Socio-Economic Effects of Boko Haram Operations in Nigeria

Bachelor Thesis, 2018

149 Pages, Grade: 4.7/5





Table of contents


1.1 Background to the Study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Objectives to the Study
1.6 Significance to the Study
1.7 Research Methodology
1.7.1 Scope of the Study
1.8 Limitations of the Study
1.9 Chapter Outline

2.1 Introduction
2.2 The Concept of Terrorism
2.2.1 Types and Dimensions of Terrorism
2.2.2 Causes of Terrorism in Nigeria
2.3 The Origins of the Boko Haram Sect
2.3.1 Ideology and Agenda of Boko Haram
2.3.2 Religious, Political and Ethnic Justifications of the Boko Haram Sect
2.3.3 Ethnic Justification
2.3.4 Religious Justification
2.3.5 Political Justification
2.4 Theoretical Framework

3.1 Introduction
3.2 Strategies of Combating Terrorism
3.3 Views of Counter Terrorism Strategy
3.4 Nigerian Government Counter-Terrorism Strategies
3.4.1 Soft Approach
3.4.2 The Military in Counter-terrorism

4.1 Introduction
4.2 Socio-Economic Effects
4.3 The Effect on Political Development
4.4 Root Causes of Boko Haram Terrorism: A Socio-Economic Angle
4.4.1 Unemployment and High Population in Northern Nigeria
4.4.2 Chronic poverty
4.4.3 Economic development and income inequality
4.4.4 Low Educational Profile in the Northern Region

5.1 Introduction
5.2 Summary
5.3 Conclusion
5.4 Recommendations




This work is dedicated to God Almighty whose grace enabled me to accomplish this task and without Him this work would not have been completed. To my parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Ndimele Nwankpa; my siblings- Mary, Gift and Joseph Ndimele. You all served as my source of encouragement towards attaining this giant stride. In lieu, I pay homage to the innocent citizens and members of the Armed Forces, whose lives were cut short in the process to sustain a unified Nigeria, may their souls rest in peace.


It was a great man who said “Whatever I have achieved, is because I have stood on the shoulders of great men”. I am not an exception to this. I hesitate to single out anyone, lest I slight others, but at the same time I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge at least some of those with whom I worked most closely. I acknowledge my lecturer and supervisor, Dr. J.O. Arowosegbe, who meticulously edited and scrutinized this work, turning it from a disjointed agglomeration of ideas to this fine thread of thought which exists today.

I also acknowledge all lecturers of the Department of Political Science for the knowledge instilled in me during the course of my study. Firstly, my indefatigable H.O.D, Dr. V.A. Isumonah, I am very grateful for your ability to advance the prestige of our Department. I salute the academic prowess of erudite scholars in the Department, who are fount of knowledge and have always provided me with the pathway to succeed. The list includes Prof. A.A Agbaje, Dr. R.E. Aiyede, Dr. O.S Adesina, Dr. S. Lafenwa, Dr. E.U. Idachaba, Dr. I.A Johnson and amongst others.

Also, my gratitude goes to all my colleagues of Pos Class 2017, you all lightened my fire and amplified my quest to study hard. I can say, I was in the midst of great minds. Similarly, my respect goes to my friends from day one of my study in this prestigious institution of learning- Esan Oluyemi, Boniface James, Adeyinka Moses, Akuma Joshua and Obiebi Sylvester.

I will be offending the Almighty if I fail to appreciate my pastor, Rev. B.Y. Babatunde and the entire congregation of Assemblies of God Church, Bodija 1; I say thank you all for your prayers and counsel, for it geared me towards becoming a better person. In lieu, I adore the role played by my aunties such as- Mrs. Elizabeth Iwuala, Mrs Blessing Ejike, Mrs Ada Ndimele, Miss Chidinma Agharanya, inter alias.

With strict reliance to the words of Marcel Proust, “let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardener who make our souls blossom”. You have all made my soul to blossom. Succinctly, I doff my hat in utmost humility to appreciate your relentless support. I say once again, Todah Rabah.


The Nigerian State since 2009 has been under the throes of the deadly terrorist operations of the Islamic sect formally known as Jama’atuAhlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad. This sect famously dubbed Boko Haram, meaning western civilization/education is forbidden, claims to be on a mission to Islamize the Nigerian State. Prima facie, Boko Haram’s motivations appeared to be religious; however considering factors as dismal socio-economic conditions that prevail in the Northern region, the epicenter of the sect, a religious explanation alone is reductive.

More so, relevant and related literature was reviewed using conceptual and theoretical approaches. A threefold theoretical framework constituting of Marxian, Relative deprivation, and Frustration aggression respectively were adopted to explain the phenomenon. Unlike other authors who have hinged the operations of the sect to a kind of political undertone; this study deems fit to establish the poor socio economic conditions especially in the North eastern region which have been serving as a veritable ground for the sect quest to gradually dethrone the legitimacy of the Nigerian State. This study also exposes the extent of the damage further caused by the sect violent operations as well as the suitability of the “carrot and stick” strategies or policies in dealing with the sect negative impact.

Hence, this study employs secondary source of data from library materials, newspapers, journals, articles and so on.

The findings revealed that the strategies of Nigerian government failed because she failed to address adequately the socio-economic factors that equipped the sect such as unemployment, poverty, corruption/bad leadership, poor economy structure. The research further exposed that the strategy used in curtailing militancy in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria failed to tackle terrorism in the North Eastern part of the country which can be regarded as the nerve of the sect because of the international affiliation and its religious connotation to terrorism.



