Boko Haram Insurgency And Nigeria’s Relations With United States, 2009 – 2014

Project and Seminar Material for International Relations

Boko Haram Insurgency And Nigeria’s Relations With United States, 2009 – 2014


The persistence of Boko Haram insurgency impinges upon Nigeria’s relations with US, which have been cordial but restricted. Researchers have divergent opinion about the extent U.S. should be committed in assisting Nigeria in countering Boko Haram insurgency. Researches on the interconnectivity between Boko Haram insurgency and Nigeria’s-US military-security partnership, trade and aid are inadequate and do not reflect current developments. Consequently, the study set out to examine the effects of Boko Haram insurgency on Nigeria’s relations with US from 2009 to June 2014. It was guided by two research questions. This study employs pre-test post-test research design, qualitative descriptive and quantitative method of data analysis. Linkage Politics was the theoretical framework applied to interrogate the issues under discuss. The research discovered that persistence in Boko Haram insurgency has resulted to changes in the content of Nigeria’s military-security partnership with US, as typified in unprecedented direct request by Nigeria and assistance from US, coupled with reactive change in policy of both nations. It was also ascertained that persistence of Boko Haram insurgency failed to cause a decline in U.S

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Universally, security is the heart of sovereign political entities. This is the reason why national security, construed as the “socioeconomic, political, cultural and military strategies that would promote, preserve and maintain the interest of a nation, including its citizens’ interests” (Pogoson, 2013:10)and the protection of all the values, including political independence and territorial integrity of a state (Baldwin, 1997), is a central element of the national interest and policy objectives of all sovereign states. In Nigeria, national security, as articulated by President OlusegunObasanjo (1999- 2007), is “the aggregation of the security interests of all individuals, communities, ethnic groups and entities, and institutions, which make up Nigeria” (Pogoson, 2013:22). The aim, Obasanjo noted, is to strengthen the country, promote national interest and goal, enhance human development, contain instability and control crimes. In the same vein, Nigeria’s national security has been explained as the protection of the country from external aggression, containing internal upheavals, enhancing genuine development and improving the general wellbeing of the citizens (Ibid). These conceptualizations are plausible because they recognise that national security in Nigeria encompasses the physical/state security (defence of sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity) of the country, as well as the security of the people from hunger, crimes, diseases, social conϐlicts, unemployment, political repression, and environmental hazards (otherwise called human security) (Booysen, 2002; UNDP, 1994). These conceptualisations of Nigeria’s national security draw from the country’s federal constitutions since independence in 1960, in which the defence of sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity, together with the welfare of the people are highlighted and emphasised. The 1999 [amended] Constitution, for example, like its predecessors, establishes, on the one hand, the security architecture for ensuring the physical/state security of Nigeria, including internal policing and protection from internal and external aggression, and, on the other hand, mandates the government to promote the welfare of the people. The security architecture, according to sections 214 and 217 of the Constitution, includes the police and the armed forces, consisting of an army, a navy, an air force and such other branches of the armed forces that may be established by an Act of the National Assembly (Federal Republic of Nigeria [FRN], 2010). National image is a psychological objective of foreign policy. Positive image building and good image substance are among other determinants that determines the level of influence and relevance of a nation in international politics. Therefore, the positive perception of any country’s image is an important gauge for judging her standing in the international political system. A good image translates to respect, influence, and prestige and to some extent economic prosperity, as thiswill encourage prospective foreign investors. On the other hand, a bad or negative perception of a country’s image indicates that such a country loses respect, influence and prestige in the comity of nations. As a result, every nation tries to build, maintain and enhance their images in relation to other nations. The factors that determine a nation’s image can be both internal and external. Internally, a succession of regimes of bad policies and practice can lead to bad image; and externally, it could be through participation in foreign military and humanitarian missions. An image problem usually occurs when there are both internal and external factors that sway the pendulum towards a bad/negative image. Egwemi (2010:131) notes that, Nigeria’s external image has swung between periods of extreme positivity to periods of extreme negativity. Over time, Nigeria’s image in the comity of nations have been characterized with times of good (1960-1967, 1970-1983 and 1999- 2007), and bad periods (1993-1999, 2007-2014). Successive governments in Nigeria, have committed huge resources to foreign agencies to launder her badly damaged image arising from such factors as corruption, nepotism, ethno-religious fundamentalism, authoritarianism, advance fee fraud (also known as 419), human trafficking, electoral malpractices, internet fraudster, the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the nine Ogoni environmental activists and involvement of Nigerians in other forms of trans-national criminal activities. The Niger-Delta crisis which was devastating impacted negatively on theimage of Nigeria in the international system (Ademola, 2006:14) and on its national economy.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

