Insurgency And Underdevelopment In Nigeria: A Case Study Of Boko Haram

Project and Seminar Material Under Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution

Insurgency And Underdevelopment In Nigeria: A Case Study Of Boko Haram


The paper explores the phenomenon of insurgency and underdevelopment in Nigeria, its adverse impact on nationhood and security, and recommends new management strategies that the Nigerian government can make use of in tackling the problem. A survey questionnaire was administered through a stratified random sampling to respondents. From a sample of the study composing of 358 people living in the five (5) north eastern states of Nigeria (Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe) and the respondents were the indigenes of the sampled states. The study showed that Boko Haram Insurgence have a negative effect on the Economic, Social, Political and Security of the people of Nigeria as a whole. The dangerous dimension the insecurity challenge has posed by the fundamentalist group Boko Haram has heightened serious fears among Nigerian populace. The trend has led to incessant suicide bombings and all sorts of attacks in the northern parts of the country with little or no provocation. Consequently, lives and properties are lost, business ventures and shops have remained closed especially in the north. Most regrettably, the people of southern part of Nigeria who are the life-wire of economic activities in the north are relocating in large numbers to their states of origin to avoid losing their lives in the hands of the sect. As a result of the findings, the study recommends the Federal government should provide enabling environment and adequate tools to well-trained security agents to perform their duties. A purely state-centric approach is insufficient for combating non-state security threats like the Boko Haram terrorist group. Thus, unlike President Jonathan’s response to the terrorist threat, with its emphasis on a large security force presence in the northern states (a full 20 percent of the country’s budget has now been dedicated to the defence sector) which is understandable, but is unlikely to completely quell the violence. What is needed instead is the kind of intelligence led policing that builds trust between citizens and a government that is perceived as legitimate, just, and effectively moving the country toward a better future.

Chapter One

1.1 Introduction

Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and a multi-religious state with a population of about 160 million people cutting across the divides of ethnicity and religious beliefs. Comprising 36 states, a federal capital territory (FCT) and 774 local government councils, it is a complex, multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation state (Oyeniyi, 2012).

1.2 Background of the Study

The complexity of Nigeria as a nation state is centred on its political format, economic, social and religious inclinations. As a nation state, the country since independence has experienced several ethnic and religious crisis of various degrees and magnitude (Gilbert, 2013). Grappling with such political and economically motivated crises, successive administrations in Nigeria have been criticized by either the Muslim or Christian faithfuls when they are not favored.

On the state of the country, when people feel insecure, their appetite to invest, buy or rent from the product of investment reduces; and that is why all over the world today, any country that radiates an environment of insecurity naturally repels investment initiatives from both the international community and its own local investors. Every society across the globe has its peculiar problems and challenges in which Nigeria is not an exception. Today, insecurity is one of the greatest problems bedeviling various countries in varying degrees. It affects policies of government and also retards development (Ifijeh, 2011).

A number of analysts have variously attributed the disturbing trend to political dissatisfaction, ethnic and religious differences, perceived societal neglect and pervasive poverty among the people. Some scholar attributed insecurity to the desire of man to satisfy his inordinate ambition of lust for power and this has often led to the irrational use of violence against the state, private organizations and the general public with the ultimate objective of achieving selfish goals (Akhain, 2012).

The current Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east geopolitical zone of Nigeria that originally took the form of sectarian religious violence has escalated into terrorist activities with international linkages and affiliations making it relatively difficult nut for the Nigerian government to crack down (Gilbert, 2014). Consequently, Nigeria has not known peace recent years now. The emergence of the fundamentalist Islamic sect, has led to the flight for safety and security of most Nigerians residing in the North East, especially Christians. Since the commencement of the terrorist operations of the sect, they have adopted several methods to unleash terror on the people. And most states of Northern Nigeria have experienced their dastardly activities, but the worst hit has been Adamawa, Bauchi, Bornu, FCT (Abuja), Kaduna, Kano, Plateau and Yobe (Nwakaudu, 2012:5).

Furthermore, Boko Haram insurgents have been severally called terrorists in many quarters.

