, more frequently control of territory leading to ethnic cleansing. They are protracted conflicts involving fundamental issues of group identity and power and they are difficult to resolve through negotiations and compromise.

Fault-line wars in the last century occurred between Arabs and Israelis, Indians and Pakistanis, Sudanese Moslems and Christians, Sri-lankan Buddhist and Tamils, Lebanese Shiites and Maronites, Serbs, Croats and Bosnians,Muslim Turks and Greek Orthodox in Cyprus, Turkey and Armenia in the Caucasus. In Europe you have the separatists movements in Spain and the United Kingdom. Using the above definition and citing ETA and IRA, one can conclude that both Britain and Spain are fault-line countries. If a man is an animal and a goat is an animal, it follows that a man is equal to a goat. Definitions are relative and controvertible. The same applies in classifying Nigeria as a fault line country merely because her antecedents meet some of the criteria stated above. It is an intellectual construct. The use of the terminology “clash of civilization” suggests that this is the first time the Western Christian world would differ or clash with other civilizations such as the Islamic world. History is replete with various clashes of civilization. However from intellectual analysis using the dialectical method the authors are right and justified to use the terminology “clash of civilization” or more preferably “another clash of civilzation”.

Using the above criteria if Nigeria is truly on the fault line, to what extent are the events unfolding at the World trade center affecting Nigeria. Is there cause for alarm?

This is not saying that Bin Laden has a camp in Nigeria or that Nigeria provided a base for Bin Laden and his acolytes. There are no security reports to this effect and the Americans are not so far accusing Nigeria of providing a base or accommodating Bin Laden and his acolytes. The issue is whether Nigeria should remain passive or active in the current fight against terror. Nigeria cannot be caught unawares. We should reflect about our own identity as Nigerians with divergent views and competing interests. Nigerians should come to a common stand. The enemy is unknown with no defined territory or government as known to modern day statehood. Just as there are some Nigerians who share the enthusiasm of the American led free world there are other Nigerians who also share the ideals of Bin laden on the call for the globalization of the Islam. This later school of thought is led by no less a person than the former head of state, General Buhari who had recently called for not only an Islamic President but also the extension of sharia law to all the states of the Federation of Nigeria. The enemy represents those who do not share the same religious belief with the protagonist. Their utterances are based on absolutism and this is the real danger. One would be right to ask whether the call for universalization of sharia in Nigeria is predicated upon self conviction or is induced by external forces or in other words is it for materialistic and selfish reasons or acting as agents of Bin Ladin and his acolytes? American intelligence had noted that Bin laden and his religious fanatics have roots in 66 countries including America itself. Unification of the whole Moslem world into a single entity is the aim of Bin laden in Afghanistan. Bin Laden is an absolutist leader and a despot. Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini were all absolute leaders and despots. Major General Buhari for the short time he ruled Nigeria left no one in doubt that he was the absolute leader. This is not equating Buhari with Hitler but pointing out the dangers of absolutist inclinations and leadership. Buhari’s tenure as head of state was a short one. With his recent pronouncements one can not tell what he would have done and where he would have led Nigeria if he had not been over thrown. Until the recent events some were satisfied or inclined to call him a benevolent Dictator. He was a leader who practicised trade by barter as the basis for his economic reform program for Nigeria. He championed the concept of rationalization of academic pursuits within our University system and the backward integration program for the manufacturing sector. Fela Anikulapo Kuti, a renowned Nigerian musician, referred to Buhari as “crazy” and said that he would prefer to remain in detention at Alogbon than live in the so called free Nigeria with Buhari as the Head of State. It would then be wrong to ignore the threat posed to Nigeria by the call for universalisation of Sharia or any other religion for that matter. It is a grave error of judgement to say that the introduction of Sharia law in the Northern states of Nigeria is political and that it will fizzle away. There is nothing like political sharia. For the Moslem believer sharia is a serious and fundamental aspect of existence. The abuse of religion for political reasons is what every body is against. The fundamental issue about sharia as introduced in the Northern states recently is that the state and religion are now merged together in those states. The chief executives of the various state now compete for authority with the traditional religious leaders that had existed in the past. The Sate Governors have created their vanguards for the implementation of state religion in the same manner other states in the south set up their own security outfits. These religious vanguards and security outfits are manned mainly by the youths. What do you really mean by the call for an Islamic President and the call for sharia to be extended to all the states of the Federation. If we agree that state and religion should be merged in all the states in Nigeria how do we determine the religion to be adopted as state religion in the Christian dominated states. The enemy represents those who do not share the same religious belief with the protagonist. The born-again do not want pluralism either. Born-again movements were introduced from America.


