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Terrorism is a global phenomenon and a major threat to international security and stability. In
recent times, the Nigeria state has been experiencing hard times as a result of the emergence of
an Islamic sect popularly known as Boko Haram. The sect embarked on a violent struggle in the
northern region, particularly the north-east geo-political zone. It claims an overshadowing of
Islamic values and principles by western ideology and orientation in northern Nigeria. Hence, the
group has engaged in various terrorist activities such as bombing, kidnapping as well as
destroying of lives and property to demonstrate its pent-up anger against the Nigeria government
as a result of these activities carried out by Boko Haram it has altered Nigeria‟s foreign policy
and it relations with it fellow west African sub-region as well as the international community.


Title page ———————————————————————————- i
Certification ———————————————————————————– ii
Dedication ————————————————————————————- iii
Acknowledgment ————————————————————————— iv
Abstract —————————————————————————————- v

1.1 Background of the Study 1
1.2 Statement of Problem 6
1.3 Objective of the Study 7
1.4 Research Questions 7
1.5 Significance of the Study 8
1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study 8
1.7 Organization of the Study 9
1.8 Definition of Terms 9
Literature Review and Theoretical Framework
2.1 Conceptualizing Terrorism and Domestic Terrorism 12
2.2 International Terrorism and Domestic Terrorism 16
2.3 The Nexus between Foreign Policy and Domestic terrorism 20
2.4 Foreign Policy and Terrorism in Nigeria 24
2.5 Theoretical Framework 33
2.6 Human Needs Theory 34
2.7 Frustration Aggression Theory 36
3.1 Research Methodology 39
3.2 Research Design 39
3.3 Area of Study 39
3.4 Research Instrument 40
3.5 Method of Data Collection 40
3.6 Method of Data Analysis 40
Data Analysis
4.1 Introduction 41
4.2 The Challenges of Domestic Terrorism on Nigeria‟s Foreign Policy 42
4.3 The Effect of Domestic Terrorism on Nigeria‟s foreign policy 48
4.4 The Impact of War on Terrorism on Nigeria‟s Foreign Policy 51
4.5 Domestic Terrorism and the Future of Nigeria‟s Foreign Policy 55
Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendation
5.1 Summary of Findings 58
5.2 Conclusion 59
5.3 Recommendation 60
Bibliography 62


Terrorism has become a global challenge requiring global approach for reasonable
resolution. More than 600 identifiable terrorist groups exist worldwide (Thomas 2006). Size and
membership vary vastly as some tend to be small and tight-knit, seldom numbering more than
100 members while some have grown to become both unwieldy and uncoordinated. Indeed,
some now have standing armies and patrols for soul conversion. Most of the terror cells and
organizations are founded in the Middle East and are associated with Islamic fundamentalism,
giving the impression that terrorism is a clash of religious beliefs. This may not be so since terror
cells exist in the Basque region of Spain and also in many Latin-American states. However,
several regions of the world have suffered far more from terrorism in recent decades. Terrorism
has plagued many of the developing countries around the world, particularly in Asia and Africa
for example in Algeria, where the government struggled to survive recurrent attacks in the
1990s; Israel where suicide bombings remain an ever-present threat; in Iraq after the U.S led
invasion in April 2003 (Thomas 2006). Other Persian Gulf states face similar problems. In fact,
no Muslim government from North Africa to the Persian Gulf is free from the threat of terrorism.
Several South American countries especially Peru, Colombia and Mexico have been plagued by
terrorism for many years. The most advanced industrial nations of Western Europe are not
immune, either. One striking example is Great Britain, where Irish Republican Army (IRA)
ultranationalists have conducted a terrorist campaign against British control of Northern Ireland
(also known as ulster) since the late 1960s (Thomas 2006).
Terrorism, as an approach to normal struggles and conflicting demands in the human
society aims at striking fears, confusions, over-reaction and panic into the hearts of leaders and
citizens of attacked spots. The fact that terrorists do not operate under accepted norms of warfare
means they can choose and pick any point for attack and destruction and disappear into thin air
after such attacks. This is why the phenomenon has become a universal problem. For instance,
the attack of Boko Haram on the United Nations building in Abuja in 2011 affected Nigerians
and other foreigners that was in the building at that moment. Nine Nigerians were adversely
affected in terms of serious injuries and loss of lives. On February 1993, a yellow Ryder rental
van containing a 1,200 pound bomb exploded in the parking garage of the World Trade Center in
New York. The blast instantly created a 200-foot crater in the basement of the world‟s second
largest building. Over a thousand people were injured and seven people died from the incident
(Thomas 2006). Eight and one-half years later, on September 11, 2001 when the World Trade
Center was again attacked by Osama bin Laden as the World Trade Center towers were hit by
hijacked commercial airlines loaded with highly volatile jet fuel. It was not only the Americans
that were affected. Rather it was the whole world that was affected by the incident because
almost all the countries in the world have a representative there. This creates fear in the mind of
the people and it has psychological effect on their lives.
