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A case study of Boko Haram in Nigeria

Effects Of Terrorist Activities In Nigeria


Terrorism is the usage of the unlawful type of force, threat or violence against people so as to elicit or coerce the government and civilian population with a sole purpose for demolishment in order to achieve political or social objectives. The present report has been carried out to understand the concepts pertaining to terrorism followed by the activities carried out by the Boko Haram sect in Nigeria. In this regard, the researcher has given focus on domestic and international forms of terrorism, methods used by terrorists, they're spread to Africa, Palestinian terrorist to Al-Qaida,Al-Qaida in the Maghreb (AQIM) and northern Nigeria.Special attention has also been given to Boko Haram sect which is an Arrow head of Islamic and domestic terrorism that is prevalent in Nigeria.

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Chapter 1- Introduction

1.1 Background of study

Terrorism is a form of pre mediated usage of threat or violence by individuals or terror groups so as to fulfill the desired social or even political objective via an intimidation of a large audience. It has been practiced by a broad array of political organizations, right-wing and left-wing, religious groups as well as revolutionaries for a long period of time (Definitions of Terrorism, 2013). The major feature of these acts is the indiscriminate usage of terror against the civilians so as to gain publicity for a cause. It also has an aim to leverage a feeling of terror and fear among the masses so as to achieve the goal. The terrorist activities are practiced in the whole world for many decades (Terrorism, 2012). But there has been a recent surge in the activities since the Iraq war carried out by the US security forces. There is a presence of no such country that is not affected by the terror acts be it established and highly secured nations like America. In this respect, making third world nations away from the terror acts seems a bit absurd. The same concept applies to the African subcontinent as well which have been bearing the brunt of domestic as well as international form of terrorism (Perl, 2007). This has mainly been accounted of the presence of unstable government, religious issues, widespread poverty and unemployment that has lied to the rapid presence of many terror groups. They have taken an undue advantage of the plight, suffering as well as frustration of people and made include in the so called terror acts (Blomberg,Hess and Weerapana, 2004). It is on behalf of the pertaining issues that there has been a rise of terror groups like Boko Haram which has been considered as the major leader behind Islamic and domestic terrorism as practiced by it.

In this respect, it is very essential to find out the basic concepts pertaining to terrorism as well as its spread to African subcontinent which has questioned the very survival of human lives. Hence, the report given below spreads light on the diverse issues linked to terrorism, its international and domestic forms, methods used by terrorists etc. A special emphasis has also been given on how terrorism has spread to Africa from Middle East where it has a deep presence due to many Islamic terror groups (Heyntsen, 2013). This also involves for the study of Al-Qaida in the Maghreb and terrorist activities going on in Northern Nigeria. The report has also emphasized on the Boko Haram sect of Nigeria that is being considered as the spearhead of terrorism in the country (Zalman, 2013). To achieve the above purpose, there would be development of deep insight about terrorism in a step by step manner from a generalized topic towards specific one that pertains to terrorism in Nigeria. Information would also be collected by usage of various secondary sources of information so as to develop an in depth understanding about the topic. Several issues related to terror groups and their activities would be emphasized on by making them a core part of the literature review (What is terrorism, 2013). This would further aid in the process of reaching the conclusion stage and suggestion of recommendation with respect to how terror attacks carried out by Boko Haram and other groups can be dealt.

1.2 Subject areas of research

The given research paper is very crucial as there has been a substantial increase in the terror activities since past few years. They have not been restricted to Muslim nations but have spread its wings to each and every continent. In this regard, Africa has not been overshadowed by its effects. Widespread terror groups have emerged on the continent in response to governmental policies that have not been supportive for the local masses (Walton, 2013). This has led to the researchers for developing an increased understanding towards the given topic so as to help in dealing with the global menace.

By doing so, the government of Nigeria and the others involved may get a chance to develop an understanding towards the causes behind the issue and why Boko Haran is regarded as Arrow head of Islamic and domestic terrorism in Nigeria (Mix, 2012). As the terrorists’ activities have taken a heavy toll of life in Africa especially Nigeria hence the given report would play a crucial role in developing an increased perceptive. For the same reason, it can be said that the given research is very vital to evaluate the wide range as well as varied forms of terror activities that are going on within the country (Jacobsen, 2013). It will further aid in the process of identifying the root cause so as to suggest recommendations for dealing with the global menace.

1.3 Focus and Purpose

The main aim of the given research study is to assess terrorism and related activities with special reference to Boko Haram sect of Nigeria. This would aid for a process of gaining a complete understanding about the concepts pertaining to terrorism. It would further spread light on the widespread terrorist activities being carried out by the Boko Haram sect and other terror groups in a detailed manner (Archich, 2012). This would ensure for evaluating the reasons behind the same and the level of destruction that has been caused by them. It would help in addition of valuable inputs to researcher for dealing with the global menace in a most effective manner (Ignatieff, 2004). In the light of giving aim, there has been a preparation of various objectives which are defined in the following manner.

