Terrorism and the Nigerian Economy. An Assessment of the Boko Haram Insurgency

Bachelor Thesis, 2017

101 Pages, Grade: 65







1.0 Background of the Study
1.1 Statement of the Problem
1.2 Objectives of the Study
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Assumption
1.5 Significance of the Study
1.6 Research Methodology
1.7 Scope and Limitations of the study
1.8 Definition of Terms
1.9 Outline of Chapters

2.0 Introduction
2.1 Conceptual Clarification
2.1.1 Terrorism
2.1.2 Nigeria’s Economy
2.2. History of Terrorism
2.2.1 Causes of Terrorism
2.2.2 Implication of Terrorism
2.3 Trends and Patterns of Terrorism in Nigeria
2.4 Meaning of Boko Haram
2.4.1 Membership of the Boko Haram Sect
2.4.2 Ideology of the Boko Haram Sect
2.4.3 Religious and Ethnic Basis of the Boko Haram
2.5 Theoretical Framework

3.0 Introduction
3.1 An Overview of Boko Haram
3.1.1 Evolution of Boko Haram
3.1.2 Dawah Phase
3.2 Background of the Boko Haram Terrorists Activities
3.3 Dimensions of the Boko Haram Terrorist Activities

4.0 Introduction
4.1 Research Question 1
4.2 Research Question 2
4.3 Research Question 3

5.0 Introduction
5.1 Summary
5.2 Conclusion
5.3 Recommendations



I am grateful to God Almighty, the Sole provider of knowledge, wisdom, love, mercy, grace and his protection throughout the period of undergoing my undergraduate programme. I sincerely appreciate my supervisor, Mr Kamal who offered timely criticism and corrections that led me through the various stages of this project.

I appreciate my parents, my siblings and friends (PIUS, ABDULWAHEED, OKEY, OZO, My die hard male course mates AND all the girls I once professed my undying and unquantifiable love to) a big thank you to all of you; May GOD in HIS INFINIFE MERCY BLESS YOU ALL, AMEN. My sincere appreciation goes to Prof Habu Muhammed, who in one way or the other have contributed meaningfully towards the success of this research work. The text book he gave me during my first year form part of the analysis used in this research study.

However, this acknowledgement will not be complete if the roles played by my amiable lecturers (Mal Bashir Sa’ad Ibrahim, Mal Hassan Muritala Babatunde, Mal Yusuf Abdullahi Manu, Dr. Abdulhakeem Adejumo, Dr. Dalhatu Sani Yola, Dr. Nasir Ahmad Sarkin Dori, Mal. Kabiru Gambo, Mr Lamidi Kamal Olaniyi, Mal. Yahaya Abubakar and host of others from other departments) are not duly recognized. They have proved beyond all reasonable doubt, that they are not just lecturers but a father, mother, brother, sister, friend and a doctor. Their timely advice and the criticism offered, has contributed towards the reformation of my person and character into a better being thereby supplanting the existing character with a new one that is in conformity with the norms and values of the society. At this juncture, I summarize with an end note “As there are men, there will always be war; but never think of that war no matter how necessary it may be” THANK YOU ALL FOR HAVING A PLACE IN MY HEART AND GOD BLESS.


This research project is dedicated first to “THE ALMIGTY GOD” for the strength he bestowed on me to completing this work. Secondly to my lovely parents in the person of Mr and Mrs Gabriel Florence Okafor as well as my lovely brothers; Emeka, Chidi, Nnabuike, Chinedu, Tochukwu, and Chima for their support and prayers.


The impact of the activities of the dreaded Boko Haram has brought physical, psychological and economic damage to Nigeria and has become a threat to the entire nation. It is against this background that the study examined the impact of Boko Haram insurgency on the economy of the affected states in Nigeria. The study was a literature based research and therefore descriptive in structure. Basically secondary data that was used in this research include relevant text books, magazines, archival materials, published and unpublished works, journals, newspapers and internet materials all of which the researcher thoroughly explored for critical examination and analytical insight. The data collected was analysed using a framework of content analysis and simple percentage. Findings from the study indicates that the atrocities of Boko Haram have severe implications on the economy and social lives of the people of the northeast where the activities of the sect is concentrated. The study recommends that anybody that has links with the sect should face the law and government should develop a strong political will to fight the scourge.



1.0 Background of the Study

Terrorism and insurgency is globally becoming a household word as there is no nation that is completely absolved from its effect. This is the reason why Rourke (2008) observes that war, terrorism and other forms of transnational political violence are in many ways more threatening today than ever before as civilian casualty has been on increase. It is however difficult to evolve a single definition for the term “terrorism”. The difficulty emanates from the lack of consensus or unified perspective among nations or scholars as to what could be regarded as terrorist act (Oche, 2001).