1.1 Background to the Study

The return to democracy in Nigeria in May, 1999, brought hopes of development and political stability to Nigeria. The last decade in Nigeria has experienced an increase in violent, conflicts and criminality, which tended to undermine those expectations. The violence and criminality have come in the form of armed robbery, kidnapping, drug trafficking, arms smuggling, terrorism, human trafficking and militancy, among other acts of criminality that undermine national security. Internal security has been significantly undercut by violent activities of civilian-in-arms against the Nigerian State. These have included radicalized religious and regional youth groups, prominent among which are the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), O’Odua Peoples’ Congress (OPC), the Arewa People’s Congress (APC), Bakassi Boys, Egbesu Boys, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), and more recently, Boko Haram, Ansaru, ‘Kala-Kato’, and Ombatse, among others (Onuoha, 2012: 134-151). Taking cognizance to the above assertion, it is very noteworthy in the scheme of politics or as far as the plethora of roles bothering around government is concerned that the primary or most germane function which every government seek to accentuate as even enshrined in the Nigeria 1999 constitution, is the protection of lives and properties of its citizens. Sequel to this, national security threat is a major issue for the government of today and it has prompted huge allocation of the national budget to security. In order to ameliorate the incidence of crime, the federal government in its quest has embarked on criminalization of terrorism by passing the Anti-Terrorism Act in 2011, installation of Computer-based Closed Circuit Television cameras (CCTV) in some parts of the country, enhancement of surveillance as well as investigation of criminal related offences, heightening of physical security measures around the country aimed at deterring or disrupting potential attacks, strengthening of security agencies through the provision of security facilities and the development and broadcast of security tips on the mass media (Azazi, 2011). Despite these efforts, the level of insecurity in the country is still high. In addition, Nigeria has consistently ranked low in the Global Peace Index (GPI, 2012), signifying a worsened state of insecurity in the country. Hence, Adagba, et al (2012), Uhunmwuangho and Aluforo (2011) are of the view that the efforts of government have not yielded enough positive result.

With the lingering security challenges and the inability of the security apparatus of the government to guarantee safety and security in the country, the question that baffles everyone in Nigeria today is that “can there be security?” Is security of lives and properties achievable? Apparently, the security situation in Nigeria appears or at least have remained insurmountable and many people have argued that government at all levels have not done enough by not confronting the situation head on and dealing with it decisively, others have argued that the situation has a political undertone or inclination calculated to serve the interest of certain political gods, who have been dissatisfied and disgruntled about the political manifestations in the country. Also Madunagu (2001:51) maintains that terrorism is “the use of violence to achieve political objectives”. The bottom line of the above definitions is that terrorism is an aspect of political violence. Since September 11, 2001, multiple attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Centre and pentagon in the United States of America, has made terrorist laden groups or caucus such as the Boko Haram, to become a household of discussion in the world today.

Nigeria as a nation-state is under a severe internal socio-economic and security threat. At a more general level, the threat has social, economic, political and environmental dimensions. Each of these dimensions has greatly affected the nation‘s stability, and can be traced to the ethnic militia armies, ethnic and religious conflicts, poverty, terrorism, armed robbery, corruption, economic sabotage, and environmental degradation (Ilufoye, 2009).

More so, Boko Haram insurgence has become the major problem facing Nigerians in the recent time. These groups have orchestrated several bombing that have killed millions of innocent citizens of the country and also caused the destruction of both private and public properties worth of billions of naira. This derives from their bid to make people in the North East geo-political zone of Nigeria to embrace their view on Islamic Nigeria code.

The predominant threat and security challenges in the area are emendating from un-abating attacks on Nigerian citizens, individuals, public and governmental installations, kidnapping and destruction of properties. All these umbrella of effects immersed in Boko Haram operations have signaled serious crimes against the Nigeria state, which has threatened its national security and socio-economic activities. This has also posed a great challenge to the ground strategy for national security of which the primary aim is to strengthen the Federal Republic of Nigeria to advance her interest and objectives, to contain instability, control crime, quality of life of every citizens, improve the welfare and the eliminate corruption (Damba-zau 2007:51).

Boko Haram activities, has fundamentally dethroned socio-economic activities by Increased crime and destruction of both lives and properties of Nigeria citizens. This can be attested to by the mass movement of people living in the Northern part of the country most especially Maiduguri, which is the capital of Borno State. This situation has made it impossible for the citizens in that part to effectively carry out their legitimate businesses. It has also unabatedly led to scaring foreign investors out of the country. Students have been forced to flee their schools as the gravity of the crisis. This has made some government to vow never to allow Nigerian students from their state to go to the Northern part of Nigeria for anything. In vitality, the activities of the sect has also effected the posting of students of Southern and Eastern extradition on National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to the North, to the extent that parents are strongly resisting the posting of their children as Corpers to the North.

In a bid to concentrate Boko Haram within the walls of implication, her existence can be viewed as a fatal blow to the noble objective of the scheme, as a unifying strategy such as Nation-building. The unity of Nigeria is seriously threatened by the activities of Boko Haram fundamentalist sect and therefore, considered to be a major potential terrorist threat affecting the great and strategic territorial shores of Nigeria mostly on the part of her socio-economic potency being questioned. Thus, if this is not curbed to its barest level, the bond and integration dream as visible and cherished by her dead or past heroes will not see the light of reality, i.e. in vain.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Although scholarly works on the Boko Haram phenomenon is mushrooming, there is yet a paucity of compelling scholarship on the socio-economic determinants or indices with sheer consent of the economic origins of the crisis and also with strict reference to the nature of Nigerian political economy. Thus, considering the motley of prevailing opinions which sometimes contradictory as far as the impetus for Boko Haram terrorism is concerned, the efficacy of policy response (either soft or hard) in long term rests on a well informed understanding of the causal factors of which socio-economic conditions are crucial. In essence, an in-depth and robust investigation that can positively influence policies geared towards deterring unwholesome socio-economic manifestations in Nigeria as a whole is expedient. Indeed, the better the issue is understood the more efficacious would be policy aimed at combating not just Boko Haram terrorism but also other like-minded individuals or groups that might arise in the future due to the deterioration of the socio-economic conditions of Nigerians. Hence, this study seeks to investigate primarily how the lack of basic necessities of life induces terrorism, interrogate the socio-economic implications as well as the strategies employed in addressing the menace piloted by the sect.

