Assessment Of Government’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy In Nigeria’s Internal Security (2009 – 2013)
The research is an assessment of government‟s counter terrorism strategy in Nigeria‟s internal security between 2009-2013. Apart from the challenges of poverty, unemployment, sectarian crisis, economic and political crisis, as well as the Niger Delta Militancy, Nigeria is currently facing a deeper and profound challenge of terrorism, especially at the North-East of the country. The list of these disheartening phenomena includes but not limited to kidnapping, bombing and sporadic attack by gun men at several churches, mosques, public places, police stations, schools and prisons at Bauchi, Bornu, Yobe and Adamawa States. Other parts of the country that were not spared are the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Plateau, Kaduna and Kano States.
Government’s attempt to adopt the strategy used in curtailing militancy in the Niger Delta failed in the present situation. It is against this backdrop that the study assesses Government counter-terrorism strategy in Nigeria‟s internal security. It seeks to find out the causes of terrorism, Nigerian Government counter terrorism strategies, performance of Government counter terrorism strategies, challenges of Government counter terrorism and possible solutions to the challenges of terrorism. Relevant and related literature were reviewed using conceptual, thematic and theoretical approaches. Public policy and Neo-realist theoretical framework were adopted to explain the phenomenon. Data was generated from informants knowledgeable about the research topic and strengthened with secondary data from Library materials, newspapers, journals and articles. The findings revealed that the strategy used in curtailing militancy in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria failed to tackle terrorism at the North East region because of the international dimension to terrorism and its religious connotation.
The research further revealed that Government strategies failed because Government did not address socio-economic factors that created veritable ground for terrorism, such as unemployment, poverty, corruption and poor economy. The research concluded by recommending the adoption of a strategy which will focus on deradicalization and the introduction of effective psychological reinforcement measures that would deter terrorists from engaging in the act, just as the fear of the impact of the Atomic bomb in Japan ended the Second War World. The research also recommends that Government should focus on good governance, job creation and employment opportunities, poverty alleviation, welfare and provision of modern equipment for the military and other security Agents, as well as effective border patrol.
1.1 Background to the study
Since the return to democratic rule in 1999, Nigeria has witnessed series of ethno- religious and resource-based violence that have taken terror dimension and threatened its internal security.
Terrorism, either international or domestic has heightened insecurity in Nigeria. While the country was still grappling with the challenges posed by such crimes as armed robbery, murder, kidnapping and assassination, among others, then came the advent of domestic terrorism. Terrorism took a new dimension in Nigeria with the activities of terrorist groups like the Jama’atul ahlul Sunna Lidda’awa Wal Jihad, which means “Brethren of Sunni United in thePursuit of Holy War” popularly referred to as the Boko Haram, meaning ‘Western Education is forbidden’ and Jama’atu Ansarul Musilimina Fi Biladis Sudan (ANSARU) especially when they became affiliated to some notable international terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda, Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb and Al-Shaabab. They now attack with more precision, usually more devastating and rampant. This link also led to the introduction of suicide bombing, use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), deployment of highly sophisticated weapons and modern fighting equipment which are strange to the Nigerian military and security agents.
As a result of this development, since 2009, Nigeria‟s counterterrorism operations has been at a crossroad, largely due to some of the issues raised above but most importantly because policy debates on whether or not, to adopt a counter terrorism strategy in Nigeria has continued to drive.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, incidents of terrorist activities were first reported in Nigeria in 2009 when Boko Haram, otherwise called Jamāʻat Ahl as-Sunnah lid-da ʻwa wal-Jihād (people committed to the propagation of the Sunnah and Jihad), a domestic Islamist terrorist organisation under the leadership of Mohamed Yusuf organised a large-scale uprising in Bauchi, Kano, Katsina and Yobe States. Some of the most notable terrorist acts in Nigeria since then include, the October 1, 2010 Independence-day bombing at the Eagle Square in Abuja; the June 16, 2011 bombing of the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters in Abuja; the August 26, 2011 bombing of the UN House in Abuja; the December 25, 2011 bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State; the April 15, 2014 abduction of 276 female students of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, otherwise called the “Chibok Girls”, among others.
Given the threats posed to the security, sovereignty, territoriality and economy of the Nigerian state by terrorism and insurgency, the war against terrorism by the Nigerian state has since 2009 been executed on all fronts. The Federal Government has employed legislative, legal, military, fiscal and diplomatic response measures in the campaign against terrorism. Thus, some Anti-Terrorism Legislations (ATLs) such as the Terrorism Prevention Act (TPA) 2011 were enacted while others such as the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act (MLPA) 2011 and the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act 2003, were amended to provide for some legal measures at combating terrorism and insurgency. Under these legal regimes, some masterminds of terrorist acts and their implicated sponsorshave been arrested and tried in various courts of law across the country. Also, Nigeria has ratified the ECOWAS Counter-Terrorism and Implementation Strategy, 2013.
As part of military and strategic responses to combat terrorism and insurgency, the Federal Government on May 14, 2013 declared State of Emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States. These are States with the highest frequency of terrorist attacks in Nigeria. A fall out of this response was the mobilisation and deployment of a special Joint Military and Police Task Force (JTF) to those States and some other States across Nigeria. The first phase of the State of Emergency ended on April 25, 2014 and on May 21, 2014, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria endorsed the extension of the State of Emergency in the aforementioned States. On May 30, 2014, the Federal Government also adopted the National Counter-Terrorism Strategy (NACTEST). Other military responses taken in the war against terrorism include Nigeria’s deployment of its military contingents and participation in the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA), which sought to dislodge the ethnic Touré rebels and the Islamic terrorist groups seeking to overthrow the government in Mali. According to Ali and Igbonwelundu (2013) and Madike (2013), Nigeria’s participation in AFISMA, among other things, was aimed at routing and completely dislodging the Islamic jihadist groups including Boko Haram, which have their operational and coordinating base in northern Mali.
