Appraising America And Nigeria Counterterrorism Mechanism

Project and Seminar Material Under International Law and Diplomacy

Appraising America And Nigeria Counterterrorism Mechanism


It is widely known that United States of America and Nigeria has been battling with problem of terrorism. Therefore, the two nations has been making all efforts at building an effective and sustainable counter terrorism mechanism. However, the current researcher is analyzing the United States of America and Nigeria counter-terrorism mechanism.

The study is a qualitative one and will be relying majorly on secondary sources and real occurrence events. Findings revealed that both in the United States of America and Nigeria, terrorists use violence to attract attention to a cause, to instill fear, and to enforce demands. The motives are political or religious. Terrorists’ grievances over such issues as persecution, oppression, poverty, discrimination, lack of human rights, and living under military occupation, often lead to violence. Results further revealed that USA has been on the frontline globally in the counterterrorism struggle, Nigeria has also played similar roles, but it is very clear that USA is adequately prepared for any terrorist attack any day anytime, while terrorism activities has almost crumbled all economic activities in some states in Nigeria. The researcher therefore recommends that the government of Nigeria should build a better counterterrorism structure that will tackle the causes of terrorism in both countries.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Right from the ancient time, humans has looked for the effective mechanism of ensuring that lives, properties, territories, states and institutions are protected from internal and external aggression (Omonobi, 2012). All over the countries of the world, counterterrorism has been taken as the most important mechanism that should be preserved. The idea of counterterrorism is actually multi-faceted and has been the topic of regular discuss among researchers globally especially in the last three decades (Omonobi, 2016). Counterterrorism takes in a situation where a people are not exposed to any form of danger or risk of physical or moral aggression, religious and ethnic violent attacks, external or internal violent aggression. Therefore, the idea of counterterrorism has frequently been linked with the protection and survival of the nation and its citizens from hurt, destruction, damage or dangerous threats (Yaqub, 2014).

In recent time, the need for effective and sustainable counterterroriem strategies has become a universal issue specifically as the world is confronted with increase in world terrorist operations. Braithwaite (2014) describes counterterrorism mechanism as the structure developed by a nation to secure its core values from external threat. According to Wisnicki (2013), counterterrorism mechanism is the prerequisite to keep up the survival of the nation through the deployment of military, strategic and economic, diplomacy, developmental and political tools. Efforts have been directed towards safeguarding nations although not much success has been recorded by regional and global organizations (Wisnicki, 2013). According to Omonojobi (2016), counterterrorism mechanism in Nigeria include the use of diplomacy to isolate threats; marshalling economic control to enhance or compel cooperation; maintaining effective armed forces; executing civilian protection and emergency readiness strategies (together with counterterrorism legislation); ensuring the durability and redundancy of important infrastructure; use of secret operations to uncover and neutralize or prevent terror, threats and spying, and to secure confidential data; use of counterintelligence operations or secret police to safeguard the country from internal and external aggression (Yaqub, 2014). Despite these efforts, the counterterrorism strategies in Nigeria seems not effective going by the news of terrorist attacks that pervades the air regularly.

The emergence of Al-Qaeda started in 1988, and they carried out the 11/9/2001 terrorist attack in the United States which has been labelled the emergence of modern terrorism. This has been deteriorated by the arrival of its sister terrorist organizations such as Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). On September 11, 2001 (9/11), Al-Qaeda together with its operatives challenged the world order, attacking the United States homeland. In a week, the U.S. acknowledged the War on Terror. Despite the preceding attack on the World Trade in 1993 and the bombing of a federal house in Oklahoma City in 1995, the size and scale of the 9/11 attacks were unimagined. The events of 9/11 transformed the pattern of the intelligence and security situations designed by policy-makers and political leaders. The attacks on 9/11 also transformed the American public’s opinions of the threat, a ‘new’ threat with no conventional armed forces, no advanced weapons or equipment, and no state flag in charge for the most overwhelming attack against the most powerful nation in the world since December 7, 1941 (Gatuiku, 2014).

Al-Qaeda, as an organization, identified itself that day as a new global, non-state actor, terrorist group and demonstrated its capability to plan, support, and executes attacks against the United States. The miscommunications, which had happened within the intelligence community, and the actual events, which emerged on 9/11, activated the reform and restructuring of the U.S. National Security Council. This restructuring generated new security and intelligence institutions as a means to improve, aid gathering and proactively response to terrorism (George and Rishikof, 2011). Since 9/11, the U.S. National Security Council and Homeland Security, amongst other organizations, reorganized in the effort to better comprehension and prevent terrorist threats (Gatuiku, 2014).