Hence, terrorism has been described variously as both a tactic and strategy; a crime and a holy duty; a justified reaction to oppression and inexcusable abomination since it is a function of whose point of view is being represented (Awake, 2008). Indeed, the worldwide manifestation of terrorism and insurgency has been evident in Africa, but also in Nigeria. With particular reference to Nigeria, the phenomenon has found expression in the emergence of Boko Haram insurgency (2001-date). Since its advent, the sectarian insurgency has wrecked immense havoc in the country, especially by “using explosives and firearms with gruesome, fatal” consequences (Awake, 2008).The alarming level of terrorists attacks in different parts of the country, leaving unpalatable consequences for the nation’s economy and its growth. To address the threat to national security and combat the increasing waves of crime, the Nigerian government since 2013 has budgeted a huge amount of money on security, and the National Assembly passed the Anti-Terrorism Act in 2011(Ewetan, 2013). Despite these efforts, the level of terrorism and insecurity in the country is still high, and a confirmation of this is the low ranking of Nigeria in the Global Peace Index (GPI, 2012).

In spite of the plethora of security measures taken to address the daunting challenges of terrorism and insecurity in Nigeria, government efforts have not completely produced the desired positive result. This has compelled the Nigerian government in recent time to request for foreign assistance from countries such as USA, Israel, and EU countries to combat the rising waves of terrorism and insecurity (Adebayo, 2013). Amidst the deteriorating security situation in the country, Nigeria is also confronted with daunting developmental challenges which pose serious threat to socio-economic development. These developmental challenges include endemic rural and urban poverty, high rate of unemployment, debilitating youth unemployment, low industrial output, unstable and deteriorating exchange rate, high inflation rate, inadequate physical and social infrastructure, very large domestic debt, and rising stock of external debt (Ewetan, 2013).

Some scholars in conceptualizing security placed emphasis on the absence of threats to peace, stability, national cohesion, political and socio-economic objectives of a country (Igbuzor, 2011; Oche, 2001; Nwanegbo and Odigbo, 2013). Thus, there is a general consensus in the contemporary literature that security is vital for national cohesion, peace and sustainable development. It is therefore apparent that national security is a desideratum, sine qua non for economic growth and development of any country (Oladeji and Folorunso, 2007).

In reviewing the concept of Nigeria’s economy, we will be able to establish a relationship between Terrorism and Nigeria’s economy. Economy is regarded as the wealth and resources of a country or region especially in terms of population and consumption of goods and services (Anyenwa and Oaikhenar, 2000). It is an entire network of producers, distributors, and consumers of goods and services in a local, regional or national community e.g. Nigeria’s economy. Meanwhile the Nigerian economy especially in the Northern part of the country has been under serious attack due to the activities of the insurgents. Farmers who predominantly engage in subsistence farming in the Northern part of the country (Borno, Yobe, and Bauchi) no longer feel safe to go about their farming activities and by implication this has led to the increased rate of food starvation in that part of the country.

1.1 Statement of the Problem

The emergence of Boko Haram insurgency has introduced a terrorist dimension, hitherto unknown, into the criminal space in Nigeria. Series of bombings have been carried out by the sect, as well as taking hostage of innocent citizens. Even the United Nations Building in Abuja was not spared in the bombing spree. In rich as well as poor countries, terrorism exerts a heavy toll on national economies. It is inevitable that the economic impact of terrorism would be more felt in unsophisticated mono-cultural low-income economies than they would be felt in highly advanced, diversified industrial economies. Therefore, the continued rise in terrorism activities in the country, if not checked, may result in greater investor apathy for the country and resulting in low inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and would make institutional investors look for other stable economies to invest their money. On the state of the country, when people feel insecure, their appetite to invest, to buy or rent from the product of investment reduces; and that is why all over the world, any country that radiates an environment of insecurity naturally repels investment initiatives from both the international community and its own local investors. Hence, terrorism is a threat to the economic, political and social security of a nation and a major factor associated with underdevelopment; because it discourages both local and foreign investments, reduces the quality of life, destroys human and social capital, damages relationship between citizens and the states, thus undermining democracy, rule of law and the ability of the country to promote development (Adebayo, 2013). It was on this note that this study seeks to examine the impact of Boko Haram insurgency on the economy of the affected states in Nigeria.

