Domestic Terrorism And Nigeria’s Foreign Policy: A Case Study Of Boko Haram 2009-2021

Project and Seminar Material for Criminology And Security Studies

Domestic Terrorism And Nigeria’s Foreign Policy: A Case Study Of Boko Haram 2009-2021


This study analyses the relationship or correlation between Nigeria’s foreign policy and the domestic terrorism of Boko-Haram terrorism in Nigeria. Using secondary data and system theory, this study reveals the devastating effects of the activities of Boko Haram terrorism on the Nigerian foreign policy. These effects range from killing of innocent lives, destruction of private and public properties, bombing of places of worship, etc. which have resulted in increase in the number of displaced persons, shutting down of economic activities, etc. this makes the foreign policy of open economy to turn down as the economic environment in the country suffers from insecurity. Findings also show that Nigeria is currently deficient to still maintain her stand as giant of Africa as she cannot provide security for her citizens. Consequently, it dents the image of the country in the comity of nations and no nation will command respect among the members of international community if it harbors terrorists. It is the opinion of the study that the way in which a nation is internally organized that will accord it respect at the international level. The study thus, concludes that the vital decisions are taken in the international system based on the perceived image of nation states. It is therefore recommended that, the struggle to contain the activities of Boko Haram terrorism will only record success if the various internal factors like poverty, corruption, etc. are addressed and if they are shared interest by other neighboring countries which will lead to cooperation.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Since Nigeria won her independence on 1st October 1960, Africa has no doubt occupied a central position in her foreign policy. In other words, Nigeria’s foreign policy is Africa centred, built on the core principles of working for the peace, integration and cooperation of the Continent. And these guiding principles have largely remained constant, because they can be employed at any given point in time to explain Nigeria’s behaviour at the continental and global levels. For instance, the active involvement of Nigeria in the resolution of most conflicts on the African continent through the African Union (AU) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) can be explained using one of the core principles of peaceful neighbourhood. Nigeria believes that the neighbourhood she lives in really matter. That is, if the countries around you are all fighting, it will discourage the flow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country. This is often called the ‘neighbourhood effect’. It is in recognition of this fact that virtually all Nigerian Presidents often channel their energy into resolving violent conflicts on the Continent, because we need a good and peaceful neighbourhood if we are to develop economically and otherwise.

Consequently, the foreign policy of Nigeria can best be assessed within the context of its regional and global relations, as well as its aspirations. Furthermore, certain internal and external factors play important role in influencing or shaping Nigeria’s foreign policy. Among these factors are the nature and structure of the Nigerian economy, which is primarily mono-cultural (oil driven), geopolitical location in West Africa, the nature of political leadership, military capability, population and domestic political situation in Nigeria (Kayode, 2016). Importantly, events such as domestic policies and actions of sovereign governments, routine exercise of power on matters of day-to-day governance, can snow ball into foreign policy controversies that are likely to attract global attention. In other words, issues or matters upon which governments have acted within their domestic jurisdiction often become issues or matters of international concern. In the same vein, the activities of Boko-Haram terrorism which hitherto was regarded as a Nigerian problem has now snowballed from desmestic issue into an international problem, affecting countries like Cameroun, Niger, Chad and the investments of countries beyond the shores of Africa.

Therefore, the activities of Boko-Haram in recent time, has contributed in no small measure to the dented image of Nigeria among the comity of Nations, as well as in the area of economic development by slowing down the developmental strides of the country through the arrest of efforts aimed at wealth creation. This has left the citizens poorer, especially in North-East Nigeria, by discouraging wealth creation or business activities and the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) (Olanrewaju, 2015). Against this background, the main thrust of this study is to show the nexus between foreign policy and insurgency. in other words, it examines domestic terrorism and Nigeria’s foreign policy: a case study of boko haram 2009-2021.

1.2 Statement of Problem

The objective of Nigeria’s foreign policy like foreign policy of every other nation is to establish and maintain a cordial relationship with other nations as well as to build a good image for herself and meet her national interest. This invariably means that foreign policy is important in formulating, maintaining and sustaining a nation’s good image. Over the years, Nigerian image has been affected negatively as a result of the activities of Bokko-Haram terrorism. The problem of the activities of Bokko-Haram domestic terrorism affecting the country’s image is located in accurately managing the nation’s domestic interest. In response to this, the research work therefore aims at investigating the nexus between Nigeria’s foreign policy and insurgency, with a focus on domestic terrorism and Nigeria’s foreign policy: a case study of boko haram 2009-2021.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The overall aim of this study is to critically examine domestic terrorism and Nigeria’s foreign policy: a case study of Boko Haram. Hence, the study will be channeled to the following specific objectives;

  1. Determine the major causes of domestic terrorism in Nigeria.
  2. Ascertain the ideology of, and cost of Boko Haram activities in Nigeria from the last decade.
  3. Unveil the nexus between Boko Haram terrorism and Nigeria’s foreign policy.
  4. Ascertain the constraints on Nigeria’s Foreign Policy in Relation to her Immediate Neighbours

1.4 Research Questions

In the course of this study, the following questions will be addressed.