1.3 Research Questions

1. What is the origin of Boko Haram
2. Does it have factors fueling its existence
3. How does Boko Haram activities impact on Nigeria’s socioeconomic sphere
4. What are the measures used to stem low the negative impact of Boko Haram considering its socio-economic underpinning

1.10 Objectives to the Study

1. To explore into the origin of Boko Haram sect
2. To examine its causes
3. To investigate the socioeconomic impact of Boko Haram in Nigeria
4. To examine various measures utilized to counter Boko Haram negative impact considering its socio-economic underpinning

1.5 Significance to the Study

All individual lives in a world prone to crisis. No nation is free from crisis. Violence is now endemic in human relations. The global threat of terrorism respect no boundaries or borders. Nigeria is not free from these threats, emanating from Boko Haram activities. Therefore, the debating questions are:

1. What is the nature of this threat?
2. Have the security agencies handled the situation well?
3. What have gone wrong with the strategy employed?
4. How should government respond to these recent terrorist bombing?
5. Can militaristic approach without more work, work?
6. Are there lessons to be leant in the ways other countries handle such threat?

This research work will attempt to answer these questions, and build up relevant literatures on Islamist fundamental, and contributes to academic, professional and security at large as it enlightens, develops and informs citizens and government of the reoccurring activities of domestic terrorists and making of possible ways for policy makers to strategize measures to handle the conflict in Nigeria.

Beyond serving as an addition to already existing literature, it will serve as a practical guide for those in the field of criminal investigation departments, anti- terrorism or counter insurgence et cetera.

This study is thereby motivated by strong desire to contribute to the ranging dissolution, its socio-economic implication on Nigeria‘s development. It is therefore, hoped that this study will be relevant and of benefits to the students and scholars of political science, history, intelligent and security studies and the society at large.

1.6 Research Methodology

This simply means method of data collection; that is, referring to the various means through which appropriate information needed for this study was sourced, for the purpose of this work. The method used in the gathering of the data collection is mainly secondary source of data collection.

This research is a topical issue; the secondary method of sourcing will be adequate, this include gathering materials or information from text books, journals, magazines, newspapers, internet material seminars, debates and seminars publications and so on. In the same vein, it will also makw use of historical research method.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope covers the extent of socio-economic effects orchestrated by the Boko Haram sect with close attention to the North-Eastern region of Nigeria since it is said to be the stronghold of the sect. it also investigate within the time frame of 2009-2014. The justification of this scope and period is also because the activities of Boko Haram rose to its peak and the examining of efforts made by the government of President Goodluck Jonathan at combating Boko Haram’s violent operations.

1.8 Limitations of the Study

The main limitation for this research rests on my inability to have real and first-hand interviews with current or even former members of Boko Haram. This is hinged to the fact that Boko Haram is still an on-going threat and as such going to the Northern part of Nigeria remains a big risk. In lieu, this is justified due to the level of academic programme through which this study is being carried out. Another basic limitation rests on the collection and availability of data especially with regards to Boko Haram attacks. While some of the sites are locked and others have some earlier information removed, there was also the grave limitation posed by inaccuracy by different sources (news outfits) with regards to an attack or the number of dead or injured. Future researchers should however coin out modalities in order to see through the eyes of insurgents and terrorists. By this, I mean, having interviews with insurgents to personally hear why they do what they do.

Hence, despite financial problem, hindrance and shortcoming the research work will definitely come to accomplishment.

1.8 Chapter Outline

Chapter One: Introduction

This chapter sets out the circumstances that specify the Boko Haram crisis in Nigeria, research problems, research questions, objectives of the study and its significance. It gives a general description of how Nigeria as a state has been continually affected by the havoc wreaked by Boko Haram sect. The chapter also describes the methodology employed in the study as well as structure and time frame.

Chapter Two: Literature review

This is centered on different literature that is directly related to the Boko Haram menace in Nigeria. It also gives an analytical discussion of the conceptual and theoretical frameworks in the area of insecurity, terrorism as well as its catalyst seen to have given birth to this sect. For the purpose of this work, Marxism, Relative-Dependency and Frustration-Aggression theory will be adopted to give the necessary insight into the emergence of Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Chapter Three: Nigerian Government Counter Terrorism Strategies

This chapter will be containing the various tactics and procedures that have been used by the government of Nigeria with a viewing to ensuring the protection of lives and properties as well as upholding her national integrity in totality.

Chapter Four: Socio-economic effects of Boko Haram in Nigeria

The aforementioned chapter will be focusing mainly on the social and economic implications as well as the root causes associated with the operations of the Boko Haram sect especially in the North Eastern region. In the course of investigating the root causes of the sect, the nature of Nigeria’s political economy will be understood.

Chapter Five: Summary, Recommendation and Conclusion

It gives a preview and conclusion of the research work. Specifically, the conclusion will be deducted from discussions in the preceding chapters of the project.



2.1 Introduction

The study offers a review of salient literature on terrorism from the global view as well as Boko Haram as worshippers. Thus, it is important to have insight into scholars’ views on the subject areas thereby laying the foundations for a robust research. To begin with, an understanding of terrorism as well as its dimensions is expedient. This gives an opportunity to establish the verity of Boko Haram being a terrorist organization. For these reasons, the Islamic tie with this sect will be examined for the sake of clarity in order to guide our mind throughout the course of this research.

2.2 The Concept of Terrorism

This section is well immersed with pre existing views and perceptions of various scholars and academicians as regards their contributions to the subject matter. The word terrorism just like some other social science concepts has proved to be one of the most difficult concepts to define. Perhaps, the only consensus among analysts with regard to terrorism is that there is no universally acceptable definition of the concept. Literature survey by the National Research Council (NRC) attempted what it considers a working definition of terrorism in the social and behavioral sciences, consisting of the following elements:

(i ) Illegal use or threatened use of force or violence.
(ii) With an intent to coerce societies or governments by inducing fear in their populations.
(iii) Typically with political and/or ideological motives and justifications.
(iv) An extra societal element with outside society in the case of domestic terrorism or foreign in terms of international terrorism (NRC, 2002).