1.2 Objective of the Study

The general objective of this study is to examine terrorism and Nigerian economy; an assessment of the Boko Haram insurgence. While the specific objective is outlined as follows:

i. To assess the correlation between terrorism and economy
ii. To assess ways the Boko Haram crisis poses a threat to Nigeria’s economy
iii. To assess the implications of Boko Haram crisis on Nigerian economy

1.3 Research Question

In this light, the study will be guided by the following research question.

i. What is the correlation between terrorism and economy?
ii. In what ways do Boko Haram constitutes challenges to the Nigerian economy?
iii. What are the impacts of Boko Haram insurgency on Nigeria economy?

1.4 Assumption

In accordance with the research question deduced from the research study, I assume this:

i. There is correlation between terrorism and economy
ii. If there is high level of Boko Haram crisis, it is likely to pose a threat to Nigeria’s economy.
iii. If the Boko Haram crisis deepens, it is likely to have an implication on Nigeria’s economy.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The significance of this study is that it will act as a guide to the government in their quest to improve the economy in the affected region and enhances knowledge on the impact and types of threat it constituted judging from the fact that terrorism is currently a prevailing cankerworm and it is very spontaneous and typical. This study will help proffer solutions and theoretically will be useful to writers, scholars, journalists etc, in order to add to their existing knowledge what they already know about terrorism and Nigeria’s economy, particularly with regards to the Boko Haram terrorist activities.

1.6 Research Methodology

The method of data collection used in this study is the secondary source which is also known as documentation. Due to the spontaneous nature of the issue under investigation, information is being gathered from magazines, journals, newspapers, internet materials and textbooks which are relevant to the study. The framework of the content analysis is what I adopted due to the fact that it will aid me in giving better appreciable acknowledgement to the study and make us knowledgeably acquainted to the subject under analysis. In similar vein, data collected will be analysed descriptively using tables and simple percentage in some cases.

1.7 Scope and Limitations of the Study

This study on terrorism and Nigeria’s economy, an assessment of the Boko Haram insurgency will cover the activities of the Boko Haram sect in Maiduguri, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe and Yobe states.

Limitations of the Study

Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, newspapers, magazines, journals etc.). More so, there is scarcity of relevant materials on the issue (Terrorism and Nigeria’s economy, an assessment of the Boko haram insurgency) due to its evolving and spontaneous nature.

Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work. However despite these constraint, the researcher was able to overcome these challenges and made sure that the work was completed successfully.

1.8 Definition of Terms

This entails stating the meaning of various concepts used earlier, so as to give a better understanding of the meaning and also give a vivid picture of these concepts in the minds of the readers. According to Janct (2004:107), definition of terms used in a research is operation. Works are defined as they are used by the researcher. This means that researcher uses certain words in the way they fit to the study, which may be different from the ordinary dictionary meaning. For an operational understanding of the term used within this study, the definitions are as follows:

Terrorism: This is an illegitimate means of attempting to effect political change by the indiscriminate use of violence. Also it is the use of violence to achieve political objectives.

Boko Haram: The term Boko Haram is a derivation of Hausa world ―Boko meaning ―Animist western or otherwise non-Islamic education, while Haram is a word with Arabic origin that figuratively means ―sin but literally, forbidden‘. In order words, Boko Harm means ―western education is forbidden or is a sin (Wkipedia, Boko Haram, 29/10/2016:1) Boko Haram is very controversial Nigeria militant Islamic group that seeks for the imposition of sharia law in the entire northern states of Nigeria. The name officially of the group is jama‘atu Alis-sunna Lidda‘awth wal jihad, which in Arabic translated to people committed to the propagation of the teaching of prophet and jihad literally therefore, thegroup means ―Association of sunnis for the propagation of Islam and for Holy war.

Insurgence: This is defined as a political battle waged among a cooperative or acquiescence populace in order for a group of outsiders to take over (or at least undermine) the government of a nation.

Menace: Menace means a possible danger, a threat, or an act of threatening. It also means something that threatens to cause evil, harm, injury etc. This also means the show of an intention to inflict evil, an indication of a probable evil or catastrophe to come.

Economy: This refers to the wealth and resources of a country, especially in terms of production and consumption of goods and service. It is also the state of a country or region in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services and the supply of money.

Security: Security can be defined to mean ― the total sum of action and measures, including legislative and operational procedures, adopted to ensure peace, stability and the general wellbeing of a nation and its citizens (Shinikaiye, 2004:2).

Sect: Sect can be seen as a body of persons distinguished by pecularities of faith and practice form other bodies adhering to the same general system. Specially, the adherents collectively of a particular creed or confession, a domination or older form of faith or believe (Britanic world language dictionary).

