TERRORISM AND NIGERIANS ECONOMY AN ASSESSMENT OF THE BOKO HARAM INSURGENCY
1.1 Background of the study
Terrorism according to lodge is an illegitimate means of attempting to effect political change by the indiscriminate use of violence (Lodge 1988:5). Also Madunagu (2001:51) maintains that terrorism is “the use of violence to achieve political objectives”. The bottom line of the above definitions is that terrorism is an aspect of political violence. Since September 11, 2001, multiple attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Centre and pentagon in the United States of America, terrorism has become a House Hold discussion in the world. Boko Haram according to Dr. Anslem Dilichukwu Omenma in one of his presentation at Caritas University political science seminar day, is traceable to the militia group called ECOMOG which enjoyed the patronage of top politicians in other parts of the northern Nigeria, began to patronize the group through budgetary allocations. The Boko Haram group has affected Nigeria‟s economy badly most especially in the northern part.
According to a seminar presentation in Caritas University by Dr. D.A. Omenma (H.O.D), the Boko Haram Insurgents started as a militia group called ECOMOG, which have being sponsored by prominent politicians in the north – eastern states of Borno and Yobe during the build up to the 2003 general elections. Later, other politicians in other parts of Northern Nigeria began to sponsor the group they provided them with huge sums of money, provision of training grounds on the many mountains scattered in the northern region as well as protection against arrests by the Federal governments. (Omenma 2012:15).
The sects spokesman Abu Qeda in one of his confessions in 2012 stated that the Boko Haram sect started as a fundamentalist group officially called Ahlus Sunna Lid Dawatis Jihad but now popularly known as Boko Haram. Since the inception of the activities of this group, Nigeria’s security has been threatened and it has also affected the economy.
The project is therefore an attempt at a critical study to show how Boko Haram has affected the economy either positively or negatively. It has been noted that Boko Haram is regarded as terrorist group that has affected Nigeria‟s economy especially in the north, attempts would be made to see how this sect has really affected the economy of Nigeria and possibly recommend lasting solutions to the menace, so that the peace and stability which the country has longed for would be achieved and there would be an end to terrorism in Nigeria.
A cursory look around the world will reveal that for many countries under this dispensation, have also suffered and are still suffering from terrorist attacks. For instance, the United States of America which has lasted for almost two hundred years since the 18th century still suffered in the hands of Osama Bin Laden before he was finally killed in 2011. Also Israel, Pakistan and even some other countries in Africa have had terrorist’s attacks that have rendered peace and stability almost a mirage. Example, Libya in 1986 was attacked by the United States of America.
In Nigeria Boko Haram snowballed into national menace after the 2011 general elections, the northern governors who had relationship with the sect began to withdraw their patronages and eventually abandoned them to their fate. (The Nation 2011:13). Most scholars and analysts tend to subscribe to the opinion that terrorism is a political expression and not a criminal act. As a result they agree that terrorist groups across the world have a common adversary in the status quo, represented by the regime in power, the political system of the economic system. In their view therefore, the major objective of terrorists is to disrupt the statuesque or dismantle the regime in power so as to impose their own values on the rest of the society.
However since the terrorists usually lack willing public support and face stiff suppression from the government, they always resort to indiscriminate violence on a tactical and strategic basis to spread fear and intimidation and persuade the public of the validity of their cause (Lodge, 1988:3). All terrorist acts involve violence or equally important, the threat of violence. The Islamic militant sect, Boko Haram has been terrorizing Nigeria‟s population for almost two years, sapping economic development in the northern part of the country. According to “focus Nigeria” an interactive programme on television, 2012, the insurgency has brought about the demise of business in the country most especially in the northern parts. For instance, traders who come from all over Nigeria and neighboring countries to buy textiles in Kano, no longer frequent the market again and the market is not as busy as it use to be. The study is set to investigate how this menace has eaten deep into our economy.
1.2 Statement of Problem
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 our economy and as a matter of fact, the hostility has gone beyond religious or political coloration.
Several meetings, summit, conferences etc have being held in a bid to curb the menace in the country but all to no avail. Also apart from the fact that meetings have been held, the federal governments have spent millions of naira in making sure that security is brought back to the country but that has never looked worked. The president has told all security agencies to be at alert and to get their arsenals ready and to put more effort in the promotion of effective security in the country. Also the president in one of his speeches prompts all Nigerians to take security seriously because it is everybody’s business. But the question is will it ever stop? Can we say that the Boko Haram menace could be understood from the argument that Islam which give hope to the poor Muslims is being threatened out of extinction by Christianity and the Muslim youth who derive hope of a brighter future from the teaching of Islam are fighting to defend the survival of the hope of the hopeless Muslims, or do we see the insurgency from the prism of nationalism? In this light, this study will be guided by the following research question.
iii. Is the military option the possible solution in tackling the menace?
1.3 Objective of the study
The main thrust of this study is to establish the following significance: –
iii. To explore whether the military option is the possible solution in tackling the menace.
1.4 Significance of the study
The significance of this study is that it will act as a guide to the government in their quest to quell the problem of terrorism (Boko Haram) as it affects the economy of the country. Also judging from the fact that terrorism is currently a prevailing cankerworm and its very spontaneous and topical, this study will help to proffer solutions.