According to Schmid (2011), Terrorism is a doctrine about the presumed effectiveness of a special form or tactic of fear-generating, coercive political violence and, on the other hand, to a conspiratorial practice of calculated, demonstrative, direct violent action without legal or moral restraints, targeting mainly civilians and non-combatants, performed for its propagandistic and psychological effects on various audiences and conflict parties.

Typically, small number of extremists who otherwise lack the capacity to challenge those in power resort to terrorism. A defining characteristic of terrorism is that its users expect rewards that are of proportionate to the resources. To compliment the foregoing, the follow argues that:

Terrorism is furthermore strategies that are not restricted to any particular ideology (smlter and Beltes 2001, Cited in Ogochukwu, 2013).

According to Reich 1998, Cited in Ogochukwu, 2013 ), as a strategy of resistance to the modern state, terrorism emerged some half century after the French revolution, when the term originated as a description of the state regime of terror. Russia revolutionaries and anarchist in French, Spain, Italy and German established terrorism as a central mechanism in attempt to over throw the established regimes, most of which were autocratic in the submission of Lain Mclean; terrorism as a pejorative term also applies to the deeds of government of sovereign states. According to Lain Mclean, a term “state sponsored terrorism” is often used to describe the conduct of various governments indirectly organizing or indirectly assisting perpetration of violence acts in other state. Lain Mclean argued that in recent time, many countries of divergent ideological persuasion have engaged in this kind of activities while in some cases strictly condemning others forms practices (Lain Mclean, 1996, Cited in Ogochukwu, 2013 ).

Some definitions focus on terrorist tactics to define the term, while others focus on the actor. Ethnic separatist, violence in the 1930‘s provoked the League of Nations formed after the first world war to encourage world stability and peace to defined terrorism for the first time as:

All criminal acts directed against a state and intended or calculated to create a state of terror in the mind of particular persons or group of persons or the general public (League of Nation convention definition of terrorism, 1937, Cited in Ogochukwu, 2013).

Therefore, bringing to our understanding that Boko Haram sect is pre-occupied with carrying out various degree of attacks on civilians, usually used by the powerless against powerful; International terrorism interludes terrorists attacking a foreign target other than within own country or abroad (Rourke 2008:316).

This means that September 11, 2011 attack was an international terrorism while one of the attacks by the Boko Haram sect such as the police stations attacks is a domestic terrorism. But it becomes complicated if the Boko Haram sect is still a domestic terrorist group despites it seeming connection with other international sect such as Hamas and Alqueda.

According to Claver (2002:302, Cited in Ogochukwu, 2013), he stated that terrorism is the use of force to impact fear with a view to bringing about political, economic or social change. Recently, terrorism has been endemic in all parts of the countries in the world. Cleavert went on to explain that:

It is true, as is often repeated that man‘s terrorist is another 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 (Cleavert, 2002:303, Cited in Ogochukwu, 2013).

Drawing from the above assertion, indicates how terrorism can lead to socio-economic underdevelopment of a country, though he was not elaborate, but it is worthy to appreciate his view that the practice of terrorist groups make the society difficult to return to normal politics. This can be deduced from the activities of the Boko Haram insurgence in Nigeria which has been destabilizing socio-economic activities especially in the northern part of the country.

Considering the political definitions‟ popular in governmental circles, Badey, notes the definition offered by the US Department of State in 1983 are still in vogue today. However, he noted that “terrorism means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub national groups or clandestine agents usually intended to influence an audience” ( Badey, 1998).

These definitions implies that every terrorist acts depicts a motivation, tactics and victims in order to achieve certain goals or objective. It also involves the use of violence against a non-combatant targets. Hence, if terrorism is taken to be part of a broader insurgency, countering terrorism may also form a part of a counter-insurgency doctrine, but political, economic and other measures may however, focus more on the insurgency than the specific acts of terror if it must be combated.

Schbley (2003) thinks that the definition of terrorism must be free from prejudiced approaches. He suggests that the definition should be cleared from politics and asserted into criminal justice. Schbley (2003) sees terrorism as violent behaviors committed against the symbolic civilians or their belongings. Hoffman (1998) pointed out that a terrorist is a violent thinker who is dedicated and ready for coercive power to reach his political ends. He also asserted the need for differentiation of terrorism and terrorist from the other kinds of violent behaviors and offenders. In terms of this distinction, Howard and Sawyer (2004), sees terrorism as grounded absolutely in political goals and motives involved in violence and/ or intimidation intended to attain consequences impacting beyond the initial sufferers or targets directed and controlled by an organized group which has a chain of command or a cell structure committed by a subordinate group or an informal structure.

Terrorism is a word with great rhetorical power but with limited scientific precision. This is because terrorists in one given situation could be regarded as freedom fighters in another. Drawing a definitude borderline between terrorists and freedom fighters continue to pose a conceptual as well as theoretical default (Gandu, 2009).

In Gandu’s view (2009), there is a thin line between freedom fighters and terrorists but the case of terrorism in Nigeria today is clear. There is no part of the country that is under foreign rule or dominance. Nigeria has enjoyed unbroken stretch of democracy since 1999 with strong political structures that guarantee equal representation and appointments to positions of authority as regulated by Federal Characters Commission. Nigeria also established among other things, a strong judicial system where aggrieved parties and individuals can resort to and seek redress. The present terrorist activities in Nigeria is not aimed at fighting for political or religious freedom as the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees freedom of worship and political association among others. So, terrorists in Nigeria are not freedom fighters. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees freedom of religion and worship and no individual or section of the country have been denied these fundamental human rights, whether Christians, Muslims, idol worshippers, atheists or any other religion. Any group or section of Nigeria engaging in terrorism with the aim of fighting for freedom to practice their religion or hold political position might not be fighting a just war. The reason is that, the 1999 Constitution guarantees these fundamental human rights. Those engaging in acts of terrorism in Nigeria on the basis of these issues are rather pursuing selfish agenda which is not anchored on fighting for freedom as posited by (Gandu, 2009).

