1.1 Background of the Study
Terrorism, arguably, is the biggest threat to global peace and stability in the contemporary
times. Since the dawn of this millennium, the incidence of the terrorism has been on a steady rise
Hitherto, terrorism was more or less a national or regional affair. This trend, however, has since
changed as been observed by Awake:
Just few years ago, terrorism seemed to be restricted to a few isolated places, such as Northern
Ireland, the Basque Country in Northern Spain, and some areas of the Middle East. Now –
especially since September 11, 2001, with the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York –
worldwide phenomenon (June, 2006).
Indeed, the worldwide manifestation of terrorism has been evident in Africa, but also in Nigeria.
With particular reference to Nigeria, the phenomenon has found expression in the emergence of
Boko Haram insurgency. Since its advent, the sectarian insurgency has wrecked immense havoc
in the country, especially by ―using explosives and firearms with gruesome, fatal‖ consequences
(Awake June, 2008).
The Nigerian government has adopted different counterinsurgency strategies to curb the
terrorist activities of the Boko Haram group. Counterinsurgency (frequently referred to by the
acronym COIN) is just the opposite of insurgency. To put it differently, it involves a
combination of measures undertaken by the legitimate government of a country to curb or
suppress an insurgency taken up against it. So while insurgents for instance try to erase or
overthrow the existing political authority in order to establish theirs, the counter-insurgent forces
try to reinstate the existing political structures as well as reduce or annihilate the usurping
authority of the insurgents.
For the past three years, developments and operations in Nigeria have forcibly rekindled the need
to rethink the best possible ways to fight insurgencies, thus finding a strategy to address these
emerging threats. At the onset, it is important to note that similar counterinsurgency strategies
applied by the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan and Iraq have not yielded the desired and
predicted results. Put differently, there are even more cases of insurgencies and terrorism after
the US (alongside the United Kingdom) 2001 declaration of ‗war on terror.‘ According to Lauren
(2014), approximately 10 years after the 9/11 attacks, the United States faces a more diverse, yet
no less formidable, terrorist threat than that of 2001. In this increasingly complex and dynamic
threat environment, not only does Pakistan-based al Qaeda possess the ability to project itself
across the globe to stage attacks against the West but so do groups based in Yemen, Somalia, and
The above view is instrumental and applicable to the Nigerian situation where a similar
counterinsurgency approach was adopted by the Nigerian state against Boko Haram and there are
even strong connections between Boko Haram and al Qaeda as well as Al Shabaab of Somalia.
Socioeconomic inequalities, injustice, corruption, ethnic intolerance and religious extremism
are some of the vices which have culminated and metamorphosed into fanatical movements
demanding radical change. Insurgencies, and the terrorism that accompanies them, have become
the order of the day thus posing complex challenges threatening political and social stability and
defying military attempts to suppress or defeat them.
Worse still, these insurgencies when wrongly countered by the State can grow into full terrorism.
It needs be emphasized that insurgency is not same as terrorism (Brock, 2012)
The high level of terrorism and violence in Nigeria by the fundamentalist group (Boko Haram)
has heightened fears among the populace and the international community and has eaten deep
into the economy and as a matter of fact, the hostility has gone beyond religious or political
Several meetings, summit, conferences etc have been held in a bid to curb the menace in the
country and there have been responses of supports to that effect. There has been foreign aid in
the form of military support to curb the insurgence. In spite of this there continue to be evolving
problem as the next sub heading dwells on it.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
If the conceptual confusion arising from the several debates with regards to counterinsurgency is
anything to go by, then the government seems to have forgotten the past while attempting to
reinvent and restructure the future. It also seem to have forgotten that there are more insurgencies
and cases of terrorism after the US declared the ‗war on terror‘ which is often seen as the
milestone of terrorism.
The lack of an integrated and multi-dimensional approach to these new threats too often leads to
confusion and disjointed responses and acrimonious debates not only over what needs to be
done, but who- military or civilian-should do it. In the absence of an overarching strategic and
operational understanding of the problem, military and civilian planners default to their own
experiences and ideas, and, in many cases, grasp prevailing assumptions and accord them the
status of historical truths. The Nigerian military for instance has been accused of killing and
torturing innocent civilians in a bid to defeating Boko Haram and only on October 2012, thirty
(unarmed) civilians were shot dead by the Nigerian military in pursuit of Boko Haram in the
north-eastern city of Maiduguri. Three weeks later, the Nigerian military carried out another
operation in Maiduguri that killed seventy people whose connection with Boko Haram were not
established. In this order, the notion of a “war” on terrorists or countering insurgency has
somewhat been over-exploited by the Nigerian state, thus reducing civil liberties as well as
infringing upon fundamental human rights issues. It is thus unlikely that Boko Haram or any
other international terrorism can be brought to an end by military means.