Terrorists around the world get information from one another. They share idea with other
terrorists everywhere. There is close contact among them across the globe because of the free
flow of information among them arising from revolution in information technology, causing
threat to international peace and security. Another global impact of terrorism is wastage of
resources; resources that are meant to cater for the need of the citizens are diverted to combating
terrorism activities by the governments. Today, terror tactics are used to cripple the economics of
multi-national cooperation and states Terrorism has equally secular and religious institutions of
learning, thereby making the social wellbeing of young ones an issue.
Arising from the foregoing, it is obvious that the stability of the global system as well as
the international system has been jeopardized, disrupted and negatively affected by terrorism.
The challenges for international terrorism amongst nation states have become structural and
compositional. In the light of this rage called terrorism, how do statesmen build new structures to
ensure that world peace is enhanced? What are the new messages that should be sent to volatile
areas and attacked areas to minimize damage to international security? How will foreign policy
experts deal with terrorism?
Tracing the actual date for the start of terrorism is herculean, if not impossible. However
there is a consensus that the French Revolution of 1789-1799 marked the junction in the history
of terrorism. The French Revolution to World War one, religion provided for the main
justification for the use of terrorism, until the French Revolution between 1789 and 1799. The
situation however changed as nationalism, anarchism and other secular political movements
emerge during the 1800s to challenge divine rule by monarchs. Modern terrorism initially was
antimonarchical, embraced by rebels and constitutionalists during the late stages of French
Revolution and in Russia by the Peoples Will Organization.
Terrorism has assumed a global dimension and is a threat to the corporate existence of any
nation. Over the years, terrorist attacks had been recorded in many nations of the world. In
Nigeria, the spate of terrorism is on the increase, the most recent was the bombing of the United
Nations building in Abuja where people were killed and injured. Terrorism remains a criminal
act and should be treated as such. It causes damage to public properties, endangers lives of the
civil populace, causes death or bodily harm and remains a serious offence which has been
facilitated to arms, ammunitions and weapons of mass destruction.
Nigeria as a nation-state is under a severe internal socio-economic and security threat.
These threats has social, economic, political and environmental dimension. Each of these
dimensions has greatly affected the nation‟s stability and can be traced to the ethnic militia
armies, ethnic and religious conflicts, poverty, terrorism, armed robbery, corruption, economic
sabotage and environmental degradation. One of these threats that will be discuss in this long
essay is how domestic terrorism has affected the Nigeria foreign policy using Boko Haram
insurgency which is one and most recent domestic terrorists group in Nigeria as a case study.
Domestic terrorism is the broadest form of terrorism and it started in the United States of
America and it involves car bombing and international hacking. Domestic terrorism is defined as
the unlawful use of force or violence committed by a group of two or more individuals against
persons or property to intimidate or coerce government. Terrorism in Nigeria did not just start in
this dispensation of democracy it started since inception it has been “an orchestration” of the
military dictatorship in Nigeria. What seems to be terrorism in Nigeria today is Boko Haram but
that is not true there have been other terrorist groups that have existed before Boko Haram, like
the O‟dua People‟s Congress, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Movement for the
Actualization for the Sovereign State of Biafra, Niger-Delta Volunteers Force, Ogoni Youth,
Bakassi Boys etc. and some of which has been silenced by the deafening roars of the Boko
Haram insurgency (Martins Library).
The main focus of all architects of foreign policy is to vividly articulate their country‟s
national interest which serves as a guide in their relations with other nations in the international
system. The emergence of terrorism in Nigeria due to the rise of Islamic fundamentalist in
northern Nigeria has greatly undermined the country‟s foreign policy drive. Boko Haram
activities in Nigeria have led to the negative reactions from groups and nations that have been
affected by its activities in the country thereby leading to deterioration of foreign relations of
these countries with Nigeria. The operations of terrorism in Nigeria have moved from the sphere
of domestic or internal politics to the international domain.
Terrorist acts in Nigeria by Boko Haram and other terrorist groups have generated so much
interest from the international community raising questions as to the potency of government‟s
strategy to deal with the menace. This is because the audacity of the groups has continued
unabated amidst government claims of winning the war, every day casualty‟s increase at
alarming rates after each attack making the general public to lose confidence in the system.
According to the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report (2012), Nigeria moved from 16th position
in 2008 to 11th position in 2009 and 12th position in 2010 and now 7th position Global Terrorism
Index of 7.4. Nigeria is worse than Sudan which is ranked the 11th and Mali 34th. Some
international analysts have blamed the surge in terrorist activities in the country on „mirror
politics‟ which has characterized the country‟s political scene since independence. This scenario
has led to Nigeria losing its respect in the comity of nations as no country will be inclined to
establish a mutual relationship with a country where terrorist activities have remained
This study seeks to examine the effect of domestic terrorism on Nigeria‟s foreign policy.