Also, The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act cited in (Alemika, 2003:202-203) defines terrorism as a crime involving:

i. “any act which is a violation of the Criminal Code or the Penal Code and which may endanger the life, physical integrity or freedom of, cause serious injury or death to, any person, any number or group of persons or causes or may cause damage to public or property, natural resources, environmental or cultural heritage and is calculated to –

a. Intimidate, put in fear, force, coerce, or induce any government, body, institution, the general public or any segment thereof, to do or abstain from doing any act or to adopt a particular standpoint, or to act according to certain principles; or
b. Disrupt any public service, the delivery of any essential service to the public or to create a public emergency; or
c. Create general insurrection in a state;

ii. Any promotion, sponsorship of, contribution to, command, aid, incitement, encouragement, attempt, threat, conspiracy, organization or procurement of any person, with the intent to commit any act referred to in paragraph (a) (i), (ii) and (iii) [section 46 of the Act dealing with interpretations.

However, the definition of terrorism in the EFCC Act according to (Alemika, 2013:202) is comprehensive and paradoxically and may turn out to be a catch-22 provision that covers anything and everything. This may lead to abuse and engender a form of law enforcement terrorism by the government that may invoke it in many circumstances that are inappropriate. It may also lead to unduly wide discretionary powers of enforcement such as arrest, prosecution and judicial disposition.

According to the Revised Academic Consensus definition of terrorism cited in (Alemika, 2013:201) refers, on the one hand, to a doctrine about the presumed effectiveness of a special form or tactic of fear-generating, coercive political violence and, on the other hand, to a conspiratorial practice of calculated, demonstrative, direct violent action without legal or moral restraints, targeting mainly civilians and non-combatants, performed for its propagandistic psychological effects on various audiences and conflict parties. In another development, Crenshaw (2011:2) defines terrorism as” a form of violence that is primarily designed to influence an audience. Its execution depends on concealment, surprise, stealth, conspiracy, and deception”. She noted that “terrorism is not spontaneous, or does it involve mass participation. The act itself communicates a future threat to people who identifies with the victims”. Crenshaw further noted that the “choice of time, place, and victim is meant to shock, frighten, excite, or outrage”.

In spite of the complexity and fluidity of the subject of terrorism, definitions have kept emerging. Sandler and Enders (2002) considered terrorism as premeditated use, or threat of extra normal violence to obtain a political objective through intimidation or fear directed at large audience by weaker side in an asymmetrical conflict. According to the convention for prevention and combating terrorism by (African Union (AU) Article 1 (3), terrorism is defined as “any act which is a violation of criminal laws of a state party and which may endanger the life, physical integrity or freedom or causes serious injuries or death to any person, any number or group of persons or causes damage to public or private property, natural resources, environment or cultural heritage”.

After examining some definitions, Poland (2005) narrows the scope of terrorism on two shared features: fear and attaining various political ends. Almost all terrorist acts are aimed at frightening a target population and ultimately they pursue to gain some kinds of political ends. Hence, he defines terrorism as producing dread and intimidation through planned, intentional, organized slaughter, turmoil, and frightening of innocent people to attain some kinds of political ends. Laqueur (1987), one of the authorities in this area, uses a simple definition for terrorism.

He addresses it as a shifting behavior by frightening via political or criminal violence. White (2002) indicates that Laqueur’s definition does not completely explain the political issues of terrorism, but it provides the practitioners a way to progress outside the problematic argument of a definition.

Wilkindon (1979) differentiates political terrorism from other kinds of terrorism. He argues that terrorism uses criminals, sycophants, sadists, or hooligans to achieve different political ends. Another scholar who draws attention to these distinctions by explaining the differences between the terms “terror” and “terrorism” is Taylor (1988). He emphasized that there can be some kind of terror like armed robbery, lynching, slaughter, and even in a case involving threats due to the severity or the way of committing these crimes, but it does not cause the act of terrorism. In this context, the term “terror” can be used for the events that cause severe damage, and anxiety in people. For instance, when several hooligans commit a series of crimes intimidating and threatening other people during the night on the street, it may be called “street terror” or when somebody or some gang members drive their vehicles very dangerously while they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs and kill many people by causing several severe accidents, it may be defined as traffic terror. Addressing these crimes does not mean to assess them in the same category or define with political terrorism. Taylor (1988) differentiates them by distinguishing the words “terror” and “terrorism”. In this perspective, terrorism is defined as a psychological warfare aimed at impacting the political process through violence.

2.2.1 Types and Dimensions of Terrorism

Terrorism is the use of force or violence against persons or property in violation of the criminal laws of the nation for the purpose of intimidation, coercion or ransom. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) () categorizes terrorism as one of two types, Cited in Adekoya, 2012).

- Domestic Terrorism
- International Terrorism
- Suicide Terrorism
- Altruistic Suicide Terrorism

a) Domestic Terrorism

The distinction between domestic and international terrorism refers not to where the terrorist act takes place but rather to the origin of the individuals or groups responsible for it.

For instance, the 1995 bombing of the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City was an act of domestic terrorism but the attacks of September 2011 were international in stature. Domestic terrorism is terrorist activities that focus on facilities or populations without foreign direction. Boko Haram started as a domestic terrorist group, when it was attacking police stations and some individuals that were opposed to their activities and those perceived to be infidels, till it graduated to an international terrorist group.

b) International Terrorism

International terrorism poses the greatest threat to national security. Hazard Mitigation Plan Update (HMPU) (2011) also defined international terrorist activities that are foreign based and /or sponsored by organizations or groups outside the country. HMPU (2011) in its report predicts that global trends indicate that the growing number of terrorist groups will become more networked and even harder to identify and track.

Terrorists often use threats to create fear among the public, to convince citizens that government is powerless and to get immediate publicity for their causes. Going by the definition of international terrorism as provided by HMPU (2011), Boko Haram’s affiliation to other international terrorist organizations qualifies the group as a deadly international terrorist group. The groups’ affiliation is in the following circumstances.