  1. What are the major causes of domestic terrorism in Nigeria?
  2. What is the ideology of, and cost of Boko Haram activities in Nigeria from the last decade?
  3. What is the nexus between Boko Haram terrorism and Nigeria’s foreign policy?
  4. What are the constraints on Nigeria’s Foreign Policy in Relation to her Immediate Neighbours?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study when successfully completed will be significant in both theoretical and empirical dimensions in theoretical regard, it will obviously add to the already existing knowledge in the field of conflict management severity and specifically in management of insurgency and terrorism related crises it will examine and analyze issues relating to cause, fighting and prevention of insurgency and terrorism. It will expose impediments and
hindrances in managing terrorism especially international aspects. It will show the relevance of international terrorism to external relations and global politics.

In empirical dimension the study will benefit; the general public, experts in conflict management students, Administrators, political scientists and international relations perceptional. Sovereign states and policy makers will immensely benefit from the outcome of this study.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This study is structured to generally examine domestic terrorism and Nigeria’s foreign policy: a case study of Boko Haram. However, the study will cover the year 2009 and 2021.

1.7 Methodology of the Study

This study is based on a qualitative approach, in which information is obtained from secondary sources, and it will be analysed using a narrative method that will lean more towards the interpretivist approach. This study, being descriptive as well as historical, relied essentially on secondary information sources gathered by the researcher via many books, articles, group discussions, and casual face-to-face interviews.

1.8 Limitation of the Study

Like in every human endeavour, the researcher encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection. More so, the researcher simultaneously engaged in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

1.9 Definition of Terms


Refers to any form of premeditated act of violence carried out by clandestine organization or group with the aim of embarrassing the government of the day. Terrorism is perpetuated by people/group that have feeling of unjust treatment and terrorists do not discriminate their targets.

Domestic Terrorism:

Domestic terrorism is a form of terrorism in which victims “within a country are targeted by a perpetrator with the same citizenship” as the victims.

Foreign Policy:

This is an aspect of public policy that is carefully articulated to score as a guide to government in her relations with the external world (sovereign state and non- state actor in international relations, of a country’s policy of a sort.


This refers to people community countries or similar enclaves with human beings that shave immediate environment. In this work, Nigeria’s neighbours are sister state that share borders with her.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

The main focus of actors of foreign policy formulation process is to articulate in vivid terms the national interest of a country which serves as a guide in their relations with other nations of the world. The efficient administration of foreign policy objectives is based on credible and widely accepted principles that helps shape a country’s image among the comity of nations. Terrorism has become a fixture of international life. The high level of terrorist and violent attacks in Nigeria by the fundamentalist group (Boko Haram) has heightened fears among the populace and the international community and has eaten deep into its economy and as a matter of fact, the hostility has gone beyond religious or political coloration. Terrorism has been a major issue facing Nigeria in recent times in terms of how it affects the nation’s relations with other countries in the international arena. This study is carried out to examine domestic terrorism and Nigeria’s foreign policy. The study covered a time frame of 2009-2021. To achieve the stated objectives of this study, qualitative approach was adopted, in which information is obtained from secondary sources, and was analysed using a narrative method that leaned more on the interpretivist approach.

5.2 Conclusion and Recommendation

The study has examined domestic terrorism (insecurity, the impact of Boko Haram insurgents) and Nigeria’s foreign policy. It is imperative that Nigerian government must address the underlying causes and provides realistic ideas solutions that will tackle the inherent sociopolitical contradictions in Nigeria as way of enhancing the image of the country within the international system. It is important that Nigeria gets its military strategy right. This recommendation is apt because several reliable sources have confirmed that the Boko Haram has an advanced and sophisticated military arsenal that can sustainably engage the military in battle for long. It is therefore recommended that the Nigerian armed forces and the civilian authority overseeing its operations consider the urgency for advancing its amour and antiquated arsenal. When this happens, every resource must be deployed to the theatre of engagement for the assurances of a quick and decisive victory. This could be achieved only through a sound intelligence sharing mechanism between the military and other security agencies and these security agencies/military and the civil population in society.

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