More so, this work, theoretically will be useful to writers, scholars, journalists etc. in order to add to their existing knowledge what they already know about terrorism and Nigeria‟s economy, particularly the Boko Haram activities.
1.5 Literature Review
This review is precisely concerned with pre existing views and perception of various scholars and academicians as regards their contributions to the subject matter. As a result of this we will be focusing on major issues: terrorism and Nigeria‟s economy.
When we talk about terrorism, just like other concepts in political science that do not have one definition, it has various definitions. Most scholars and analysts tend to subscribe to the opinion that terrorism is a political expression and not a criminal act. According to Lodge (1988:5) as already cited, “terrorism is an illegitimate means of attempting to effect political change by the indiscriminate use of violence. What lodge is trying to explain is that terrorism is a means of attempting to effect political change but it is illegitimate, it involves the use of violence. According to lodge, every act of terrorism is intended to effect a change in the political system.
According to Cook (1989) terrorism is an attempt to achieve a political end by creating a climate of fear through bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, and seizure of air craft‟s. That is to say, those who involve terrorist activities use bombings, assassinations, kidnappings and seizure of air craft‟s mechanisms or strategies in order to create fear because when people are afraid, they tend to surrender to these who inflict them with the fear and terror.
Lacqueur (1997) posited that terrorism is “the susbstate application of violence or threatened violence intended to sow panic in a society to weaken or even over throw the incumbent and to bring about political change”. In another words, one can say that terrorism and revolution are synonymously the same because both are intended to bring about political change at the tail end.
Madunagu (2001: 51) maintains that terrorism is the use of violence to achieve political objectives.”The bottom line of the above definition is that terrorism is an aspect of political violence but it is an extra normal kind of political violence. This is because in a bid to immobilize the forces of the incumbent, the insurgents waste innocent lives and feature of terrorism is that governments, states and their symbols including innocent people are attacked in order to undermine confidence in a state’s ability to protect its citizens. Narrowing it down to Nigeria, there is no history of terrorism in the form of coordinated attacks to spread fears and undermine the government of the country until recently. Most studies have revealed many driving forces of terrorism, for the purpose of this research they are narrowed to three; these are fundamentalism, nationalism and secessionism.
According to the fundamentalist view, they contend that terrorism is a product of religious fanaticism and an expression of faith and intolerance to the spread of another religious faith. In other words the proponents of this line of argument regard terrorism as a tactics employed by some groups to contain the spread of other religious faiths and impose theirs on others through violence or intimidation in line with this argument, the only panacea to the menace of terrorism is the abolition of secular principle and the enthronement and acceptance of one religion in the world. Tony Blair, a major proponent of the fundamentalist view and a onetime prime minister of Britain did not hesitate to attribute the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington to Al-Qeda Islamic fundamentalist group led by Osama Bin Laden in his reaction to the incident, Blair asserted unequivocally that;
Fanatics who are utterly indifferent to the sanctity of human life perpetrated the acts” (the Guardian, 2001:3)
Of course, it did not take long before Alqeda claimed responsibility for that horrendous act. The current terrorist menace by the Boko Haram meaning “Western education and values are evil”. Is what is signifies. Moreover, the utterances of the sects spoke man, Abu Qada also lend credence to the fundamentalist argument. Abu Qada asserted that;
The reason for our insurgency (Boko Haram) is because we the Muslim communities in the North of Nigeria where Boko Haram operates, See ourselves as increasingly threatened By the strident Christianity that dominate the North.(the Guardian, 2001:5).
The sect now wants Sharia established across the length and breadth of the country as the only condition for ceasing its bomb and gun attacks (the Nation, 2012:12).
According to the Nationalist view, terrorism is the exclusive preserve of the champions of ethnic emancipation viewed from this prism; terrorism exists in a multi ethnic society where there are prevalent cases of marginalization and oppression, according to this view, the propelling force of terrorism is the existence of exploitation and oppression of a group which invariably creates injustice and inequality. In the words of Mbah (2001:63).
Terrorism inexorably becomes A weapon of the underprivileged The victim of the prevailing relations Of power in the international system, Acting in self defense or struggling to Shake off the yoke of oppression. (mbah 2001:63)
The implication of this line of argument is that terrorism is a revolutionary tactics and nothing else. This explains why some terrorist groups assume a larger than life image of liberation fighters, social revolutionaries and even martyrs of some worthy cause as they can legitimately claim to speak for an identifiably oppressed group (Merkl, 1986: 141). More so, failure to give quality attention to the review of the meaning and concepts of the Nigeria’s economy as propounded by scholars will render this review incomprehensive. This is because by so doing by reviewing the concept of Nigeria’s economy, we will be able to establish a relationship between the two issues (Terrorism and Nigeria’s economy). Economy is regarded as the wealth and resources of a country or region especially in terms of the population and consumption of goods and services. Also according to Business Dictionary, economy is an entire network of producers, distributors, and consumers of goods and services in a local, regional or national community e.g Nigeria’s economy.
