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the socio-economic implication on the boko haram insurgence in nigeria 2009-2013

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  • Chapters: 1-5
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1.1              Background to the study

The entire world today is confronted with a plethora of challenges emanating from conflicts that pose direct threat to international and national peace, security, and development. Doubtless, despite their local origin, these conflicts constitute global concerns because when they occur, their impact can spread across borders. Societies irrespective of location value security as it’s the bedrock upon which socio-economic growth and development take place, hence, society must evolve ways of maintaining security whenever conflicts occur.

Before the 19th century, terrorism was based on political, religious, or ideological or socio economic events which occurred within the national borders. However, by late 19thcentury, the world had witnessed an upsurge in political violence by terrorist groups, which respects no national borders and aim at undermining targeted sovereign states or re-ordering life according to their chosen ideological world view (Parachinni, 1999).

The attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 by a terrorist group known as Al-Qaeda re-awakened the world to the threat posed by the phenomenon to international peace and security. In view of this, many nations both developed and developing that had never considered terrorism as a serious social and political issue began to do so after the September 11, 2001 attack (Mbanefo, 2005). It also renewed the interests of stakeholders in fighting terrorism anywhere it could be found in the world (Bolaji, 2010:208). However, fighting terrorism is no tea party because it entails a lot of financial commitments. Corroborating Bolaji’s submission, Akanji (2007) asserted that while terrorism was not a major issue in the past, its present-day widespread use has generated unprecedented efforts to understand it. The terrorist acts of 11 September 2001 transformed the general global attitude towards terrorism, and were a major factor in causing both local and international communities to agree about the need to address it. Terrorism is now an international security issue which has united the United States and its partners across Europe, Africa and Asia in mobilising their resources to combat it.

On September 11, 2001, nineteen members of the al Qaeda terrorist group hijacked four U.S. commercial airliners and flew two of them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania. More than three thousand people were killed and thousands more injured as a result of these devastating attacks, which caught the United States and the rest of the world by surprise. After spending years on the back burner, the term "terrorism" captured the world's attention. It caused a media frenzy and spread fear and insecurity among the American public at a rate unparalleled since the early days of the cold war.

Dobbins (2011:15) agreed with the above by submitting that:

The September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was unprecedented in the scale of its destruction and the immediacy of its visual impact. Americans had heard or read about other historical disasters, but this was the first to be witnessed by hundreds of millions of citizens as it occurred. The impact on American policy was correspondingly dramatic and long lasting.

The United State September 11 attacks made the United States to respond with the declaration of the War on Terrorism. The United State invaded Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, who had harboured al-Qaeda terrorists. As a result of this event many countries also strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded law enforcement powers. The 9/11 attacks saw America taken some very drastic steps like the enactment of the Patriot Act in 2001 and the listing of some organizations as terrorist groups. Late Osama Bin Laden who lived in Sudan before he left in 1998, was said to have sponsored the attacks. In 2002 the US declared the War on Terror (WOT) and she states that any country or continent that is not with America is definitely against her and so will be treated as an enemy. The War on Terror was sold to all countries in the world and through the United Nations Organization (UN) all member nations were co-opted into the WOT (Mohammed, 2011:12).

Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, President of the 61st session of the General Assembly Launching the United Nation Global Counter Terrorism Strategy on 19th September 2006 declares:

“The passing of the resolution on the United Nations Global Counter Terrorism Strategy with its annexed Plan of Action by 192 Member States represents a common testament that we, the United Nations, will face terrorism head on and that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, must be condemned and shall not be tolerated (UN General Assembly plenary, 2010:19).”

This was indicative that the war against terrorism is not just an American war as people tend to ascribe it, but a global war which all and sundry are part of.

There exist divergent views as regard the history of terrorism in Nigeria, while some believed that it dated back to 1952 when there were severe killings in Kano powered by misconstrued and misdirected politicians (Eboh, 2010), some argued that terrorism in Nigeria started with the Niger Delta militants (Tunde, 2007). Today, terrorism in Nigeria like some other parts of Africa has now become a front burner issue to social scientists, media and even to the circles of Nigeria Government and politics. This could be traced to year 2009 when violence erupted in some Northern states led by the dreaded Islamic sect Boko Haram (a Hausa term for “Western education is forbidden”). It officially calls itself “Jama’atul Alhul Sunnah Lidda’wati wal Jihad” which means “people committed to the propagation of the Prophet’s teachings and jihad.” As its name suggests, the group is adamantly opposed to what it sees as a Western-based incursion that threatens traditional values, beliefs, and customs among Muslim communities in northern Nigeria.