Peace: Peace is generally defined as the absence of war, conflict, anxiety, suffering and violence and absolute peaceful co-existence. However, peace connotes more than a mere absence of war hostilities because an absence of conflict is inevitable. Therefore, peace could be defined as a political condition that ensure justice and social stability through formal or informal institutions, practices and norms (Howard, 1987).

Domestic Terrorism: Domestic Terrorism is the commission of terrorist attacks in a state by forces inside or originating from the state, as opposed to terrorist attacks by forces external to the state. In other words, domestic terrorism is a terrorist act practice in one‘s own country against her own people (online dictionary).

Violence: Violence is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the international use of physical force of power, threatened or actual against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injuries, death psychological harm, mal development or deprivation. (Wikipedia, WHO).

1.9 Outline of Chapters

The study shall be divided into five chapters. The first chapter discusses the background to the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, assumption, and significance of the study, organisation of various chapters, method of data collection, scope and limitations of the study and definition of various terms.

The second chapter shall consist of literature review; exhaustively discuss terrorism causes and its implication in the economy as well as the theoretical framework of the study, trends and patterns of terrorism in Nigeria, meaning of Boko Haram, the funding membership and ideology of the Boko Haram sect, and the religious and ethnic base of the Boko Haram sect.

Chapter three would focus on the Historical Background of Boko Haram and its evolving dimension which focused on the evolution of Boko Haram, and its terrorist’s campaign. It also discuss the background of the Boko Haram sect and its terrorist activities as well. Chapter four focuses on data presentation and analysis, and chapter five focuses on the summary of each chapters, conclusion and recommendations.


Adebayo, A.A. (2013) Social Factors Affecting Effective Crime Prevention and Control in Nigeria in International Journal of Applied Sociology, 3(4); 71-75.

Anyenwa, J.C. and Oaikhenar, H.E (2000). The Structure of Nigerian Economy, Onitsha, Joance Educational Publishing ltd.

Awake (2008) “When terrorism will end.” June edition, pp1-6

Barga, T. (2012) “Towards a theology of peace: A panacea to terrorism and violence.”Jos Studies, Vol. 20, pp.1-24.

Cook, C. (1989), Macmillan Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Macmillan

Igbuzor, S.L. (2011). Borno State Ban Motorcycle and Commercial Bikes. The Vanguard, July, 6.

Oche, P.H. (2001) Political Violence and Terrorism Motifs and Motivations, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Rourke, I.G. (2008). The Boko Haram Leader killed, Daily Trust, July 31.



2.0 Introduction

Literature review has to do with what other scholars and authors have contributed to this study so far and this review is precisely concerned with pre-existing views and perceptions of various scholars and academicians with regards to their contributions to the subject matter. To achieve the objective of this chapter, it was divided into the following section: introduction, conceptual clarification (Terrorism and Nigeria’s economy), causes of terrorism and its implication, origin of Boko Haram, membership, ideology, religious and ethnic basis of the Boko Haram sect, and theoretical framework.

When we talk about terrorism just like other concepts in political science that do not have one definition, what actually comes in mind is that the definition of this concept is multi-dimensional and must have variously been described by many scholars and analyst. Certainly, terrorism is not a new phenomenon in human history. What is perhaps correct to say is that in the past, terrorism was not a dominant issue in strategic discourse as it is today. Until now, it did not assume its own separate identity as a specific mode of violent struggle.

Today the menace of terrorism is so pervading as to make people feel that the world has entered into a new global strategic environment, which is now generally accepted as the age of terrorism. The turning point came in the heel of the September 11, 2001 bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. This event brought it home to the global community that we had indeed entered into a new era of universalised war in which no country is immune from attack. The event also marked a turning point in terms of the mode of response by the international community. It awakened the international community to the enormity of the problem and the need and urgency for a global response,

2.1 Conceptual Clarification

2.1.1 Terrorism

Despite the unprecedented global attention given to the war against terrorism, and the increasing intellectual interest in the study of the subject, the concept of terrorism has tended to defy any precise definition. The former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan (2005) alluded to the paralysis within the UN due to what he referred to as the “protracted debate about what terrorism is-whether States can be guilty of it as well as non-State groups and whether it includes acts of resistance against foreign occupation”. Kofi Annan’s proposition of what he felt should be an acceptable definition of the term did not end the wrangling within the international community over what should constitute terrorism. Kofi Annan (2005) had proposed that terrorism should be seen as any action that is “intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants, with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or international organization to do something or not to do something”.