Over the years, since the inception of the menace of Boko Haram, the economy of Nigeria especially in the North has been destroyed. According to the Borno state commissioner for information, Mr., Inuwa Bwala, it will take the state 20 years to recover from the current predicament it has found itself. According to the commissioner, It is only natural that when you have such a situation as we have now it will affect the economic fortunes especially where people go out to do business under the atmosphere of fear. So there is no doubt that the crisis has taken its toll on our economy it will take us a very long time, not less than 20 years to recover and get to the position where they were before The crisis stated.
(This day 2012:3).
The year 2011 shows that Boko Haram catastrophic terrorism has continued to pose a clear threat to the Nigerian economic sector.
According to Olwaseun Bamidele Department of liberal Art and Social Science faith Academy Cannanland Ota, Nigeria, the Nigerian economy is critically dependent on foreign investment and natural resources. Renewable natural resources exploration is agriculture and foreign investment sectors contribute more to the gross domestic product (GDP) of many Northern states economy than manufacturing. Foreign investment is the fastest growing sector in many of these states and this is based on the encouragement given to it. In addition to the significant contributions to natural economics, foreign investments sustain rural livelihood through the provision of a wide range of products and services. The Maiduguri Monday market said to be the biggest market in the city is reported to have been seriously affected as hundreds of shop owners especially southerners are said to have closed their business and left the troubled city. About half of the 10,000 shops and stalls in the market were said to have been abandoned by traders who have fled the city.
According to the Executive Director of Admiral Agriculture and Environmental care Kaduna, Mr. Shedrack Madlion, the business environment in the north is becoming worst and called on the authorities to do something about the worsening security situation according to madlion.
Business authorizes in northern Nigeria today have gone to almost zero percentage. There is no way anybody can come and put Any investment, where there is insecurity. The transport owners are complaining, Social life in the north is gone. (madlion 2012:5).
1.6 Theoretical Framework
The group theory will stand as the theoretical framework of this study; there are many theoretical frameworks for the study. analysis and explanation of different political phenomena. These frameworks however vary depending on the subject under study, for the analysis of such phenomenon like terrorism (Boko Haram), the group theory is more appropriate and relevant. Also the theory of deprivation which also can lead to violence is another theoretical framework that can be used to analyze the study.
Group theorists like Authur Bentley conceptualize social activities in terms of groups, according to him, group are indispensable, some admit that though individuals have roles to play, their roles are more important only in group context. The theorists see group behavior as relationship between the individuals that constitute such groups. The group one belongs to affect him to a certain extent of his behavior. The Boko Haram therefore is a conglomerate of interest groups. It becomes very necessary at this juncture to study the various groups which interplay with each other in the process of terrorist activities in Nigeria. According to Bentley in his analysis of Group theory, individual is important only in the group context. He and shills (another theorist). See the social system as being made up of groups which compete for values of the society. Consequently, these groups which compete for values, attention and demands of the society,
Drawing from our subject matter, these groups are being motivated by the activities of the other groups for instance; the Niger Delta Militant group motivated and gingered up Boko Haram sect. presently, the Boko Haram sect, with its own group interest is then likely that it has turned one of the most terrifying and strongest terrorist group in Nigeria among other groups. But the group is seen by everybody in and outside the country as a group with special and one sided interest and they fight other groups as well as stand out in relation to no other.
Since group regulate group struggles, they invariably determine peace and stability, terrorism in Nigeria is therefore seen as the result of interplay of demand and objectives of various groups e.g Boko Haram Sect, Niger Delta Militant group etc. in the study of group activities and their influence with its application to terrorist activities in Nigeria, certain variables can be utilized, such variables are the group access to the conflict and instability in the country, group cohesion, the organization of the group, status of the group, leadership, funds and resources. In this analysis, the group approach will be applied in the conflicts and instability are of groups, the organization of the Boko Haram sect is based on interplay of groups. There must be leadership for dissemination of information.
In accordance with the research questions and founded on empirical verifications deduced from the research study, I hypothesize this: –
iii. The military seems to be the best option and solution in tackling the Boko Haram crisis in Nigeria.
1.8 Method of Data Collection And Analysis
The method of data collection used in this research study is the Secondary source which is also known as documentation. Due to the spontaneous nature of the issue under investigation, we gather information from magazines, Journals, Newspapers, textbooks, internet materials which are relevant to the study.
The framework of content analysis is what we adopted due to the fact that it will aid us in giving better appreciable acknowledgment to the study and make us knowledgeably acquainted to the subject under analysis.
1.9 Scope and Limitation of the Study
The scope of this research work is quite broad that it encompasses the investigation of “Terrorism and Nigeria’s economy” an assessment of the Boko Haram insurgence. This is because of its spontaneous nature.
In view of the limitations of this study various factors contributed in affecting the researcher’s comprehensiveness and totality in carrying out the study. Among these factors are scarcities of relevant materials on the issue due to its continuous evolving nature and virginity, financial constraints and other task of campus engagements and the fact that the crisis experienced its apex in the course of the research interval. Despite, the aforementioned short comings and hindrances, the research study no doubt turned out to be successful.
1.10 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 readers.
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 individuals 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.
Insulgence: 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.