According to the United States Department of Defence, terrorism is “the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious or ideological” (Afolabi, 2015). Inherent in this definition are the three key elements of violence, fear, and intimidation. All three elements coalesce in instigating terror in the victims or those at the receiving end. The American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), on its part, defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”. The U.S. State Department, on the other hand, understands it as the deployment of “premeditated politically motivated. Violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience (Afolabi, 2015).

The Boko Haram terrorist scourge in contemporary national relations creates a public atmosphere of anxiety and it has undermined confidence in government. The terrorists ‘unpredictability and apparent randomness makes it virtually impossible for government to protect all potential victims. The public demand protections that the state cannot give frustrated and fearful, the people then usually demand the government to make concessions to stop the attacks or protect their citizens, automatically has implications for citizens loyalty to their government and when citizen‘s loyalty to their government is in doubt, then national stability is threatened (Afolabi, 2015).

The greatest threat the Boko Haram terrorism possess in Nigeria is that it prevents national discussion or negotiation and force decision under pressure e.g. declaration of state of emergency in Boko State by the presidency (National News, 18/07/2011). It sways public affairs. Thus national and international agreements are altered, law are made or changed and the regulations on people, institutions and services are involved virtually at the command of small numbers of individuals holding guns or bombs. ―The fear of Boko Haram is, to state the fact, the beginning of wisdom in some states of the northern part of Nigeria‖ (National News 30th January, 2011). In spite of the threat Boko Haram terrorism possess to Nigerian peace, security and stability, this sect terrorism had certain positive results in contemporary national relations. It is demonstrated in the area of improvement on the national security opinion in Nigeria especially on national critical infrastructure either installation of close circuit television CCTV to cover the federal capital city with the control room expected to be located at the force headquarters for central coordination (Vanguard, September, 2011) training and retraining of security operation of modern equipment, having identify database of Nigerians, reactivation of the police forensics department and bring it up to date etc. which are headway to ensuring national security of the country.

According to Agomuo (2011) what started around 2006 in the far flung North East geopolitical zone of the country as a child’s play, has become a national disgrace and of international concern. The emergence of the deadly group, whose activities assumed a worrisome dimension in 2009, has continued a reign of terror in parts of the country. The inhuman activities of the Islamist sect, have unsettled the Nigerian nation to the extent that ample time and socio-economic cum political resources that ought to have been channeled to the development of the entire country is being wasted on various efforts geared towards checkmating and possibly, annihilating the insurgency in the North East geopolitical zone of Nigeria. Agreed that the North-east is the epicenter of the insurgency but its effect reverberates through the entire country and has constituted a major source of underdevelopment to Nigeria. It is against this backdrop that this paper seeks to critically interrogate the impact of Boko Haram insurgency on the underdevelopment of Nigeria. With the use of data basically from secondary sources, the study analyzes the effects of the nefarious activities of the Islamist sect on the social, economic and political life of Nigeria.

1.3 Statement of the Problem

Insurgency connotes an internal uprising often outside the confines of state’s laws and it is often characterized by social-economic and political goals as well as military or guerrilla tactics. Put differently, it is a protracted struggle carefully and methodically carried out to achieve certain goals with an eventual aim of replacing the existing power structure (Afolabi, 2015).

An active revolt or uprising. A rebellion against authority (for example, an authority recognized as such by the United Nations) when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents (Wikipedia).

Insurgency occurs when the gap between political expectations and the opportunities of a certain group has become unacceptable for them and they believe that the issues can only be solved through the use of force. Insurgent groups always rely on the population for active support and/or passive acquiescence. It is this support that provides the insurgent groups “personal, supplies, and, critically, an information advantage over the state and the counter insurgent forces” (Grandia, 2009).

Insurgency is a threat to the economic, political and social security of a nation and a major factor associated with underdevelopment; because it discourages both local and foreign investments. Also, it reduces the quality of life, destroys human and social capital, damages relationship between citizens and the states, undermining democracy, rule of law and the ability of the country to promote development (Akhain, 2012).