For purpose of this write up, one would use the word "religious intolerance" and not Christian or Islamic fundamentalism. One would define religious intolerance in this context as the delusion of taking over the kingdom of God by coercion based on ones religious belief, arrogating to oneself equality with "God" and seeking to prevent others of other faith and belief from partaking or joining the kingdom of God. The act of preventing others leads to fundamentalism, absolutism and its associated vices. Religious intolerance is chosen so as to analyze the excesses of both the Moslem and the Christian movements in Nigeria. Only recently Americans witnessed the killing of some medical doctors in disregard of the rule of law and on the grounds that they were performing abortions. President Bush declared his intentions to transfer certain social responsibilities currently performed by the government to the religious bodies.
The new “Born Again Christian” movement in Nigeria has shown great intolerance to people of other faith as they propagate religious absolutism. They challenge existing Christian churches and postulate that the Pope is the Anti Christ. They profess further that the Catholics, the Protestants and every Moslem are destined for hell as they are not born-again. They hold absolutely to their theory that only members of their born-again Christian association are entitled to the kingdom of God. How do you then impose sharia on the entire state of Nigeria. We have seen several religious violent clashes in Nigeria based on this religious intolerance and extremism. On the global level the Christian or Western free world have been seriously condemned for its double standards in the pursuit of its goals and interest, and more particularly for the near complete breakdown of the family institution amongst others.
We also had religious intolerance in the North with the Maitasine, El Zakky Groups and others. They were not merely after the Christians but had their vision of a true Islamic state and combated the Islamic established order in Nigeria. El Zakky was noted for his personal attack on the persons of Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Sanni Abacha who incidentally were Moslems. As a revolutionary movement Islamic fundamentalism rejects nation state in favor of the unity of Islam just as Marxism rejected it in favor of the unity of the international proletariat. Without digressing one can now juxtapose the call by Bin laden for the universalization of islam and the recent call for universalization of sharia in Nigeria by some Northern Governors and more particularly a one time Nigerian Military Head of State, General M . Buhari. Nigerian politics has been dominated by conflict between Muslim Hausa Fulani in the north and Christian tribes in the south with frequent riots and coups and one major Civil war. The real status of Nigeria as member of the OIC is still not made public and shrowded in secrecy. This is not suggesting that OIC is made up of religious extremists countries.

Using the above definition of fault-line one would then come to the conclusion that Nigeria is on the verge of disintegrating and that ethnic generation and religious conflicts in Nigeria cannot be resolved. They based their classification on the following criteria: Nigeria is a fault-line country because there are conflicts between the Moslem Feudal north and the Christian commercial enterprising south. They argued further that both systems are totally anachronistic to each other. Our own politicians at various times described Nigeria as an accident of history or at best a geographic expression. Karl Maier sounded a big alarm with the title “Midnight in Nigeria – This house has fallen”. The book was acclaimed all over the world. However a proper reading of the book revealed that the author is confident in the future of Nigeria despite his alarmist title: Midnight in Nigeria. The book tried to situate our current political, ethnic, economic and religious turmoil to their evolutionary historical roots and causes.