(i) Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram share similar ideologies and in 2011, a Boko Haram member, Mamman Nur reportedly received trainings from Al-Shabaab in Somalia before launching the attack against the United Nations headquarters in Abuja on August 26, 2013.
(ii) Ansar Al-dine and Boko Haram fought alongside each other in Mali against the Azawad National Liberation Movement and several reports have documented Boko Haram activity in Ansar Al-dine controlled territories.
(iii) Ansaru (Jama‟atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan) splintered off from Boko Haram due to ideological differences in January 2012. Ansaru criticized Boko Haram for not adhering to the same interpretation of defensive Jihad. Although these groups ideological differences influenced their tactics and targets selection. Ansaru’s goals of eradicating western influence in West Africa and establishing Sharia are similar to Boko Haram’s.
(iv) In 2012, Boko Haram joined with AQLIM, the movement for oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and Ansar Al-dine to create the Islamic state of Azawad and rebuffed the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA) from areas in the Muslim region of Gao. Although Boko Haram clashed with MNLA, the group has not been a significant target of Boko Haram’s attacks.
(v) Boko Haram’s ideology is strongly opposed to western influence in Nigeria. In 2012, Boko Haram released a video calling for Jihad against the United States, Israel and Great Britain. However, Boko Haram has never targeted directly any of these nations.
(vi) Since its formation in 2001 and more to greater militancy in 2009, Boko Haram has ideologically and militantly opposed the Nigerian Government. Boko Haram wishes to create an Islamic state in Nigeria and has targeted government security forces and defenseless civilians in its operations. The Nigerian government has responded with military and police forces, attempting to destroy Boko Haram‟s strongholds and arrest militants responsible for attacks.
(vii) In 2010 Boko Haram released a statement offering support and pledging alliance to the Afghanistan Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Ideologically both groups have strongly impacted Boko Haram, there is no evidence that either of the groups has provided any material form of support.
(viii) The movement for oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) has provided training camps and conducted joint operations with Boko Haram militants in Mali. The groups are ideologically aligned and wish to establish Sharia beyond the borders of their respective home states (Victor and Karl, 2013).

c) Suicide Terrorism

There are numerous scholars like Sigmund Freud, Karl Menninger, Alfred Adler, Karen Honey and Emile Durkheim who perceives suicide attacks as criminal behaviours (Grollman, 1971). Some of them used social factors to explain why human beings commit suicide, whereas some others provided psychological aspects. For example, in classical sociology, Durkheim (1951) provided widely accepted elements for reasoning of the phenomenon of suicide and categorized the performers. He presented social aspects that lead some individuals to engage in suicidal acts such as anomie, egoism, altruism and fatalism in the society (Maris, 1981; Dunman, 2003).

Generally, Durkheim described three categories of suicide. The egoistic suicides which occur due to the absence of social ties between the society and the individual. When an individual cannot integrate into the society, the social control mechanism like the religion, family or some other institutions are threatened. The lack of individual’s integration into the society carries him to commit egoistic type of suicide. The upper echelons of the societies where the person’s life is administered by the traditions or rituals may lead the individual to sacrifice his/her own life for others. Durkheim (1951) identifies this as altruistic suicide. The last category, anomie suicide, is the result of the lack of regulation of the members of the community. The desires and pleasures of the persons are regulated by the community. The disruption of this regulation completely changes balance between his end and means. He primarily explained these three categories as commonly applicable typologies. In the light of Durkheim’s typology of social anomie theory, egoistic and anomic suicides have kindred ties, which can be indicated as being caused by the community’s inadequate existence in individuals. However, the egoistic type evolves from the deficiency in collective activity leading to individuals not achieving their means and ends, while anomic type springs from the deficiency of individual passions leading them to lack the ability to control themselves. Additionally, altruistic and fatalistic types of suicides have kindred ties with each other because of too much involvement in social integration and moral regulation respectively. An individual’s deep integration into society makes him ready to sacrifice his/her own life as a duty to serve the common good rather than his or her own satisfaction in the altruistic type, whereas excessive regulation, moral despotism and oppressive discipline diminishes an individual’s aspiration for the future and leads him to suicide as a better option in the fatalistic type (Durkheim, 1951).

d. Altruistic Suicide Terrorism

This type of suicide is explained by the high end of integration scale representing suicides committed because of too much integration with the society. Altruistic type of suicide occurs in the opposite conditions of egoistic suicide standing for the negative end of integration continuum. Individuals become part of a group or society as a result of deep integration, so they lose their individuality and individual identity. They feel lost in the group and put forward the social values, goals, and rituals over anything. Individuals ultimately gain a sense of readiness to sacrifice for the sake of their group or society (Durkheim, 1951).

Suicide attacks are therefore a unique type of terrorism amongst others because a perpetrator himself becomes a human-missile which can make the last second adjustments to maximize the damage, when he decides to commit this assault. Suicide terrorism was introduced into domestic terrorism in Nigeria when the domestic terrorist groups became affiliated with some international terrorist organizations, with its first suicide attack on the Nigeria Police Headquarters, Abuja on 16th June, 2012.

2.2.2 Causes of Terrorism in Nigeria

Nigerian poverty situation has been described as an embarrassment and irony to her abundant natural resources buoyed by oil wealth discovered since 1953. Poverty has led to frustration and anger amongst the poor and the marginalized cultural and religious groups in the country. Poverty among the unemployed youths fuelled by corrupt leaders has been identified as causes of violence. Most of the recruits used by the Boko Haram and suicide bombers are drawn from the former Almajiris (poor street children, from poor Muslim parentage, who had been denied formal Western education but had been exploited while growing up by rich Islamic clerics who use them as street beggars to ask for alms on the streets of Northern Nigeria). The Boko Haram sect usually offers food, shelter, security and alternative succor to these homeless children and youths to get their support.