What is important to emphasize here is that as a result of the discordant voices among the members of the international community over the definition of terrorism, individual role players or groups of role players in the efforts to combat the menace of terrorism simply construct their respective images of terrorism and respond accordingly, while expecting that other members of the international community would follow.

The problem of finding an agreeable definition of terrorism is derived from the subjectivity with which most people perceive the concept, especially the tendency to rule out one’s action in the definition of the term. For instance in their perception of terrorism, some Western powers, including the United States, tend to restrict the term to acts of violence perpetuated by non-state actors to achieve political purposes (U.S. Dept. of State, 2003). They fail to make allowance for those fighting to liberate their territories from foreign occupation and regard the latter as terrorists. In contrast, some “Third World” countries with sympathy for those involved in liberation struggles would prefer to regard the latter as freedom fighters. The OAU, for instance, made allowance for this in its convention on the prevention and combating terrorism. In the relevant Article, it said: “the struggle waged by people in accordance with the principles of international law for liberation or self-determination, including armed struggle against colonisation, occupation, aggression and domination by foreign forces shall not be considered as terrorist acts”. (OAU July 1999, Article 3) It is in this sense that there is much truth in the saying that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” (Carlton and Schaerf, 1981).

By way of finding a basis for appropriate definition of the term, Imobighe (2006:18) highlighted four critical elements of terrorism that could guide us in the conceptualization of terrorism. These include the environment of terrorism, the nature of the actions associated with terrorism, the target of terrorist actions and the objectives for such actions. A look at these four critical elements will convey the following facts about terrorism.

a. Terrorism occurs in an environment of conflict and discord, and hence it is a product of conflict escalation. Though it has been said that terrorism occurs in an environment of conflict, this should not be interpreted to mean that whenever there is conflict there will be terrorism. In other words, the equation is not always direct in the sense that conflict automatically translates into terrorism. It is when a conflict degenerates into violence that terrorism becomes one of the violent instruments for managing it. Thus it is not an accident of history that the places that form the hot beds of terrorism in the world today, such as the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan and Chechnya, are also the places where the world’s most violent conflicts are taking place.
b. Terrorism is a violent mode of response to a conflictual relationship. However the violence does not take a particular form; it takes various forms according to the mental and physical disposition of those involved. The forms the violence takes ranges from hostage taking, assassinations, plane hijacking, to the detonation of bombs and explosives, or release of nerve gas.
c. The target of terrorism is not limited to the parties directly involved in the conflictual relationship, but includes everybody directly or remotely associated with the principal actors or combatants. In other words, the target usually includes the ancillary interests of the main combatants. Hence innocent civilians too often become victims of terrorism.
d. The objectives of terrorism are varied and not always political. If we incorporate the above four essential elements in our conceptualization of the term, we can simply say terrorism represents “the indiscriminate and random use of different levels of violence against an opponent or the ancillary interests of such an opponent, with whom one has an adversarial relationship in order to strike fear on the latter and impose one’s will on it or tailor its action towards a desired goal” (Imobighe, 2006:18).

From the above definitions, it could be seen that terrorism has to do with the different shades of low-intensity violence (usually sporadic and at times vicious) that are available to the opposing sides in any form of violent contestation or struggle for power or influence. Hence different groups irrespective of their ideological dispositions, such as freedom fighters, revolutionaries, insurgents, nationalistic or ethnic groups, as well as national armed forces and other State security agents have been known to have used terrorism redress perceived grievance. We must accept the reality that in our present global system, it has become a readily available instrument of struggle between opposing camps in a violent adversarial relationship. As soon as any disagreement or conflict is allowed to escalate into violence, those involved choose from the affordable range of options to respond to the situation. As has been noted elsewhere, “in an unequal power relationship, whereas the stronger side may not be constrained in terms of its ability to strike directly at the opponent as to resort to the latter’s ancillary interests” (Imobighe, 2006:19).

Terrorism is the exclusive preserve of the champions of ethnic emancipation and inexorably becomes a weapon of the underprivileged, the victims of the prevailing relations of power in international system, acting in self-defence or struggling to shake off the yoke of oppression (Mbah 2001:63). The implication of this line of argument is that terrorism is a revolutionary tactics and nothing else. This explains why some terrorist group assume a larger image of liberation fighters, social revolutionaries and even martyrs of some worthy cause as they can legitimately claim. According to Claver (2002:302), he stated that terrorism is the use of force to impact fear with a view to bring about political, economic or social change. Recently, terrorism has been endemic in all parts of the countries in the world. Claver went on to explain that:

It is true, as is often repeated that man‘s terrorist is another is an extreme example of an essential contested concept and its preacher‘s finds to polarize at extent that renders it extremely difficult to return to normal politics (Claver, 2002:303).