To ensure effective and efficient implementation of the aforementioned military and strategic responses, budgetary allocations to the security sector in Nigeria has since 2010 been on the increase; from N730.379 billion in 2010 to N777.367 billion as at 2015 (see Appropriation Acts, 2010 to 2015 as passed by the National Assembly).
At the diplomatic level and in line with the UNSC Resolutions 1373, 1377 (both of 2001), 1390 of 2002, 1535 of 2004, and 1624 of 2005, which affirm the imperative of combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations by member states, Nigeria has also ratified various anti-terrorismconventions, entered into bilateral and multilateral agreements with the British, French and the United States governments, among other members of the international community and identified with several international anti-terrorism organizations with a view to effectively combating terrorism and insurgency in all its ramifications. The country has also stimulated the revival of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), a security framework that was established in 1964 with Cameroon, Chad and Niger, as members. This has led to the formation of a sub-regional security operative, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF).The foregoing anti-terrorism responses by the government notwithstanding, terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria have remained on the ascendancy. In 2013, the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) listed Nigeria among 10 countries with the highest number of terrorist attacks. According to the Database, there were a total of 341 terrorist attacks in Nigeria in 2013 that resulted in 2003 fatalities. Arising from these data, Boko Haram was listed by GTD as “the 3rd Most Lethal Terrorist Organisation” out of a total of 10, coming behind the Taliban and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (Global Terrorism Database, 2013:15).
1.3 Objective of the Study
- To determine the factors that influenced terrorism in Nigeria
- To determine effects of terrorism on Nigeria’s foreign relations.
- To examine the counter terrorism measures put in place by the Nigerian government
- To devise strategies that can be used to improve internal security and reduction of terrorism in Nigeria
1.4 Research Questions
- What are the factors that influenced terrorism in Nigeria?
- What are the effects of terrorism on Nigeria’s foreign relations?
- What are the counter terrorism measures put in place by the Nigerian government.
- What are the strategies that can be used to improve internal security and reduction of terrorism in Nigeria?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study will assess the of government’s counter-terrorism strategy in Nigeria’s internal security (2009 – 2013). hence the study is significant for policy makers and citizens for it traces the historical development of domestic terrorism in Nigeria, focusing on how corruption, ethno-political control of resources , poor governance, poverty, beatings and blows against etc have all added to the rise of terrorism in Nigeria.
This study is of benefit to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study will determine the factors that influenced terrorism in Nigeria. The study will also determine effects of terrorism on Nigeria’s foreign relations. The study will further examine the counter terrorism measures put in place by the Nigerian government. Lastly, the study will devise strategies that can be used to improve internal security and reduction of terrorism in Nigeria. Hence the study will be delimited to terrorism in Nigeria from 2009 to 2013.
1.7 Limitation of the Study
This study was constrained by a number of factors which are as follows:
Just like any other research, ranging from unavailability of needed accurate materials on the topic under study, inability to get data
Financial constraint , was faced by the researcher ,in getting relevant materials and in printing and collation of questionnaires
Time factor: time factor pose another constraint since having to shuttle between writing of the research and also engaging in other academic work making it uneasy
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
In this study, our focus was on assessment of government’s counter-terrorism strategy in Nigeria’s internal security (2009 – 2013) .The study specifically was aimed at highlighting the factors that influenced terrorism in Nigeria. The study also determine effects of terrorism on Nigeria’s foreign relations. The study further examine the counter terrorism measures put in place by the Nigerian government. Lastly, the study devise strategies that can be used to improve internal security and reduction of terrorism in Nigeria.
Based on the finding of this study, the following conclusions were made:
Terrorism raises the vote allocated to security. In an industrially and infrastructural deficient economy, such monies could have been well utilized for development purposes. Ironically, since development cannot take place within a context of insecurity, these votes become a desideratum to raise the level of security formation so that economic and other activities can be sustained. The etiology of terrorism in Nigeria is traceable to a history of asymmetry in resource allocation and warped resource allocation formulae, marginalization of some groups within the Nigerian society, official and elite corruption, subjugation of minority groups and their rights, environmental pollution of the Niger Delta, the supply of arms and ammunition to political thugs who later metamorphose into terrorist armies, ethnic and religious rivalries and bigotry and the quest for self determination by ethnic groups. While government must address the issues of corruption, youth unemployment, illiteracy of many citizens, poverty of the vulnerable sectors, poor healthcare, environmental pollution, poor governance processes and the different weaknesses of the state, already identified as the problems that initiated and have sustained the incidence of terrorism in Nigeria, it is important that government accedes to the request by interest groups within the polity to convene a truly national conversation to determine the terms of engagement of the nationalities that make up the Nigerian commonwealth.
Based on the responses obtained, the researcher proffers the following recommendations:
That to quell the raging inferno of terror acts in the country, the job falls on the table of not only the government, but also other stakeholders whose interests in the continuity of the Nigerian project could be damaged if the polity is overrun by terror gangs whatever their names or raisons d’être. The international community, faith organizations, civil society, business community and others have to conflate their roles in order to obliterate or checkmate terrorism in Nigeria and create the needed breather for industrial development to happen.
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