Ungoverned Spaces As Breeding Ground For Global Terror: Focus On Nigeria And The Lake Chad Region

(Being a presentation by the Secretary-General of the Lower Niger Congress, Mr. Tony Nnadi, at the Ministerial Roundtable for International Religious Freedom, July 16, 2019, in Washington DC).

Tony Nnadi addressing a Ministerial Roundtable on International Religious Freedom in Washington D.C. on July 16, 2019.


As we converge on these hallowed grounds in Washington DC to explore ways of unraveling the intricately intertwined challenges of trans-regional terrorism, ethnic cross-country migration and socio-political marginalization of indigenous Nigerians, the first question that might come to the mind of any casual observer would be:


The answer to this question, to my mind, is quite simply. The world has become a global village in which events and occurrences in one part almost immediately and invariably impact on other parts in ways far more significant, (positive and negative), than the casual observer may perceive.

It is in this general context and in the particular context of the three broad issues of concern in Nigeria placed before us by the conveners this meeting for interrogation (and possibly find some resolution) that one would be beaming the searchlight on how the interplay of the currents and dynamics driving and thrown-up by these events/issues in faraway Nigeria could impact, not only the United States but also the rest of the global community.

It is also in this context that one would be searching for answers from all the potential destinations of the negative impacts of the events and issues under examination, including the United States.

Zeroing in on the core of the tripartite phenomena of trans-regional terrorism, ethnic cross-country migration and the sociopolitical marginalization of indigenous Nigerians, the common strand running through the three seems to be flowing from and framed by the activities of the trans-regional Boko Haram (a.k.a the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP)) and Fulani “herdsmen” terror groups which are ranked the first and fourth on the Global Terror Index. Nigeria’s Sharia territory has the dubious honor of being home to these two of the world’s most deadly merchants of terror. (– slides 2&3)

The nexus connecting the aforementioned tripartite phenomena is a clearly identifiable ethnic group, the Fulani, whose so-called “herdsmen”, in a trans-border migration setting, have been engaged in terrorizing the indigenous communities across vast expanses of the Middle Belt and Southern Nigeria creating massive sociopolitical upheavals at a time Nigeria’s central government as well as the head of the Armed Forces, Police Force and other Armed Security Services of Nigeria are almost exclusively in the hands of the Fulani. This polarization amplifies political marginalization of all the indigenous
stakeholders nationwide.

It is pertinent to recall that the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, had in the aftermath of one of the most deadly attacks on the indigenous communities in Southern Kaduna by the so-called “Fulani herdsmen”, admitted publicly that the killer herdsmen were Fulani from outside Nigeria. Mr. El-Rufai had, as governor of Kaduna state, sent large sums of money to those Fulani killer “herdsmen” in 14
different countries, from which they cross into Nigeria to kill, maim, rape and dislodge indigenous communities, to appease and persuade them to stop the targeted likings.

This removes any conjecture as to the cross-border character of the terror. The question of political marginalization is also self-evident in the brazen clannish and nepotistic appointments of the current president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, who is Fulani himself and whose only other known vocation, after decades of military career, is cow breeding. He is also the Grand Patron of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) which unabashedly presents itself as the sponsor and spokesman of the murderous Fulani “herdsmen”.

Being a practicing attorney who had for over 20 years been involved in hands-on search for the unraveling of these tripartite phenomena now under discourse and working with my fellow compatriots in the Lower Niger Congress, along with our partners in the Movement for New Nigeria (MNN) alliance, I wish to now share some important findings that may hold the key a fuller understanding of the intricately intertwined aforementioned trinity of challenges threatening to consume Nigeria and its neighbors in the Lake Chad Basin and the Gulf of Guinea.

These findings are:

(1) That the common denominator in these multifaceted regional trans-border challenges is the nomadic Fulani ethnic nationality and the age-old commitment of their leaders to wage nonstop jihad
against the indigenous peoples they encounter as a matter of routine.

(2) That the methods and strategies deployed by these adversarial trans-border nomadic groups thrive best in ungoverned spaces.

(3) That the virus behind the spread of these near-intractable trinity of challenges is the failure in the supremacy of the rule of law in the vast territories currently engulfed by the conundrum.

(4) That the chief-enabler of that virus fueling the failure of the rule of law, is the warped constitutional order imposed and manipulated by the same ethnic forces behind the problematic and adversarial trans-border migration, now threatening the already distressed Nigerian nationhood as well as the stability of the West African sub-region.