Drawing from the above assertion, indicated how terrorism can lead to socio- underdevelopment of a country, though he was not elaborate, but it is worthy to appreciate his view that the practice of terrorism makes the society difficult to return to normal politics. This can be deduced from the activities of the Boko Haram insurgence in Nigeria which has beendestabilizingsocio-economicactivitiesinthenorthern part of the country.

Taking all the above into consideration, terrorism can be viewed in a more comprehensive manner as it relates to the “indiscriminate use of different levels of violence, ranging from hostage taking and assassinations to the use of explosives and bombs for the management of hostile relationship in which the target is not limited to the main combatants but inclusive of all those with ancillary relationship with the target enemy and in which the overall aim is to impose one’s will on the latter.” (Imobighe, 2006:20).

The above definition is useful in the sense that it is inclusive of those government agencies who while combating terrorism equally resort to terrorist acts through indiscriminate bombing of settlements, villages, towns and cities, thereby causing not only military but civilian casualties. What is necessary to emphasize at this point is the need to avoid the cloning of official actions that border on terrorism with less culpable terminology simply because they are applied by government agencies. Terrorism is terrorism irrespective of its perpetrator. What we can further emphasize here is the fact encompasses a wide range of violent actions, which opposing sides in a hostile relationship resort to in order to force their will on their opponents. And it is as a result of the variegated nature of the actions that are adjudged as acts of terrorism that some stakeholders have taken the liberty to expand its usage to incorporate all sorts of activities that would serve the purpose of discrediting those opposed to their line of thought. The danger in the present trend is that there is now the increasing tendency to use terrorism as a tool for stigmatizing those opposed to us, as well as use it to mobilize both domestic and external support against them. It is under this confused setting as to what terrorism represents that the world is trying to evolve a global coalition against the menace.

2.1.2 Nigeria’s Economy

However, it will be incomprehensive if we don’t review the concept of economy as it relates to the Nigerian economy. By so doing we will be able to establish the relationship between Terrorism and the economy of Nigeria. The purpose of every economy is to satisfy human wants by using limited or scarce resources available and known to a society (www.nios.ac.in). These wants can be satisfied by production and consumption of goods and services. It is an entire network of producers, distributors and consumers of goods and services in a local, regional or national community (Business Dictionary). Economy simply means a specified collection of interrelated set of marketed and non-marketed productive economic activities taking place in a geographical territory. The economy of Nigeria therefore is all this form of economic activities taking place in domain of Nigeria i.e. the domestic economy or the economic activities that is being carried out by the Nigerian national wherever in the world (National Open University, 2013). Therefore the Nigerian economy is a complex organizational framework, interrelated network of logical connectives through which the activities of the country’s economy is coordinated, directed, supervise and evaluated. It involves the characteristics of the economy which constitute economic status and component which determine the performance of the economy. The Nigerian economy can structurally be classified broadly into four areas: (i) Production-agriculture, manufacturing, mining and quarrying and construction, (ii) General Commerce - domestic trade, import, and export, (iii) Services- public utilities, transport, and communication, (iv) Others include financial institution, government and miscellaneous (National Open University, 2013).

In view of this, Agriculture is considered the backbone of economic activity in Nigeria especially in the Boko Haram affected States. This is because agriculture has some links with some other sectors, for instance industrial sectors, thus, the development of this sector could be expected to lead to development in the other sectors and consequently, to economic development and growth. However people in the Northern part of the country are predominantly agrarian base which involves the cultivation of land, raising and rearing of animals for purpose of food for themselves, feed for animals and raw materials for industries. They also engage in cropping, livestock, and forestry, fishing, processing and marketing of these agricultural products.

Mainly, agriculture in Northern part of Nigeria focused on crop production, livestock, forestry and fishing. Due to the activities of agriculture in that region I observe that the importance of agriculture in our society cuts across being a source of food and raw materials for industries because it provides job opportunities and a source of foreign exchange earnings. This is why the government of Nigeria places more emphasis on developing the agricultural sector than other sector. In view of this, the accidence of the Boko Haram menace in North Eastern region of Nigeria has halted the agricultural activities in that region and this has in turn brought the downthrown to the national economy of the country.