In recent years, terrorist activities of the Boko Haram insurgent group in North Eastern Nigeria have been a cause for concern to the Nigerian state, Nigerians and the world at large. The group drew the attention of Nigerians and that of the international community following series of violent attacks in Nigeria since July 2009 (Ola, 2013:3). The sequence of events informed the US African Command (AFRICOM) commander General CaryterHamin in September of 2011 to list Boko Haram as one of the three African terrorist groups. In June 2012, the US government named three leaders of the sect as global terrorists and on November 2013, the United States’ Department of States added the Nigerian based Jihadist group, Boko Haram and its splinter faction known as Ansaru, to the list of foreign terrorist organisations and specially designated Global terrorist entities (Vanguard, November 2013). This meant that Nigeria is now listed as a country where terrorism thrives; this posture has impact on the nation’s external image. It is against this premise that the researcher intend to investigate the impact of Boko Haram insurgency and Nigeria’s relations with the united nations state.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of this study is to ascertain the effect of Boko Haram insurgency and Nigeria’s relations with the united nations states but to aid the completion of the study, the researcher intend to achieve the following specific objective:

  1. To ascertain the effect of Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s foreign image
  2. To ascertain the effect of Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s relationship with united nations member states
  3. To appraise the impact of Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s foreign relations
  4. To proffer suggested solution to the identified problem

1.4 Significance of the Study

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the federal government and the national emergency management agency in developing appropriate strategy in and curtailing the adverse effect of the activities of the Boko Haram sect.

The study will also be useful to the state government; as the findings will guide them in coming up with strategies on how to carter for the survival of the attack of the Boko Haram sect. the study will also of great importance to researchers who wants to embark on investigation in similar topic as the study will serve as a guide to them. Finally the study will be of great importance to academia, teachers, students, lecturers and the general public.

Chapter Six

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

6.1 Summary

The research set out to examine Boko Haram insurgency and Nigeria’s relations with United States, the work was divided into six chapters. The research was guided by two research questions and hypotheses. Areas of focus in Nigeria’s relations with U.S. were military-security partnership, trade and aid. The persistence and spread of Boko Haram insurgency was also explored in the various chapters. Chapter one is a general introduction to the study that established the focus and direction of the research. The background to the study analyses the interest of both countries and the threat posed by the rise of Boko Haram insurgency. In statement of the problem, an appreciation of what researchers have done on the topic was presented. The lacuna created by contemporary development in the persistence of Boko Haram insurgency and Nigeria’s relations with U.S., coupled with the fact that researches on this topic are not adequate, especially in areas of military-security manoeuvre, trade and aid, neccesitated this research. Two questions were subsequently raised to address this need. Broad and specific aims, theoretical and practical significance of the research were presented under objectives of the study and significance of the study, respectively. A thematic review of literature on the subject of study was carried out in chapter two. The review was under the following themes: global terrorism and Nigeria’s relations 115 with United States, Boko Haram terrorism and Nigeria’s military-security partnership with United States, Boko Haram destructions and U.S. trade and aid to Nigeria. In the review, it was discovered that most researches centered on Boko Haram or Nigeria and U.S. relations without establishing their interconnectivity. Gap in the literature were that research on this topic were inadequate, especially in areas of military-security manoeuvre, trade and aid; and are lacking in currency. Methodology of the research was the focus of Chapter three. It portrays the various tools, methods and systematic process through which data will be collected and analysed. Linkage politics was theoretically applied in examining Boko Haram insurgency and Nigeria’s relations with US. As a theoretical framework, it provided a guide in understanding United States response to Nigeria’s output, behaviour or policy towards Boko Haram. Two hypotheses which the subsequent chapters set out to validate were presented. The research design followed the format of pre-test post-test design. Thus, the dependent variable– Nigeria’s relations with U.S. was analysed followed by the independent variable– Boko Haram insurgency. Finally, the dependent variable was further analysed to discover what form it took after the influence of the independent variable. Method of data collection was the documentary method using secondary sources of data. The data were analysed using qualitative descriptive method of analysis and deductive logical inference