(5) That the global Islamic Caliphate and its concomitant terror machinery, which were being challenged and subsequently ousted from their Middle East base, took advantage of the largely ungoverned spaces that sweep across the African Sahel, from Somalia to Northern Mali and berthing in Nigeria where its local franchise, Boko Haram (ISWAP), was reinforced to seize political power and territory. ISWAP, with close collaboration with the Buhari administration, is now driving a vicious seaward campaign of conquest and colonization spiced with ethnic cleansing against Nigeria’s indigenous communities, and establishing a new fortress for the kind of Global Islamic Caliphate it had sought to create in Iraq and Syria which would include Chad, Niger Republic, Mali and even the adjoining southern Libya. The resultant behemoth will endanger the peace of the global community in an unprecedented manner. (-slides 4, 5 & 6)

(6) That unless something happens very soon to isolate, sequester and quarantine this monster’s den, which is rapidly entrenching itself in the Lake Chad region with Nigeria’s Sharia Territory as its hub, we might suddenly come to where the global community finds itself on the verge of having to contend with a humongous monstrosity armed with the vast resources that will include the entire oil/gas output from Nigeria as well as a vast sovereign space measuring more than five times the size of Nigeria with a distressed population in excess of 300 million people. (- slide #6)

It is against the backdrop of the foregoing and in search of viable solution options that I chose to focus my intervention on establishing the nexus between UNGOVERNED SPACES and GLOBAL TERROR with a view to helping persuade the potential destinations for metastasis of the brewing global terror, especially the US, to act in good time to arrest the situation.

Examples of radical Islamist terrorist groups abound worldwide with Al Shabab and Al-Qaeda being the most notorious.

A cross section of the high table during one of the sessions.


(1) With the complete collapse of the false FARMERS/HERDSMEN-CLASHES narrative sequel to the June 5-11, 2019 IRF Roundtables at the Capitol Hill; having established the direct connection between ungoverned spaces and global terrorism with Nigeria in focus; having also established the causative factors to include the failure of rule of law as well as the centrality of the imposed, warped and bitterly disputed subsisting constitution of Nigeria to the failed regime of rule of law, it is within the reach of the United States Government to deploy the existing policy strategies to proactively contain this direct threat to its national security which may begin with a clearly worded resolution of the United States Congress articulating the findings from these (June/July 2019 Roundtables) regarding the clearly established case of Fulani invasion and ethnic cleansing of the Christian-majority indigenous nationalities of Nigeria. The recent failed RUGA Cow colony gambit as well as the 30-day ultimatum of the so-called Coalition of Northern Youths are indications of the depth of desperation driving the Fulani expansionists. (- slide #7)

(2) In view of the urgency of the multi-faceted challenges of the adversarial trans-border migrations in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin, the US Government needs to move quickly to appoint a Special US Envoy for Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region to immediately rally the resources required to apply the quarantine plan to checkmate the dreadful terrorist nest that is Nigeria’s Sharia Territory. The Special Envoy’s mandate should encompass a swift easing out of the bitterly disputed imposed 1999 Constitution which is currently tearing Nigeria down. An alternative homemade solution is being fashioned out in ongoing consensual democratic processes by the endangered Nigerian Indigenous Nationalities Alliance for Self-determination (NINAS) as embodied by the FREEDOM PARK PROCLAMATION of December 11, 2018 http://bit.ly/2Ju23eX (Attached). (-slides #8 & 9)

(3) Considering the ethno-religious factors now identified as fueling the adversarial trans-border migration in Nigeria, with the resultant socio-political marginalization of the indigenous nationalities as enabled by the imposed, disputed 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (now on the verge of total collapse), the situation in Nigeria closely resembles the terminal stages of the South African Apartheid Constitution challenge that was resolved by a structured transitioning process between 1990 and 1994.

Accordingly, guided by the FREEDOM PARK PROCLAMATION of December 11, 2018, and in the face of the inconclusive Nigerian presidential election of 2019, the greatest assistance that the US can offer the distressed and embattled indigenous peoples of Nigeria would be to help shepherd the bamboozled stakeholders into a TRANSITIONING program to rework the damaged constitutional basis of Nigeria in a manner that will halt the ethnic-driven trans-regional terrorism, ethnic cross-country migration and comprehensively resolve the long-standing social plot oval marginalization of the indigenous nationalities of Nigeria while, St the same time, address the national security threat and strategic interests of the US posed by the current situation in Nigeria.

Thank you for your audience.

Tony Nnadi, an Attorney, is the Secretary General of both the Lower Niger Congress (LNC) and Movement for New Nigeria (MNN)