In 2014, Nigeria was ready to celebrate herself for becoming Africa’s largest economy by updating (rebasing) the standard measure of economic size GDP, unfortunately, the festivities were short-lived in the ensuing months the rapidly escalating Boko Haram insurgency exposed to all the countries many weaknesses and deep dysfunction that had been partially obscured in recent years by surging oil revenues (Robert, 2014). While seemingly separate events, the announcement of Nigeria’s newly acquired economic status and the stepped-up insurgency are intimately related. Rightly or wrongly, the rebasing results combined with reports of “lost” oil money confirm most Nigerians worst suspicious: The system is rigged to provide gains for the elites at the expense of the general populace. With 63 percent of the population under 25 and youth unemployment at around 37 percent, this theme has struck a chord with the country’s young, marginalised workers. This pool of marginalised youth is larger in the economically depressed north than in the more prosperous south and is the backbone of Nigeria’s Islamic insurgency movement, Boko Haram (Robert, 2014).

The north-eastern states of Adamawa, Yobe, and Borno, where Boko Haram thrives and carries out its terrorist activities with increasing brutality, once had a thriving economy comprised of textiles, agriculture and palm oil industries. These economic activities went into decline in the 1970s, when the focus of investment shifted towards the Southern oil industry, and fell even further in the mid- 1990s, when globalization began flooding the country with cheap imports (Robert, 2014).

Today, Adamawa and Yobe are among the poorest states in Nigeria, with poverty rate between 60 and 70 percent and unemployment at 35 percent. In Borno state the birthplace of Boko Haram, only 2 percent of children under two are vaccinated, 83 percent of young people are illiterate and 48.5 percent of children do not go to school. While unemployment, illiteracy, and marginalization may not directly cause youth violence or insurgency, these factors created a receptive audience for Boko Haram’s fundamentalist Islamic ideology (Robert, 2014).

2.2 History of Terrorism

States as well as non-state bodies have used fear as their weapon of choice for a very long time, and as a historical process the use of fear may have its own dynamic and regularities. Thus, one can ask whether such regularities or cycles have been observed. Have changes in social order, beliefs or some major events brought along specific increases and decreases in the occurrence of non-state terrorism? David Rapoport (2004) has outlined four major waves of international terrorism in his seminal work on the history of international terrorism. The first (‘anarchist’) wave of modern terrorism began in Russia in the 1880s and lasted until the 1920s, the second (‘anti-colonial’) wave began in the 1920s and ended in the 1960s, the third (‘new left’) wave began in the 1960s and continued through to the 1980s, and the fourth (‘religious’) wave emerged in 1979 and continues until today (Rapoport, 2004). The ‘anarchist’ wave of terrorism grew out of the deep dissatisfaction of anarchists with the slow reforms of societies and a realisation that the attempts of revolutionaries to ignite uprisings (and thereby launch changes of the social order) through various writings were inefficient. Anarchists viewed societies as being chained by various conventions and sought acts of terror to destroy these conventions. Their goal was to force those defending governments to respond to terror in ways that would undermine the rules which governments claimed to respect. In order to achieve the disproportional response of governments, terrorists targeted various high ranking officials and even heads of state. In this way, excessive force used by authorities would polarise societies and uprising would follow. The weapon of choice of these first terrorists became dynamite and it usually killed the attacking terrorist in the process. The high point of the first wave of terrorism arrived in 1890s and it continued even beyond the first wave until 1940. This period could be called the ‘Golden Age of Assassinations’ and during that period one major European minister or head of state was assassinated every 18 months (Joel Shurkin, 1988).

The first period of international terrorism also witnessed the first attempt by states to tackle terrorism globally after the assassination of the US President William McKinley in 1901. It failed as states were unable to forge consensus for joint action (Rapoport 2004, pp.49–52). The ‘anti-colonial’ wave of terrorism began with signing the Treaty of Versailles ending the First World War. The principle of self-determination used to break-up defeated empires provided a foundation for aspirations of a new kind of terrorist organisations, for example, The Irish Republican Army and various Jewish organisations that operated against British forces in the Palestine. The terror campaigns of the second wave were fought mainly in territories where special political problems made the withdrawal of forces by the colonial power a less attractive option. It was in Palestine where Menachem Begin, the leader of Jewish organisation Irgun from 1943–1948, described its members for the first time as freedom fighters fighting against government terror. The second wave of terrorism received extensive support from various Diasporas abroad and resorted much less to assassinations. The strategy of the second wave of terror was more complicated: the primary goal of terrorists was the elimination of the local police force and achieving its substitution by occupying military forces that were expected to be too clumsy in dealing with terrorists, but powerful enough to cause grievance among the population through their disproportionate responses to the actions of terrorists During the ‘anti-colonial’ wave of terrorism it became a common practice to call terrorists fighting against colonial powers ‘freedom fighters’ (Rapoport 2004, pp. 53–54, 56).