The Islamic sect Boko Haram has been a security challenge to Nigeria since at least 2009, but the group in 2011 expanded its terrorist attacks to include international targets.  The Nigerian radical religious sect claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the bombing of the UN headquarters in Abuja on 26 August, 2011 which claimed 24 lives, their first attack on an international institution. Also, the group went on a bombing spree, setting off explosions and gun battles in Damaturu and Maiduguri, the Yobe and Borno State capitals ( Their attack capabilities have become more sophisticated, and there are indications that members of this group may have received training in bomb-making and other terrorist tactics from Al-Qaeda affiliated groups in the north and/or east of the continent (Forest, 2012). An Algerian Minister submitted that:

“We are convinced that there has been some co-ordination between Boko Haram and al-Qaeda. The way in which the two organizations operate and reports from intelligence services clearly show that there is co-ordination” (, 2011).

This is what the former Nigerian Air Force Chief of Staff, General Oluseyi Petinrin says, in a report presented by the Vice-Admiral, Sa’ad Ibrahim, at a meeting of the heads of security of the Countries of the Economic Community of West African States:

“We were able to link the activities of Boko Haram to the training and logistical support that the sect receives by Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQMI)."(NEWS.VA, 2012)

1.2              Statement of the problem

Although terrorism has haunted the global political landscape for centuries, never in the entire history of man has it assumed the power and ugliness it displays in the present century. Terrorism has imposed a new strategic climate on the present global system by making every human a potential victim of its various forms. Hardly a day passes without news of some acts of terrorism in one or other trouble spot on our planet. If it is not a car bomb, suicide bombing, hostage taking, plane hijacking, kidnapping or an assassination by an aggrieved person or persons, it is the indiscriminate bombing of selected targets by state authorities or agents. The point is that we are now living in a world that is constantly being traumatized by continuous doses of terrorism. As a result, no one any longer feels completely safe whether at home, at work, walking along the streets or relaxing in a beer-parlour. Most worrisome is the fact that despite the world being awash with all sorts of activities to address the problem, terrorism has not abated in any significant manner (Imobighe, 2007).

The last three years or so in Nigeria could easily be described as the worst period of unprecedented terror-related violence and general state of insecurity in which thousands of innocent Nigerians have lost their precious lives and property especially in Northern Nigeria. Because of the increasing spate of bomb attacks targeted at churches, government institutions and other flashpoints in the North East and North West of Nigeria by armed Islamic rebels, most Nigerians are now apprehensive and fearful of the unknown.

The rise of terrorism in Nigeria has implications for peace, stability, development and overall national security, unity and cooperate existence of the country. It is gradually creating impression to citizens and international community that the country is no longer safe for investment. Bamidele (2012) argued that almost every day television broadcast, shows, newspapers, magazines and internet websites run and re-run pictures of dramatic acts of violence carried out by this ferocious sect. It is often hard not to be scared when we see gruesome pictures of people killed or maimed by Boko Haram in office buildings, public buses or trains, and on the streets. The federal government seems weak in maintaining law and order in Nigeria and lacks a viable strategy to contain the Islamic sect from carrying out its atrocities. Retired generals in the country’s foremost security industry are talking loud, and in the process, creating more anxiety or fear in the minds of citizens. The nation’s most sophisticated merchants of terror are making the high and the low feel unsafe in a country that is not officially at war. They are also making innocent citizens feel that their country is evaporating by the day (Sekoni, 2012). Nigeria seems to meet the criterion of a “failed states” such as Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen, where terrorist groups are often able to operate freely, plan sophisticated attacks and stockpile weapons not because the government officials sponsor them but simply because they lack the political will to bring them to book.

Arguments and counter-arguments have continued to rage over the plan by the Federal Government to consider granting amnesty to the Boko Haram sect. Even while the amnesty initiative is being celebrated particularly in the northern part of the country, it has come under severe criticisms from some other sections where people argue that an amnesty programme for the insurgents would simply be rewarding them for the misery they have brought upon many in the country.  Such people contend that their terrorist campaign has led to the death of hundreds of innocent souls and left many families in ruins (Usigbe, 2013).

