AFRICAN_DEMOCRACIES_AND_CHALLENGES_OF_TE

AFRICAN_DEMOCRACIES_AND_CHALLENGES_OF_TE - AFRICAN...

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1 AFRICAN DEMOCRACIES AND CHALLENGES OF TERRORISM AND DEVELOPMENT: EXPLORING NIGERIA’S TRANS-BORDER RELATIONSHIP WITH ITS NEIGHBOURS ADEOKIN, Nurudeen [email protected] OKOLI, Nnenna [email protected] OLU-DECENT, David [email protected] Department of History, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria Abstract: Development, either social, economic or political, is a paramount desideratum in Africa, where democracy has been viewed as the most suitable agent for achieving it. However, terrorism, inter alia, has desecrated the developmental mission of democracy in Africa. The consequences of terrorism in Africa are inestimable-ranging from depopulation, economic degeneration, and political instability to social disorder among others. All efforts, military, political, diplomatic and even religious made to fight terrorism have constantly been neutralised by a number of factors, notable among which is geographical contiguity and porosity of African borders, a factor which allows for free mobility of terrorist groups and ideas with small arms and weapons across African states. The existence of cultural, linguistic and historical affiliations between Nigeria and its neighbours, namely: Cameroun, Niger Republic, Republic of Benin and Chad, coupled with Nigeria’s ‘Big Brother’ stature and Policy of Good Neighbourliness in relation to these states have constituted a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to nipping terrorism in the bud. Hence, with the use of available primary and secondary source materials, this study identifies porosity of borders as a major impediment to the defeat of terrorism in the continent, and suggests the mutual adoption of more stringent policies in securing the borders, without severing existing international relations among them, in order to deepen democracy and aid development. Key Words : African democracies, Trans-border relations, Development, Porous borders
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2 INTRODUCTION Nigeria’s border problem just like that of some other African states, has contributed to its security challenges posed by terrorist groups. The porosity of Nigeria’s borders has continually frustrated all efforts channelled towards defeating terrorism, one of the utmost obstacles of achieving the national goal of development. This problem has watered down the potency of the political option of democracy widely believed to stimulate the process of development. The question of the efficacy of democracy as a factor of development is debatable. The notion that democracy, more than any other system of government, aids social, political and economic development has held currency, most especially when it is considered as a gift to Africa from the West. There is no universally accepted definition of democracy, however, analysts continue to debate various interpretations of key democratic precepts. Recognizing that the practice of democracy around the world is culturally and contextually embedded, it is important to note several essential features that help distinguish democratic societies from those that are not. At its foundation, a democratic
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