The occurrence of ‘new left’ terrorism was stimulated by the Vietnam War, which was seen to prove that modern states were vulnerable to relatively unsophisticated weapons and tactics. Many young people became deeply dissatisfied with the existing system and they gave rise to terror organisations such as the Red Army Faction in the West Germany, Italian Red Brigades and French Action Directs. The target selection of the third wave of terrorists was remarkably similar to those of the first wave of international terrorism: prominent targets became very popular again. The ‘new left’ wave of terrorism produced some 700 hijackings, there were 409 international kidnapping incidents involving 951 hostages from 1968–1982, assassinated high-ranking officials included the prime ministers of Spain and Jordan, the former prime minister of Italy Aldo Moro and others. However, while anarchist’s assassinated officials with the aim of provoking disproportionate response, the ‘new left’ terrorists rather ‘punished’ their targets for various reasons. It is significant that 1/3 of all targets of the third wave of terrorism were US targets.

The third wave of terrorism witnessed much more international cooperation in counterterrorism activities. The UN adopted major conventions that outlawed hijacking, hostage taking, and financing terrorists. ‘Freedom fighter’ was no longer a popular term in the UN. Paradoxically, the Palestine Liberation Organization that had used terrorism to promote its policies received official UN status and was recognised by more than 100 states (Rapoport 2004, pp. 56–61). The ‘religious’ wave of terrorism has Islam at its heart. It began in 1979 when three events occurred:

The Iranian Revolution, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and a new Islamic century began. Iran called the US the ‘Great Satan’ and the war in Afghanistan helped to create a training and Islamic indoctrination system for volunteers from all over the Arab world (Rapoport 2004, p. 61). The ‘religious’ wave of terrorism has given prominence to suicide terror- ism and witnessed an attempt to cause mass casualties by the use of chemical weapons by the Aum Shinrikyo sect in Tokyo in 1995. In 1983 the Shia organisation Hezbollah supported by Iran carried out massive suicide terrorist attacks on the positions of the US Marines and French paratroopers in Lebanon. These attacks resulted in serious casualties and strongly influenced the respective governments to withdraw their troops from Lebanon. These suicide attacks influenced the Tamil Tigers so much so that from 1980–2001 they carried out 75 out of the 186 (more than 40%) of suicide terrorist attacks in the world.

Fourth wave have been committed by followers of one religion (Islam) war- ranting a more specific focus on the subject. In addition, instability ought to be considered as one of the main causes of terrorism (Mockaitis 2007, p. 38). Summing up, one can say that all critical views certainly were taken into account in discussing the history of terrorism.

2.2.1 Causes of Terrorism

The causational factor that drives people to resort to carry out terrorist acts is inconclusive. How these two are connected can be a matter of worded goals, or are living conditions perceived as unjust and not decent and therefore its goals may be inferred or a mere conjuncture.

Probably, the most contested cause of terrorism is an aggrieved group resorting to violence for nationalist or separatist reasons; depending on one’s point of view, this can be considered as resistance against an external oppressor. Thus far, only Mahatma Ghandi and his followers of the freedom movement have managed to liberate themselves from foreign occupation by peaceful means (Drewermann, 2001), whereas in most other colonised states nationalism movements commonly turned to terrorism, it being the resort of an extremist faction of this broader movement within an ethnic minority (Crenshaw, 1981:383). William (1994) provides an overview on the relation between ethnic minorities and the likelihood of conflict, for example to establish or assert language rights, religious beliefs and symbols (1994:59).


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Terrorism and the Nigerian Economy. An Assessment of the Boko Haram Insurgency
Federal University Dutse
Political Science
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Mr. Okafor Onyebuchi Stanley has a good academic background in Political Science from Federal University Dutse, Nigeria. He performed excellently in his undergraduate studies and showed an independent mind in his undergraduate thesis which I was privileged to supervise. As a matter of fact, his intellectual capacity deserved the class of degree (First Class grade) he graduated with. He won the Dutse Scholar Award for best performing student in the department. He was honoured for having the highest GPA in the department during his first year in the University.
terrorism, nigerian, economy, assessment, boko, haram, insurgency
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Onyebuchi Stanley Okafor (Author), 2017, Terrorism and the Nigerian Economy. An Assessment of the Boko Haram Insurgency, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/498168


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