Several structural factors associated with presence or absence of terrorism has been identified by Crenshaw 2011 includes the following:

1. Political environment (extent of democracy – including freeness, fairness and credibility of elections, efficacy of democracy in addressing the aspirations of citizens; national cohesion, political stability, tolerance among ethnic and religious groups, etc) and impact on citizens and influence of foreign actors. Political repression, especially of specific ethnic, religious or racial groups;
2. Economic environment –quality of living of citizens, extent of inequality (influenced by corruption and economic policies), organized and transnational crime, economic exploitation or/and widespread corruption resulting in gross inequality; widespread poverty and economic discrimination;
3. Political, socio-cultural and religious pluralism that breeds inter-group rivalry and violence;
4. Failing states that lacked capacity to promote the human security of citizens; thereby unable to ensure national cohesion or integration, patriotism and loyalty and therefore citizens may be recruited domestically by disenchanted groups (ethnic, religious, political and economic);
5. Weak state capacity for effective conflict-management (prevention, containment, transformation, resolution, etc) that prolong or entrench inter-group conflicts;
6. Foreign relation alliances that sections of the nation perceive as inimical to their group interests; and
7. Lack of capacity to effectively manage the positive and negative aspects of scientific technological and communication developments in the era of globalization.

Eefseh and Robert (2011) observed that terrorism in Nigeria in which ever dimension is stimulated by socio-economic considerations. For instance the Niger Delta agitations are greatly underpinned by the bid for primary material condition. The ethnic driven terrorism is also traceable to economic reason; this is because every ethnic group in Nigeria is in the struggle to achieve control of state resources. Religious extremism for instance, is considered one of the stimuli, and cases abound where Muslims and Christians alike try to overthrow their secular government and replace them with theocracy. Example of countries affected is Nigeria, Egypt, Indonesia and Philippines. In Uganda the Lord’s Resistant Army (LRA) wanted to enforce the Ten Commandments on the Ugandan constitutions and violence became the order of the day. In line with this, Walker (2012) further observed that Boko Haram is a violent Islamic militant organization based in the Northeast which strongly opposes man made laws and modern science and seeks to establish Islamic Government and Sharia laws in the country. Bappah (2009) explained that the real issues are poverty, ignorance, joblessness, frustration, hopelessness, anger, arrogance by official corruption, insensitivity, impunity and generally bad governance. He further argued that it is not wrong to say that terrorism is caused by both internal and external factors. External factors that increase vulnerability to terrorism includes the foreign policies of a country, in particular the U.S. as well as globalization especially in telecommunication which enable likeminded individuals to unite and conspire against common enemies. Internal factors that may lead to terrorist activities include economic deprivation, political oppression, government suppression, ethnic and religious persecutions (Ameh, 2009).

Mu’azu (2012) argued that the environment in which Nigerians live and their dissatisfaction with government policies could be contributory factors to the existence of terrorism. According to this perspective, the living environment of Nigerians gives groups the courage to take on the Nigerian state, because of its perception as unjust to citizens, without guarantee for individual safety and security. Where there is widespread perception and evidences to suggest that the citizens are not getting a good deal from the state, they could resort to violence.

Many of these conditions pre-date Boko Haram, and Boko Haram’s existence and agenda are tangential to these problems. Yet, it is true that the continuing failure of the Nigerian government to address these and other critical issues satisfactorily contributes to general mistrust among its people. Though Boko Haram cannot solve these crises, they are reaping the benefits of a frustrated disillusioned population. Jobless, angry young men who form a massive talent pool from which Boko Haram can draw, while broader northern society somewhat justifiably views the federal government and security services trying to eradicate Boko Haram with contempt.

2.3 The Origins of the Boko Haram Sect

Boko Haram is the local name for the Jama’atu Ahl As-Sunna Li-D’awati Wal Jihad given by the residents of Maiduguri, Borno State. Eventually the name was adopted by all. The residents gave the group this name because of its strong aversion to Western education; which the sect members consider to be corrupting Muslims. The exact date of the establishment of the sect remains unclear, but a majority of analysts, including the security forces in Nigeria, trace it to around 2002-2004 (Mohammed et al, 2010). There is also limited information regarding the sect’s first leader who was identified by his alias, Aminu Tashen-Ilimi. He established the group’s base in Kanamma village in Yobe State in approximately 2004 (ibid). Mohammed Yusuf later emerged as the popular leader of the movement. He barely had any Western education and hailed from a poor family background in Jakusko, Yobe State (Taiwo, et al, 2009). Mohammed Yusuf was a dedicated Salafist who was also deeply influenced by Ibn Taymiyyah ideologies. This perspective is deeply rooted in the staunch defense of Sunni Islam based on strict adherence to the Qur'an and authentic Sunna (practices) of the Prophet Muhammad (Al-Matroudi, I. Abdul Hakim, 2006). While still in his 30s, Yusuf established a mosque and Islamic school for the sect that attracted many poor members from families in the township and from the neighboring states of Niger, Chad, and Cameroon who enrolled their children and wards for Islamic education under his tutelage. Yusuf, himself, lived a very different lifestyle from that of his followers: he had four wives and 12 children, and was not considered a poor man by the Nigerian standards. In fact, Yusuf lived a lavish life, and his children attended Western-styled schools. He maintained private attorneys and doctors, and used expensive automobiles which were contrary to the lifestyle he preached to his followers (Mohammed et al, 2010).

The sect was organized initially with Yusuf as both the spiritual and political head with an advisory council referred to as the Shura committee. Its initial base in Yobe State was called “Afghanistan,” and the sect’s adherents were referred to as “Talibans” by the locals. This became a base for migrants where they engaged in moral rebirth through strict study of the Qur’an. Mohammed Yusuf, as the leader, was surrounded by several disciples organized in a hierarchical structure based on their loyalty and devotion to him.