It could be argued that terrorism was first experienced in Nigeria in October 1993, when a Nigerian Airbus A310 was hijacked to Benin Republic by members of Movement for Advancement of Democracy (MAD). However, terrorism in Nigeria is not a new phenomenon, but has only metamorphosed to professional level in recent times. Since it’s attainment of statehood in 1914, has been overwhelmed with diverse ethno-religious and political crisis resulting in large casualties (Ojie and Ehwhrujakpor, 2009). Before year 2000, numerous lives and possessions were lost to ethno-religious crisis. The post-2000 era has saw other forms of violent conflicts; the most overwhelming has been terrorism, committed by the Islamic group called Boko Haram. The sect was formed around 2002 and is conducted by the name ‘Boko Haram’ which when loosely interpreted from Hausa means ‘Western education is forbidden’ (Okemi, 2013). Successive administrations in Nigeria, since 2009, have had to deal with the threat of terrorism. The demands of Boko Haram is to change Nigeria to an Islamic state and their means for the achievement of these objectives include bombings, killings, kidnapping, and vandalism among others (Akinola and Tella, 2013).

Boko Haram sects functioned in a relatively peaceful way in its first seven years of existence as they involved in low-level encounters with the police and difficult villagers (Olowoseluet al., 2014). The group used bows, arrows, knives, gas bombs and cutlasses/axes as tools for violence (Solomon, 2012). In this initial phase, the government’s reaction focused on using security agencies to challenge the rebellions in the absence of any proper policy precisely directed at terrorism (Dasuki, 2013). This unfortunately led to failure in addressing the root causes as government saw the situation as the one that requires pure law enforcement (Dasuki, 2013).

The sect became popular in 2009 when it took part actively in the insurgency and violence which happened in Northern Nigeria. The effective tactics of Boko Haram have come to be sophisticated and it now includes hit and-run attacks, targeted shootings and assassinations, drive-by shootings, use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDS), suicide bombings, surprise attacks on security institutions and gun assaults in some civilian places (Onuoha, 2014).

In addition, Akinbi (2015) noted that the most contemporary method was kidnapping (like the case of 276 Chibok girls’ kidnapping), gunfire of victims at close range, throat slicing plus daytime and night-time attacks. They also attacked communities, killed some of the inhabitants and took over lands and territories within the Nigerian boundary (Isine, 2016; Marama, 2016). Approved figures put the death toll from Boko Haram violence at over 20, 000 and possessions lost value at $40 million (Akpanet al., 2014 and Vanguard, 4th June 2016).

However, the emergence of terrorism has been an eye opener for countries like the United States of America and Nigeria to find methods and strategies to counter terrorism. Before the attack on the world trade Centre in America on Tuesday, 11 September 2001, America didn’t have major initiatives to combat terrorism, the attack triggered major United States initiatives to counter terrorism. Also In fighting terrorism is hard to define the threat and determine proper countermeasures to defeat it. Due to the difficulty in assessing how best to fight terrorist threats, U.S. policy has evolved over time. Prior to 9/11, the U.S. did not have a specified counterterrorism policy. Post 9/11, however, the U.S. announced its Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) formulated by a preemptive approach on terrorism in the Middle East. In 2008, the U.S implemented a new counterterrorism strategy that consisted of a direct approach to isolate, destroy, and defeat the enemy and indirect approach to create a stable Global Environment and set conditions inhospitable to violent extremism.

Likewise Nigeria, during the initial stages of the terrorist attacks, the Nigeria attempted diplomatic approach to negotiate with Boko Haram in order to address their grievances. The request did not succeed as the group consistently declined the offer. Later the government also military approach by creating a Joint Task Force (JTF), comprising of the Army and other security agencies to bring a solution to the BH insurgency. The first phase of the task seemed successful as the group’s activities drastically reduced after some military actions. Still in line with the counter-terrorism mechanism against terrorism, Nigeria government established a new Army Division in North-Eastern part of the country in August 2013. This new Division, named 7 Division, comprises over 8,000 personnel and is charged with taking over security of the North Eastern part of the country. They also control the Nigeria borders with Niger, Chad and Northern Cameroon where intelligence has shown that terrorists get their training and launch bombing attacks on Nigeria.