1.3              Research questions

We shall be guided in this study by the following research questions:

  1. What is the genesis of terrorism in Nigeria?
  2. What are the efforts attempted by the federal government of Nigeria to quell the Boko-Haram insurgence?
  3. What are the social implications of the Boko-Haram insurgence in Nigeria?
  4. What are the economic implications of the Boko-Haram insurgence in Nigeria?

1.4              Objectives of the study

Broadly, this study seeks to examine the socio-economic implication of the Boko-Haram insurgence in Nigeria (2009-2013). In more specific terms, it is intended to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To explore the genesis of terrorism in Nigeria.
  2. To identify the efforts attempted by the federal government of Nigeria to quell the Boko-Haram insurgence.
  3. To examine the social implications of the Boko-Haram insurgence in Nigeria.
  4. To analyze the economic implications of the Boko-Haram insurgence in Nigeria.

1.5              Justification of the study

The significance of a study of this nature cannot be overemphasized; this is so because of the spat of insecurity experienced in the country presently. The research will provide useful information and clear understanding of the genesis and effects of terrorism in Nigeria. It will also contribute to knowledge and increase the level of awareness that national security and corporate existence is everybody’s business. This will hopefully improve the democratic stability of the country and eliminate, if not totally eradicate, mindless killings, massive destruction of lives and properties in the country.

1.6  Scope of the study

The scope of this research is centered on the socio-economic implication of the Boko-Haram insurgence in Nigeria (2009-2013). This is based on the fact that the outbreak of the Boko Haram uprising in Nigeria started in July 2009 and marked yet another phase in the recurring pattern that violent uprisings, riots and disturbances became the other of the day.

1.7       Methodology

This research is literature-based and, therefore, descriptive. It will be based on secondary data which will be collected qualitatively. The data will be generated from books, journals, magazines, newspapers, official government publications and the internet. The data will be analysed using content analysis and the descriptive analytical method.

1.8  Possible limitations of the study

This work is limited by the fact of the sources of information or data collected. Governmental sources cannot be hundred per cent objective since governments don’t reveal all things about themselves. 

1.9       Outline of chapters

Chapter One: This shall introduce and provide the overall plan of the study.

Chapter Two: This includes the review of literature and adoption of a theoretical framework to serve as the basis of this study.

Chapter Three: This chapter will explore the history of terrorism in Nigeria.

Chapter Four: Examines the socio-economic implication of the Boko-Haram insurgence in Nigeria (2009-2013).

Chapter Five: This chapter shall finally provide the summary, conclusion and recommendations for the study.


Akanji, O.O. (2007). ‘The politics of combating domestic terrorism in Nigeria’ in Okumu, O. and Botha, A. “Domestic terrorism in Africa: Defining, addressing and understanding its impact on human security”. Institute For Security Studies: Seminar Report.

Bamidele, O. (2012). Boko Haram Catastrophic Terrorism -An Albatross to National Peace, Security and Sustainable Development in Nigeria. Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa. Volume 14, No.1

Bolaji, K.A. (2010). Preventing Terrorism in West Africa: Good Governance or Collective Security? Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa (Volume 12, No.1). Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Clarion, Pennsylvania

Damisi, O. (2011). Security takes all in the Proposed Budget, The Nation, December Thursday 15th

Dobbin, J. (2011). ‘The Costs of Overreaction’ in Jenkins, B.M. and Godges, J.P. ‘The Long Shadow Of 9/11: America’s Response to Terrorism’. RAND Corporation.

Eboh, M. (2010) “Exiatence of Terrorism in Nigeria”

Imobighe, T. (2007). Challenges in categorizing domestic terrorism in edited by Wafulu Okumu and Anneli Botha (2007) Domestic terrorism in Africa: Defining, addressing and understanding its impact on human security. The Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, South Africa.

Mbanefo, A.C. (2005). “On Agenda Item 166: Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism; United Nations General Assembly 56th Session New York, U.S.A

Mohammed, A.A. (2011). ‘Nigeria and Compliance with International Conventions on Terrorism: An Assessment’. A Project Submitted to the Department of Political Science Faculty of Social Sciences Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. (PDF File)

NEWS.VA, 2012

Parachinni, J. (1999). Causes of Terrorism, Journal of International Affiars, Volume 32, No 4

Sekoni, R. (2012). Boko Haram’s ideology in action.

Tunde, A. (2007) “History of Terrorism and Kidnapping and terrorism In Nigeria”

UN General Assembly Plenary Background Guide (2010).

Usigbe, L. (2013). Amnesty for insurgents: How far can it go?