6.2 Conclusion

The content of military-security partnership between both countries was characterized by U.S. providing training and security assistance to Nigeria. This restriction was due to foreign policies of both countries. U.S. seeks to protect its economic interest, ensure global security and counter terrorism. As such it partners with friendly nations by strengthening their security system. U.S. has a policy which prohibits the provision of security assistance to foreign security force units that have been credibly implicated in gross violations of human rights. On the other hand, Nigeria as a sovereign nation accepts training and assistance to its security forces but has never been comfortable with entering into strict defence pact which may subject its security forces to another or permits operations of foreign armies in its territories. Nigeria has one of the largest army in Africa; as such it is an important partner in U.S. counter-terrorism strategy. Boko Haram insurgency was a domestic problem peculiar to Nigeria. Its persistence despite various counter-insurgency strategies has influenced Nigeria’s external behaviour. Nigeria made a direct output into the international environment by seeking foreign assistance in countering the insurgency especially after the abduction of 274 school girls in Chibok, Borno state. Nigeria opposed proposal by U.S. government to designate Boko Haram as FTO in 2012. It has long accepted the November 13, 2013 U.S. designation of Boko Haram as FTO. The research found out that there is direct or penetrative involvement of U.S. security personnel in response to Nigeria’s request due to persistence of Boko Haram insurgency and kidnap of school girls. Despite the indictment of Nigeria military forces in gross violation of human right, U.S. did not suspend security assistance as it did during 118 Nigeria military rule and in 2004. The request and assistance being unprecedented in Nigeria’s relations with U.S. and, reactive change in U.S. policy are indicators that the persistence of Boko Haram insurgency has resulted to changes in the content of militarysecuritypartnership between both nations. In testing the second research question which is, does Boko Haram insurgency leads to a decline in U.S. trade and aid to Nigeria? It was discovered that U.S. trade and aid to Nigeria is increasing despite persistence of Boko Haram insurgency. In other words, the persistence of Boko Haram insurgency has failed to cause a decline in U.S. trade and aid to Nigeria. Nigeria is currently eligible for AGOA and benefits from U.S. aid and trade. These are indicators that the persistence and spread of Boko Haram attacks does not instigate substantial changes in U.S. trade with Nigeria. This is because oil and other agricultural produce exported to U.S. are mostly produced in the south where Boko Haram insurgency has not been detrimental.

6.3 Recommendation

This study after intensive research considers the following as relevant recommendations: The persistence of Boko Haram insurgency weakens Nigeria’s ability in pursuing a robust foreign policy and exposes its internal security and decision making capability to foreign influence from United States. As such, every counter-insurgency tactics and agreement should aim at quelling the insurgency within the shortest time in order to reduce foreign influence and input into the polity. A more effective counterinsurgency partnership and tactics should be developed in order to eradicate the menace of Boko Haram before it exerts negative or unwanted influence on Nigeria’s relations with US. Nigerian government should consider the best strategies and agreements especially in intelligence gathering that will guarantee its economic, political and security interest. Military might alone even with foreign assistance may not be able to win the insurgents whose struggle is rooted in religious belief. Thus, there is need for United States whose international trade is increasing to assist Nigeria in initiating programmes for subtle de-radicalisation of religious belief and development for backward regions like the northeast. This will reduce the uprising of violent religious extremist groups that may scuttle the economic interest of both nations. The Nigeria army had been successful in peace keeping operations. Therefore, if adequately refurbished and motivated, and the renegades within its rank and other foreign assistance to Boko Haram are isolated, Nigeria military can reduce the insurgency to a manageable extent while devising ways of completely curbing terrorism in the country. Total victory over the insurgency requires total involvement of Nigeria military and citizens. U.S. military-security partnership and aid to Nigeria should increasingly focus on this rather than penetrating Nigeria security system so as to win the heart of Nigerians towards U.S. trade and interest.

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