However, the United States and Nigeria has also been of great corroborative support to each other in countering terrorism. The United States has been of assistance to Nigeria since the Boko haram crises to help Nigeria develop and implement a comprehensive approach to counter Boko haram that upholds and enforces the rule of law, provides civilian protection, respects human rights and international norms, and addresses the underlying grievances that Boko haram exploits (including through development gains and through responsive governance). The United States-Nigeria Bi-National Commission, an operational group met on how to support Nigeria’s security (Nkechi, 2013). The United States (US) labelled Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) as this creates an international awareness on the deadly nature of the group, provided security related exercise by the United States Department of Defence (US-DOD), delivery of aid by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and banning of Boko Haram leaders with location of $7 million reward on AbubakarShekau, the sect’s leader (Onuoha and Ugwueze, 2012). United States also set up a vigorous security discussion and assistance relationship with Nigeria. The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) was also started in 2012 to help suppress the deadly terrorist attack in Nigeria. The task force unveiled projects under the Integrated Assistance for Counter-Terrorism (I-ACT) initiative to support government efforts in combating the menace of terrorism.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Governments, all over the world are striving at achieving a sustainable and effective counterterrorism mechanism due to the increase in terrorist activities globally and especially in Nigeria with the emergence of the Boko Haram group as the world deadliest terrorist organization in the world in 2015. Countering terrorism needs a holistic strategy. The America has been working with Nigeria and other international partners to help promote and support such an approach to counterterrorism. Also, counterterrorism mechanism can only be effective when nations develop and implement a comprehensive approach to counterterrorism that upholds and enforces the rule of law, provides civilian protection, respects human rights and international norms, and addresses the underlying grievances that terrorists exploits (including through development gains and through responsive governance).This has made it necessary to identify various constraints confronting effective government policy in curbing terrorism in both America and Nigeria, which is being done by the current researcher.

Furthermore, terrorism generally is caused by various factors and reasons, however terrorism in Nigeria is largely caused by religion and ethnic differences, claims of political power personal gain. Also causes of terrorism in United States of America is caused by differences among nation, act of vengeance, fight for world power etc. however, there are various effort which both countries have used in countering terrorism in the regions but various challenges of money laundering which are used in financing terrorism pose as a serious challenge in countering terrorism. Other challenges incudes porous borders leading to trafficking proliferation of arms and weapons in terrorism; also lack of adequate gathering techniques from the security intelligence pose as a problem in tacking terrorism and weak collaborative measures with other powerful region is also a challenges facing nations dealing with domestic and international terrorism especially United states of America and Nigeria. Therefore, this study seek to appraise the counter-terrorism approach used in tacking terrorism in United States of America and Nigeria.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of the study is to appraise the United States of America and Nigeria counter-terrorism mechanism. Hence the specific objectives are to:

  1. Identify the causes of terrorism act in both countries.
  2. Examine the strategy adopted by America and Nigeria on counterterrorism mechanism.
  3. Evaluate the effect of collaborative measure between America and Nigeria in curbing terrorism.
  4. Examine various constraints confronting effective government policy in curbing terrorism in both America and Nigeria.

1.4 Research Questions

In light if the objectives of the study, the following are the research questions which will be answered in the research study:

  1. What are the causes of terrorism act in both America and Nigeria?
  2. What are the strategy adopted by America and Nigeria on counterterrorism mechanism?
  3. How has the collaborative measure between America and Nigeria been effective in curbing terrorism?
  4. What are the various constraints confronting effective government policy in curbing terrorism in both America and Nigeria?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study will be of significance to the government to shed light on the effectiveness and providing mechanism of other strategies to counter terrorism in America and Nigeria. The study will be of great significanceto educate the public on how governments should ensure the safety of the citizens from the attacks of terrorists.

Also the study will be of significance to security agency and other legal policy maker in making regulations and in combating terrorism in America and Nigeria. This study will geared towards understanding the strengths of these counter-terrorism policies to ascertain if the content and execution are well positioned towards confronting the said terrorist.

Also the study will be of significance to scholars, observers, academicians and students of International Law and Diplomacy, conflict and strategy studies including law enforcement agencies. Equally, this study will be of importance to scholars’ especially diplomatic historians, political scientists, economists and international relations experts who are conducting research in related fields.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study will be based on the appraisal of America and Nigeria in countering terrorism. The study will focus on the measures and effort with the Aid and Partnership with United States in counter terrorism in Nigeria. Hence the study will be limited to United states of america and nigeria alone, other form of terrorism and counter-terrorism approach in other countries and continent will be excluded.

1.7 Research Methodology

The study is a qualitative one and will be relying majorly on secondary sources and real occurrence events. Secondary desk research, stemming from both print and online sources, will contribute heavily to the research methodology of this research. More sources include written documents such as government publications, letters, correspondence, documentaries, newspapers, books, journals, conference proceedings, internet sources as well as law enforcement publications,gazette on aspect of terrorism, intelligent gathering just to mention a few will be explored to enrich this work. Furthermore, this research work will also depend largely on archival materials to gather relevant materials on the study. Interpretations and useful inferences will be drawn from the analysis which formed the basis of conclusion and recommendations.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Boko Haram:

Boko Haram is a terrorist society/ group with its origins in northeastern Nigeria, related to rebellion and insurgency stemming from north Cameroon, Chad and Niger.


It is a tactic and strategy, a crime and a holy duty, a justified reaction to oppression and an inexcusable abomination. It is the use of violent action in order to achieve political aims or force government to act. Terrorism can also be describe as the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political purposes and goals.


This is the battle to stop or curb terrorism.


These are the tactics, methods, initiatives, strategies and ways adopted to solve a solution


This is analyzing, evaluating, judging of actions taking to solve problems or address situations.

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