This is imperative considering the fact that protracted and intractable security challenges arising
from domestic terrorism will cast blight on Nigeria‟s image in international politics with the
devastating implications for the efficiency, consistency and relevance of its foreign policy
pursuit. The emergence of terrorism in Nigeria has not only dented the country‟s image at the
international level, but has also greatly affected its foreign relations policy in recent times. The
activities of the Boko Haram insurgency have led to the negative reactions on the part of the
countries that want or will want to relate with Nigeria. Apart from the loss of interest in
establishing vibrant relations with Nigeria, there is reduction in the economic investment in the
country. Also the activities of the Boko Haram insurgency has spoilt the image of Nigeria in the
international system because Nigeria as a big brother of Africa who engages in different peace
keeping operations within Africa and in the international system is not really actively involved in
peace keeping mission anymore because it also battling with issue of terrorism at home which
has deprived the country of achieving one of its foreign policy objectives. The attacks of Boko
Harm insurgency has moved to her neighboring counties like Chad, Cameroons, Niger and Benin
Existing studies seems to be suffused with issues of Nigeria‟s foreign policy particularly
in relation to the country‟s degree of importance at international politics, and how this has
impacted on its foreign policy framework and implementation. A plethora of studies have also
examined the evolution and manifestation of domestic terrorism in Nigeria and the devastating
consequences on national security. However, extent body of literature has not done much work
in examining foreign policy. Therefore, the preoccupation of this study is to systematically
examine the main view of its implications for the country‟s foreign policy within the context of
international politics.
The central objective of this study is to examine and evaluate the effect of domestic
terrorism on Nigeria‟s foreign policy.
Moreover, the study aims at achieving the following specific objectives:
1. To examine the emergence of domestic terrorism in Nigeria.
2. To evaluate how terrorist activities have undermine Nigeria foreign policy.
3. To investigate the measures taken by the Nigeria government in combating terrorism
4. To make recommendation based on these findings on the Nigeria government how
government should address the issue of terrorism.
1. How did domestic terrorism start in Nigeria?
2. How have terrorist activities undermined the Nigeria foreign policy relations with
other countries in the international system?
3. What are the measures taken by the Nigeria government in combating terrorism in the
4. What are the steps Nigerian governments should take in addressing the issue of
terrorism in the country?
This research work will contribute to knowledge by helping to enlighten, develop and
inform government, law enforcement agencies, researchers and students on the reoccurring
activities as well as implications of domestic terrorist. The study also seeks to intimate policy
makers to be proactive, responsive and constructively diplomatic in its approaches to the pursuit
of foreign policy in the interest of the territorial integrity of the Nigeria state and the common
good of the citizenry.
The study will shed more light on the emergence of domestic terrorism in Nigeria, and how
this has affected its foreign policy relations among the county of nations.
The study will also generate future research opportunities to those who are interested in the
area of the study.
The scope of this research work is on the effect of domestic terrorism on Nigeria‟s foreign
policy using the case study of Boko Haram insurgency from 2011 till date. During the course of
this research, the researcher envisages some constraints such as budgetary financial constraints,
uncooperative attitude of the respondents towards questionnaire and inaccessibility to detail
information. However, these limitations will not have substantial adverse effect on the
generalization of the findings.
This research work is divided into five chapters. The first chapter which is the introduction
includes background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research
questions, research methodology, significance to the study, scope and limitations of the study
and definition of terms. Chapter two covers literature review comprising of the conceptual
clarifications and theoretical framework. Chapter three addresses the methodology adopted for
data collection and analysis. Chapter four focuses on data presentation of this study. Chapter five
which concludes this research work contains the summary, conclusion and recommendations
towards combating terrorism in Nigeria.
Terrorism: The term terrorism is not pinned down to a definition among government or
academic analysts, but it is almost used in a pejorative sense, most of which frequently describe
the life threatening actions perpetrated by politically motivated self-appointed sub-state groups.
Terrorism as a pejoration is sometimes applied, however, to the deeds of governments rather than
to those of sub-state actors. The United States Department of Defense defines terrorism as the
calculated use of unlawful violence to inculcate fear intended to coerce or to intimate
governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious or
ideological. Also, the United Nations define terrorism as an anxiety inspiring methods of
repeated violent action employed by clandestine individuals, groups or state actors for criminal
or political reasons whereby in contrast to assassination, the direct targets of violence are not the
main targets.
Domestic terrorism: This can be define as a dangerous acts to human life that violates federal or
state law and aimed at influencing and affecting the policy and conduct of a government by
intimidation or coercion, mass destruction and assassination within it territorial boundary. It can
also be defined as the unlawful use of force or violence, committed by a group of two or more
individuals, against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian
population in furtherance of political or social objectives.
Foreign policy: Plan of action adopted by one nation in regards to its diplomatic dealings with
other countries. Foreign policies are established as a systematic way to deal with issues that may
arise with other countries. It consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its
national interests and to achieve goals within its international relations milieu.
Magstaelt Thomas M. (2006), Understanding politics. Belmont USA; Waldsworth.
Matins Library (2014), History of Domestic Terrorism and Bombing in Nigeria. Criminal Law:
History and International relations (H.I.R), Law. /…/
history (On January 20th, 2015).
Bukola Adeyemi Oyeniyi (2014), A Historical Overview of Domestic Terrorism in Nigeria. /…/ Ahistorical… (On January 20th, 2015).
Global Terrorism Index Report (2012).


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