The persistence of the violent activities of the Boko Haram insurgency in North-Eastern Nigeria provokes academic questions that underscore the need to understand the root causes of the menace (BBC News, 2009). Against this back drop, the present study assesses the underlying factors that led to the rise of Boko Haram in the North-Eastern Nigeria. The study argues that the rise of Boko Haram insurgency is an ample manifestation of governance failure in the North-Eastern region. The rise of these groups has had significant influence on the numbers of ethnic and religious conflicts Nigeria has witnessed. The exact number of ethno-religious conflicts that have occurred in the country is not known due to lack of adequate statistics and records on this subject-matter. However, Onuoha (2012) has averred that about 40% of ethno-religious crisis has occurred in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic. There has particularly been an increase between 2012 and 2014 in the occurrences of terrorist attacks in the country with government’s insignificant success in curbing the menace. By this, the focus and scope of the discourse in this paper therefore, give the discourse contemporary relevance. It is against this background that the paper explores the phenomenon of terrorism/insurgency in Nigeria, its adverse impact on nationhood and security, and recommends new management strategies that the Nigerian government can make use of in tackling the problem.

1.4 Research Questions

In attempt to investigate the study, the following research questions were raised:

  1. What are the causes of insurgency in Nigeria?
  2. How does insurgencies deter development in Nigeria?
  3. How has Boko Haram insurgency affected socio-economic development of Nigeria?
  4. What are the factors militating against the resolution of the insurgency Boko Haram?
  5. What are the practical solutions to end Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria?

1.5 Research Objective

1.5.1 General Objective

The general objective of this study seeks to examine insurgency and underdevelopment in Nigeria with a focus on Boko Haram.

1.5.2 Specific Objectives

The specific objectives are:

  1. Determine the causes and nature of insurgencies in Nigeria;
  2. Discuss how insurgencies deter development in Nigeria;
  3. Examine how Boko Haram affected socio-economic development in Nigeria
  4. Identify the factors militating against the resolution of the insurgency Boko Haram
  5. Proffer practical solutions for the end of Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria

1.6 Significance

This study will enable various governments become very much aware that the prevalence of insurgencies and terrorisms in various parts of the state brings underdevelopment.

The research study will have some significance to the military in combating insurgency and terrorism.

The study will create awareness to the general public on the consequences of insurgency, as the end result is waste on the economy.

The study will help the financers, sponsors, the international organizations, the youth who are the major players to re-examined their attitude towards the menace of Boko Haram ,perhaps they are the players in facilitating insurgency, they may have a re-think because of the devastating effects on the underdevelopment of the state.

This study provides insight with the realization that countering an insurgency, which is often done with brutality.

1.7 Scope and Limitation

The research was designed to the insurgency of Boko haram in Nigeria. It is delimited to the Insurgency and underdevelopment in Nigeria; a case study of Boko Haram on the following variable of Insurgency:

Determination on the causes and nature of insurgency in Nigeria, how Insurgency deter development in Nigeria, examine how Boko Haram affect socio-economic development in Nigeria, identify the factors militating against the resolution of the insurgency Boko Haram, and proffer practical solutions for the end of Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.

The research also explores the concept of human relationship, mutual understanding, insurgency, and development. It also explains various ways both traditional and secular methods of conflict prevention and resolutions.

The respondents of this research study are three states in the north eastern Nigeria namely; Taraba state, Admawa and Maiduguri State. However, the major limitations of this research were that of time factor, as the time frame within the scope of this research was limited, the researcher could spend sleepless night to make sure the research work meet the specified time,

Also Financial constraint was one of the major challenges as the researcher would use transport fare, put in money sourcing for materials such as publications, articles, journals ,as there was no adequate finance for transportation within all the affected areas of the insurgency. Government officials could not reveal the needed information for this work as expected due to oath of secrecy, but however, the researcher was provided with some journals, articles, magazines on the subject matter to enable the researcher carryout the research in some government offices.

Also bad road was one of the major limitations as some areas badly affected were not motorable, where the researcher could trek a long distance on bad roads that were not motorable, the researcher could even used trucks ,locally made bikes to reach affected areas.