The sect attracted more and more people under its roof by offering welfare handouts, food, and shelter. Many of the people the group attracted were refugees from the wars across the border in Chad as well as jobless Nigerian youths. The sect also maintained a cadre of militant youths who were the armed wing of the group and had received some physical and weapons-handling training in established camps in the forests. A tangential group of politicians, financiers, sympathizers, and supporters were also maintained to serve as a link to the society and government. Yusuf effectively controlled all these members, and there was no splinter group until the recent emergence of the “Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan” (Vanguards for the Protection of Muslims in Black Africa, Cited in Taiwo, et al). The Nigerian Police (NP) investigated the group following reports that the sect was arming itself. Several leaders were arrested, which sparked deadly clashes with security forces and led to the death of about 700 people. Though government forces halted the activities of the Nigerian Taliban, strains of the movement remained in many parts of northern Nigeria (Waziri, 2009).

The main remnant group under the guidance of Yusuf relocated to Maiduguri and expanded rapidly as young, middle-class Islamic students from universities and colleges within the region joined its ranks. The sect drew heavily from the multitudes of Muslim graduates who had completed studies but were unable to secure employment. The sect also engaged in extensive and intimidating sermons that included the threat of the use of force in recruiting new members. Additionally, other intellectuals who were swayed by the sect’s ideologies abandoned their jobs, burnt their certificates, and sold their assets to contribute to the growth of the group as they joined. Tradesmen, carpenters, and drivers who were disgruntled with the provisions of government also joined. Some privileged youths from well-to-do families as well as migrants from neighboring Niger, Chad, and Cameroon also became radical followers of the sect’s leader (Onuoha, 2011&Lawal, 2009).

The group primarily began its operations using small arms in attacks against opportunistic targets before graduating to the use of automatic weapons, grenades, and explosives against fortified or vulnerable targets. Many of the group’s initial weapons were considered to have been captured during raids of security forces and through smuggling from the neighboring countries using networks across the porous borders through its limited links with other terrorist organizations outside the country, the group was able to achieve more sophistication in its attack capabilities that included the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) especially after the security forces’ crackdown on the sect in 2009. There is evidence that some disgruntled ex-service men and sympathetic security forces officials also joined this group to inflict more damage on the state (Zenn, 2012). The source of the group’s money at its early stage of existence is not clear but included contributions from members as well as sustenance through its farm (Walker, 2008). At some point, the Borno State Government appointed a member of the sect, Buji Foi, as commissioner of water resources and chieftaincy affairs in return for political support from the sect. This individual became the chief financier of the sect until he was killed during the 2009 onslaught on the sect by security forces. Other sources of funding are believed to have come through clandestine contributions from politicians, businessmen, and other wealthy individuals who fear attacks from the group. There is speculation that the group may have received some support from AQIM (Manni, 2012). Funding also came through armed robberies that the sect successfully carried out during attacks against commercial banks and wealthy individuals. The group terms all its stolen funds as “spoils of war” arguing that they are legitimate sources of income for Jihad according to their interpretation of Islam. The Al-Muntada al-Islami, an agency headed by Dr. Adil ibn Mohammed al-Saleem, based in England and associated with Saudi Arabia charity and Da’awa institutions as well as other institutions that have been classified as terror financing agencies have been identified as having provided funding to the sect (Schwartz, 2001). In some cases, though, the financial support from these institutions could have been in aid of Islamic propagation and not for terrorism. Boko Haram’s clashes with security forces came to light on July 12, 2009, when they were conveying their dead members for burial at a local grave yard. Some members of the burial party were stopped and cited for violations of traffic regulations by the security forces who had mounted road blocks within Maiduguri City, Borno state. Altercations resulted in violence between the sect members and the security forces, and some of their members were shot dead in this process. This incident provoked the entire Boko Haram who demanded an apology from the government. They vowed to take revenge for what happened to their members if the government failed to apologize.

Neither the government nor the security forces reacted to this threat. Consequently, on July 16, 2009, the sect made good on the threat by attacking police stations in Maiduguri. Since then, Boko Haram has continued to perpetrate violence using terrorist acts in many parts of Nigeria, especially in the North East Zone, resulting in the killing and maiming of civilians, as well as in the destruction of properties (Copeland, 2013).

The 2009 uprising was eventually crushed by a police and military assault, leaving hundreds dead and the sect's headquarters and mosque in ruins. Boko Haram's leader, Mohammed Yusuf was captured by the army and passed to police for interrogation and prosecution. Unfortunately, he was killed in custody under bizarre circumstances. The group re-emerged in 2010 and began launching unprecedented scales of attacks that included freeing 721 prisoners, among them 105 suspected sect members, from a Bauchi jail in northern Nigeria. This violence coincided with the run-up to the presidential elections. Boko Haram had regrouped under a new leader, Abubakar Shekau (“Boko Haram Attacks – Timeline, The Guardian, September 25, 2012). He assumed leadership of Boko Haram after the death of Yusuf and quickly reorganized the sect members. While some people describe him as a complex and paradoxical man, others see him as a fearless loner who is partly an intellectual and partly a gangster. He is nicknamed "Darul Tawheed" (Specialist in orthodox doctrine of the uniqueness and oneness of Allah) and is fondly called imam or leader by his followers. He was born in Shekau village in Yobe State and is believed to be in his 30s. When Yusuf was killed, Shekau married one of his four wives and adopted his children, a move that was considered an attempt to preserve the cohesion of Boko Haram.

The group had re-emerged in a highly decentralized structure with the unifying force remaining its ideology. This remains its “modus operandi” to date. Recently, a splinter group emerged due to disagreements within the leadership of the sect over the modes of their violent operations, but both still maintain the same ideology. Although Shekau does not communicate directly with the sect’s foot soldiers, he maintains strict control through a few select cell leaders. Unlike his predecessor, Shekau lacks charisma and oratorical skills, but his intense ideological commitment and ruthlessness have kept him as the group's spiritual leader (“Profile of Nigeria's Boko Haram Leader Abubakar Shekau.” BBC News, June 22, 2012.).


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Socio-Economic Effects of Boko Haram Operations in Nigeria
University of Ibadan
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Bright Ndimele (Author), 2018, Socio-Economic Effects of Boko Haram Operations in Nigeria, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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