To many, the new threats we face pose unprecedented challenges. Transnational conflict and
weapons proliferation, religious and ethnic extremism, and mushrooming urbanization have
changed the landscape on which insurgencies are being fought.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main thrust of this research work is to examine the problem of foreign aid in Nigeria:
assessing their impact on boko haram insurgency. The specific objectives of the study are to:
i. examine the long term impact of foreign aid to Nigeria with regards to Boko Haram
ii. Examine the relationship between poverty, education, bad governance and the
emergence of Boko Haram?
iii. Examine whether the military option is a possible solution in tackling the menace?
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions are formulated to guide this research work: Accordingly, this
study seeks to answer the following questions:
i. What long term impact can foreign aid to Nigeria with regards to
Boko Haram creates?
ii. Is there relationship between poverty, education, bad governance and the emergence of
iii. Is the military option the possible solution in tackling the menace?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study is timely because it provides measures to tackle or avoid insurgency, which is still an
on-going challenge for Nigeria as well as other countries of the world. Similarly, this research
project presents facts about the possible counterproductive outcome of countering an insurgency.
Drawing from this, it provides an opportunity for governments of all countries to invest heavily
in human development and eradicate societal vices as poverty, illiteracy or unemployment as
measures to help avert insurgency and terrorism. Admittedly, the collective responsibility
espoused in this thesis is not just for the security of Nigerians but also for the wellbeing of all
humans regardless of their respective country. So if various governments become very much
aware that the prevalence of insurgencies and terrorisms in various parts of the world is heavily
connected to governmental lapses or bad governance and work tirelessly to adopt some of the
measures suggested in this thesis, the scourge of insurgencies and terrorism would be immensely
reduced. In this order, this study provides insight with the realization that countering an
insurgency, which is often done with brutality, only helps to institutionalize insurgencies and
take it to the level of wider terrorism.
1.6 Scope of the Study
Looking at the actual origin of Boko Haram which is deep rooted in the early 1990s and what
foreign aid to Nigeria have so far achieved in fighting Boko Haram insurgency, the scope of this
study would then be to investigate and identify the actual factor which triggered the group into
its present form or phase and to examine the problem and perhaps prospect of foreign aid in
Nigeria regarding the insurgency.
1.7 Limitation of the study
The main limitation for this research rests on my inability to have real and first-hand interviews
with current or even former members of Boko Haram. This is because Boko Haram is still an ongoing threat and as such even going to the Northern part of Nigeria remains a risk. Another basic
limitation rests on the collection and availability of data especially with regards to Boko Haram
attacks. While some of the sites are locked while others have some earlier information removed.
1.8 Organization of the Chapters
This project is divided into five chapters. The first chapter is the introduction, and contains the
background to the study, statement of problem, objective of study, scope and limitation, and
organization of study. The second chapter is the literature review, and is made up of the
conceptual clarifications and theoretical frameworks. Chapter three is the research methodology,
and includes the research design, research population, sample procedure and sampling technique,
research instruments, validity and reliability of instruments, methods of data collection, and data
analysis technique. Chapter four is the data analysis; the first part is the primary analysis which
has to do with the responses obtained through distribution of questionnaire while the last part
presents the analysis based on research hypotheses. Chapter five encompasses the summary of
findings, conclusion and recommendations
1.9 Definition of terms
This entails stating the meaning of various concepts used earlier, so as to give a better
understanding of the meaning and also give a vivid picture of these concepts in the minds of the
Terrorism: this is an illegitimate means of attempting to effect political change by the
indiscriminate use of violence. Also it is the use of violence to achieve political objectives.
Nationalist: A person who advocates that the interests of the nation or country are primary and
deserving preference over other individual‘s interests. A nationalist is concerned mainly with
promoting the concept of the nation in its various forms that may include any or all among the
economic, cultural aspect of the country.
Menace: menace means a possible danger, a threat, or an act of threatening. It also means
something that threatens to cause evil, harm, injury etc. this also means the show of an intention
to inflict evil, indication of a probable evil or catastrophe to come.
Insurgence: Armed uprising or rebellion against a government. The term has been used
variously to describe revolutionary movements, civil wars, anti-colonial struggles and terrorist
agitations; it is also seen as the state or attitude of being indulgent or tolerant.
Economy: This refers to the wealth and resources of a country or religion, especially in terms of
the production and consumption of goods and service. It is also the state of a country or region in
terms of the production and consumption of goods and services and the supply of money.
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