Does Nigeria need a Guantanamo Bay type detention camp?

on   /   in Viewpoint 11:31 am   /   Comments

THE  ramming of two planes into the New York Twin Towers  and co-ordinated attacks on other selected targets in the United States by suicidal Al-Qaeda agents  on September 9, 2011, changed the face of terrorism in the world.

America and the developed world expectedly responded promptly by fishing out the culprits and dealing with them as appropriate. The Bible declares that the end of the wicked shall be sudden, and that the wickedness of the wicked shall end.

This promised sudden end has remained the lot of all terrorists till date, including the founder of Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin laden, who was killed at the age of 54 and packaged as food for the animals of the sea by the American Navy Seals on May 2, 2011, at Abbottbad, Pakistan.

Before  then the terror group he founded  organised many other strikes around the world, since 2011.  America fought terrorism to a standstill, and is still fighting the evil of Al-Qaeda and its hybrids around the world. As complex and integrated as the American society is, the government, irrespective of the political party in the White House, used high tech systems and methods, sustained intelligence, training and mobilisation of enforcement personnel and the citizens, to combat terror.

After all, it is only the tree that hears that it will be cut down and remain on the same spot without doing something about it. It is believed that Nigeria is one of the victims of Bin Laden’s organisation via the instrumentation of Boko Haram.

The huge difference is that Nigeria continues to talk in ethnic, political party, stealing and corrupt languages, enmeshed in huge cacophony, while terror grew from a small cell to the burgeoning monsters we have today, coloured by Cubans, Sudanese and all sorts of mercenaries targeting to bring Nigeria into chaos.

We have remained in the blame game to the extent that leaders of the North East of Nigeria continue to sing discordant tunes of Jonathan hatred, while the face of their society is being changed for the worse gradually. Experience during the Biafran war tells me that no society remains the same after battalions of soldiers quarter in it for a long time. The soldiers  will come with their helmets, tents, boots and free cash.

They will meet the men, beat up quite a number of them for many reasons, fall in love, and  take over many women, married and single, commandeer many youths for all sorts, and by the time they return to their barracks, they will leave behind a completely new society with changed orientation. The North East of Nigeria can never be the same for long after the Boko Haram is flushed out.

America not only fought terror, they also prepared special detention and holding a centre for suspected and convicted terrorists. One of the places they created is called the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, or Gitmo for short. Gitmo is a United States military prison established in January 2002. It is located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which fronts Guantánamo Bay in Cuba.

The prison camp was established to detain extraor-dinarily dangerous prisoners, to interrogate prisoners in an optimal setting, and to prosecute prisoners for war crimes. Detainees captured in the War on Terror, most of them from Afghanistan and much smaller numbers later from Iraq, the Horn of Africa and Southeast Asia, were transported to the prison.

The facility is operated by the Joint Task Force Guantanamo, JTF-GTMO, of the United States government in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Detainment areas consisted of Camp Delta (including Camp Echo), Camp Iguana, and Camp X-Ray (which is now closed). As of March 2014, 154 detainees remain at Guantanamo.

The holding of Boko Haram terrorists and murderous herdsmen at the SSS offices/facilities in Abuja, or wherever, should not be allowed to continue. It should only be a temporary measure, while a facility is built after the Gitmo to keep them away more permanently. The present situation where terror convicts and or suspects are kept in facilities close to the Central Business District of Abuja, and a stone throw to the Aso Rock  is most undesirable.

The risks are just too high, bearing in mind that some of these adherents may be in government and even within the rank and file of the law enforcement agencies. The ambush of the Police team by the  Ombatse Cult in Nassarawa State last year suggests that there must have been saboteurs within the system who informed the cult members that the police team was visiting their area. Same thing can happen anywhere, and it could be most uncomfortable to be happening near Aso Rock, as we saw last week in Abuja SSS facility.

America chose to locate their own detention camp for terrorists along the bay of Cuba for many reasons. It keeps the activities of the detainees and their keepers far away from the civil society. Such perverted killers should not be kept together with common civil criminals, for the obvious corruption of one by the other that could occur, and the likely transformation of an ordinary criminal into a terrorist that such an association could breed.

Terrorists have a very different and strong mindset deluded by religious beliefs such as believing that by committing suicide and killing others in the process, they would be rewarded by virgins in heaven. Whoever told them that they would marry in heaven. The thought that they could even make heaven as killers portray them as mad and pitiable persons.

Terrorists don’t give up, and rarely get reformed because of the high degree of inundation of their minds with strong desire to kill, propelled by heavy demonisation. Nigeria may have to build her own Gitmo type detention centre somewhere, far from any city, such that  the public will be safe and far removed from  activities of terrorists.

CLEMENT UDEGBE, a legal practitioner, wrote from Lagos.

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