Family was also a limitation, where attention of the researcher could also be demanded as a family man to attend to some family issues. Nevertheless, the researcher was able to overcome some of the aforementioned limitations in spite of all this limitations/frustrations, the researcher manage the resources at his disposal to come out with this work as it is a success today.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Boko Haram:

The term Boko Haram is derived from the Hausa word Boko meaning amnesty, western or non- Islamic education while Haram is a word with Arabic origin that means sin but literally, forbidden. Put together, Boko Haram is a very controversial Nigeria militant Islamic group that seeks for the imposition of Sharia law in the entire Northern state of Nigeria.


This refers to the political battle waged among co-operation or acquiescence populace in order for the group to take over (or at last undermine) the government of a nation.


It refers to the act of improving by expanding or enlarging or refining.

National Development:

National development refers to the totality of improvement in collective and concrete terms across socio-economic, political, technology as well as religious sphere which is best achieved through strategies mapped out by government as contained in the nation’s development plans (Akindele, Ogini and Agada, 2013).


Peace refers to the absence of conflict, anxiety, suffering, violence, war and absolute peaceful co-existence. However, peace connotes more than a mere absence of war hostilities because an absence of conflict is inevitable. Therefore, peace could be defined as a political condition that ensure justice and social stability through formal or informal institutions, practices and norms (Howard, 1987).


Security can be defined to mean ― the total sum of action and measures, including legislative and operational procedures, adopted to ensure peace, stability and the general well-being of a nation and its citizens (Shinikaiye, 2004:2).

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary of Findings

This study establishes that human security is paramount to foresee development. The presence of interconnected challenges in Nigeria presents a strain situation that requires a fast-integrated response. From the study, terror attacks constitute the main challenge limiting development which is now becoming a national issue when terrorist groups attack other regions of the country. Nigeria’s political, economic, and social spheres are in a crisis owing to insecurity that makes them vulnerable to threats. Stakeholder collaboration in projects and initiatives positively impacts the community which significantly contributes to development regimes. The need for resources in development should not be overlooked and the participation of the community in projects is mandatory to necessitate growth. Development is gradual and wide; therefore, the risk need for Nigeria attributing to the writings of this report is what should fuel the transformative process. Nigeria has been neglected and the presence of corrupt leaders cripple development since with no money developmental projects cannot survive. Nigeria climatic conditions further affect sustainability since increased food insecurity posits a state of starvation and malnutrition. An integrated response that addresses specific complexities inhibiting growth should be employed for the community to realize growth. Furthermore, the community must be willing to participate in development agendas together with other stakeholders that they pull towards one growth agenda.

5.2 Conclusion

It is hereby concluded that human security is crucial for development. The conceptualization of human security to include economic, food, health, environmental, political, personal, and community security enables organizations to study the contributors to underdevelopment thus approach challenges comprehensively. Human security is thus a concept central to growth and development. The consideration of human factors in development significantly developed foreign diplomacy which has been an effective strategy to build multi-lateral cohesion. Similarly, the human security approach necessitated the need to converge stakeholders in developmental agendas, thus is an opportunity to promote equality. The provision of security spanning through the listed seven threats to growth ensures individual success that culminates in development.

The study concludes that drivers of insecurity impede Nigeria’s development process since they brew conflicts, unrest, instability thus depriving humans of the capacity to wilfully succeed. The study also establishes that the country has functional projects to manage human security and prevent underdevelopment. The development projects have been fairly effective in managing insecurity in Nigeria thus have significantly contributed to positive human development.

However, the study equally identifies challenges that impede human security and development. The challenges include multi-dimensional complexities that inhibit successful human development. These include poverty, ethnicity, cultural practices, differential prioritization, armed conflicts, terrorism, climatic factors, poor infrastructure, marginalization, and human rights violations. Minimal community involvement in projects, embezzlement of public funds, and insufficient disbursements to fund community projects additionally cripple development motives.

5.3 Recommendation

This study highlighted the threats to human security that impede development in Nigeria. Based on specific objectives that guided this study, I recommend future studies on marginalization and funding from the national government. Further comprehensive studies on the effect of inequality and access to resources as a limiting factor to developing marginalized regions. In addition, future studies on how specific driven policies redress marginalization and channel opportunities that boost development in Nigeria. Finally, on the effects of current development initiatives in Nigeria whilst examining their relevance and practicability in the region after possible implementation of this research.

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