Nigeria is on the thresh-hold of emerging as a great Nation. Nigeria has many forces pulling in all direction in our march towards national integration. Nigeria is a very pluralistic society. It is not a simple divide as the various schools of thought had argued. In the north you would find that it is not just the Moslems alone. You have enclaves of various Christian and Moslem settlements. You have Christians in the middle belt, southern Kaduna, the Zurus in the far north etc. You also have Christians and Moslems living together in the same families and clans, villages, cities and towns in the North. In the south you will also find an admixture of both Christian and Moslem families, clans and enclaves. Every Nigerian is not only a capitalist but an aggressive one. Capitalism holds Nigeria together. Capitalism is deep rooted both in the Moslem north and Christian south. The northern Hausas, Moslems and the Fulanis have their own problem. The Christian Southern majority and minority tribes have their own problems too. But the whole of Nigeria has produced a new set of youths who can no longer accept the mismanagement and dislocation of our social, political and economic life by the older generation. Hence in the north, you have a large army of unemployed and frustrated youths created by the ALMAJIRIS, feudalist and selfish leaders. You also have the Arewa and other youths movements. In the south, you have the impatient Ogoni youths, Ijaw youths, Agbesu boys, Bakassi boys, OPC boys etc. The youths in the North and South all share one basic characteristic – impatience and unwillingness to accept the status-quo. They want to take their destiny into their own hands now and not tomorrow. This development in itself is not a bad omen. Taking Europe in the 60’s as an example, there was a generation conflict. The younger generation came to the conclusion that their parents had failed in the management of their affairs and questioned their authority over them. They challenged the traditional concept of authority within the society such as parenthood, military and police institutions and uniforms, the clergy etc. The traditional concept of respect was replaced by the new demand that you prove to me why I should respect you. It was a very fundamental generation conflict. However one should note that the youths in the civilized world were better equipped to face the challenges. They had good education, welfare state, employment, health services, workable life insurance and pension scheme etc. The generation conflict was propelled by philosophic ideals and not religious piety or conflict. One should also note that the French Revolution which gave birth to our modern democratic statehood/world was undertaken by the youths. The youths in Europe were guided more by philosophy and the desire for a far more fundamental change rather than materialism.
In the case of the Nigerian youth, the generation impatience and conflict is unfortunately guided not by philosophical ideals and goals but by materialism. Materialism has a tendency for violence and perversion. The conflicts within the oil producing areas or southern minorities were championed by the youths. They were not based on religious or ethnic divide but purely materialism. The Ijaw and Ogoni youths want their rights now which unfortunately lapsed into kidnapping, killing, arson, rape, stealing, terrorism etc. The Arewa, Bakassi Egbesu and OPC youths want their rights now. They can no longer accept to live with dysfunctional national or federal institutions that can neither protect nor provide for them. The entire youths, within the ethnic and religious divide share some common ideals such as desire for good governance, provision of basic infrastructure such as good roads, schools, hospitals, communication, energy or what is popularly referred to in Nigeria today as democratic dividend. Democratic dividend is now perceived purely from the materialistic point of view. Democratic dividend implies good governance and above all the ability of Nigerians of all divide to peacefully remove a government they no longer desire and replace same through peaceful democratic means. The undesired government can be a military or civilian. It is only when we achieve this that one can now acclaim the arrival of democracy and democratic dividend.

Abiola’s and Obasanjo’s mandates through the ballot boxes were made possible by the entire country, both Moslems and Christians. The day Abacha, a Moslem, died and his self succession project came to an end, there were jubilation across the north and south, Christians and Moslems, youths and elders. The Moslems did not mourn him more than the Christians. Babangida was also a Moslem and both north and south accepted his decision to step aside with great relief. Abubakar, a Moslem, conducted an election where both Christians and Moslems voted for a Christian (Obasanjo). Even though the Ijaws and Ogoni youths are championing their own cause for resource control, the Ijaw and Ogoni youths would revolt if you increase the price of petrol from its current level by 100%. There would be total civil revolt against the government of the day by both the Christians and the Moslems in Nigeria. All ethnic and religious difference would be momentarily resolved to fight the perceived unjust increase in public utilities and petrol prices. There are more issues that unite than divide Nigeria which those Western school of thought failed to appreciate. To a certain extent one cannot take the continued existence of Nigeria for granted because THOSE WHO FAIL TO PLAN, PLAN TO FAIL.


A close study of the conflicts in Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia, Ivory Coast Sierra Leone and the Congo would give cause to worry about the stability of any sub Saharan African Country. The Africans have replaced the Western colonial masters with “African colonial masters”. Massive corruption and mismanagement distorted the natural growth and development of the African continent. A Nigerian author, Chinua Achebe, described the emerging African countries from colonialism as “things fall apart and the center can no longer hold”. The anachronistic forces became uncontrollable and chaotic, destruction of life, property, and the entire civil populace took place. In those African countries it was the youths who championed the wanton destruction that attracted the conscience of the international community. Those youths share the same characteristics as ours: no education, employment, health care services housing, communication, electricity, bad roads, life insurance and workable pension schemes etc . Their motive for taking part in the conflict was not based on religion or philosophical goals and ideals but rather materialism. They were ready tools in the hands of mischief makers. We all witnessed the bizarre story on child soldiers in the Liberian crises. Children were armed drugged and they actually killed their own parents, brothers and sisters. Hutu mothers killed their own children from Tutsi fathers .They were cutting limbs at will with no sense of remorse or responsibility. The entire continent is now open to external interference under the pretext of aids or technical or financial assistance in one form or another. Unemployed and frustrated youths can be remunerated to undertake resentful assignments which would at the end expose the entire country and continent to international ridicule and odium.


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