  • To analyse the concept of international and domestic terrorism.
  • To assess the spread of terrorism to Africa Maghreb and northern Nigeria.
  • To assess the Islamic and domestic terrorist activities at Boko Haram sect in Nigeria.

1.4 Research question

The step of research question will act as an essential requirement to aid in the provision of a solid framework on which the whole of research study would be based. In this respect, there has been a formulation of research questions to aid the researcher towards developing a detailed understanding about the concept of terrorism, with special reference to Boko Haran sect of Nigeria where there has been a profound presence of terrorist activities on a domestic level (Levitas, 2012). The research questions are as follows:

  • What is the meaning of international and domestic terrorism?
  • How has terrorism spread to Africa, Maghreb and northern Nigeria?
  • What Islam and domestic terrorist activities are taking place at Boko Haran sect in Nigeria?

Chapter 2 – Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

Literature review can be considered as that area of research where there is a significant evaluation of various works that have been accomplished by the authors. It is based on the ultimate aim to collect data in the area that has been selected for his or her study purpose. According to Mc Burney and White 2009, “the main objective of this section is to locate the presence of areas that has been already covered up by a researcher. It is further based on the purpose of deriving the much needed information” (Mc Burney and White 2009). This review section thus provides for an increased opportunity to access the gaps which can play an essential role for critical assessment of literary works. In present scenario, special emphasis has been laid on studying the concepts pertaining to terrorism. Special focus has been laid on African terrorism with a profound emphasis on the Boko Haran sect of Nigeria which is considered as an arrow head for Islamic and domestic terrorism in Nigeria (International Terrorism - International Terrorism Statistics, 2013).

According to the definition given by FBI, Terrorism is the unlawful use of force, threat or violence against people and property with the purpose of eliciting or coercing the government authorities, civilian populations in demolishment of objectives towards achievement of political or social works (Hodgson, 2003). Hence, the present literature review would focus on analysis of terrorists and related activities that has on the forefront of the Boko Haran sect of Nigeria. The review would start with an introduction of terrorism and move forward to specific areas being Islamic terrorism in the Boko Haran sect of Nigeria.

<h4">2.2 Concept of terrorism

The central intelligence agency’s definition of terrorism states that it is a pre mediated, politically motivated act that is perpetrated against the noncombatant targets by groups of sub national origin and clandestine agents with an intention to influence the audiences (Hardouin and Weichhardt, 2006). According to this definition, if activity does not involve the threat of violence but takes place in the form of strikes, demonstrations and tax revolts are not considered as terrorism (Keen, 2007). In this respect, the aim of terrorism has been found to be political in origin i.e. the goal is the attainment of a political objective. It can involve for changing the regime, the people in power or even the presence of social or economic policies (Blomberg,Hess andWeerapana, 2004).

The two schools of thought being liberal and conservative have offered diverse viewpoints on the nature and causes of terrorism. The liberal school is of the viewpoint that there is a requirement of some necessary conditions to give rise to terrorism (Berrrman and Laitin, 2008). On the other hand, the conservative school has a belief that the above school only justifies reprehensible acts carried out by terrorists. The radical school further argues that the West has failed to recognize their own acts as terrorism and they have continued to label the behaviour of enemies as terrorist in nature (Terrorism: concepts, causes, and conflict resolution, 2003).

According to Abadie,2006, “terrorism is hugely different from other areas of military actions on the basis that there is a deliberate targeting of noncombatants. During any military action, the fighting usually occurs between two military or even paramilitary groups” (Abadie,2006). Here, the targets are usually soldiers, insurgents and civilian leaders. Terrorism on the other hand, focuses on noncombatants. Here, there is usually attacks on the civilians to yield better results. The basically attempt to changer the present scenario by usage of political pressure.

Some of the research scholars have tended to add religious aims to the list of political aim in the case of terrorism (Blomberg, Hess, and Weerapana, 2004). However, the concept of political aim in the case of terrorism is broad enough to inculcate the religious aims as well. In this scenario, it has been noted by many renowned personalities that the basic target of terrorist activities is usually civilians. This approach helps to trigger a tremendous level of anxiety and fear along with the creation of an intense media reaction (Definitions of Terrorism, 2013). In this respect, terrorism does not occur on the basis of an accidental injury taking place on a civilian and associated groups who are stumbling into the area of violent political activity. Rather, the act is intentionally directed to harm large masses of civilians at a given point of time. In this regard, terrorism can be regarded as the fundamental violation of the basic human right pertaining to right of living (Heyntsen, 2013). It also violates an individual’s right to live with fear by the creation of a climate which is full of fear and uncertainty to life. By recruitment and use of minors as combatants, the terrorist groups also violate the provisions related to the convention on the Rights of the Child. All this is a clear indication towards the fact that terrorism is a gross and systematic violation towards human right which makes it natural to be considered a crime against the very purpose of humanity (Perl, 2007).

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2.3 After effects of terrorist activities in Nigeria

  • Psychiatric casualties – There has been a widespread presence of terror attacks on the people in a direct and indirect level. According to the studies, it is clear that 22 to 48 percent of the people in Nigeria are suffering from psychiatric problems on a long term basis. This has been in the form of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and many others (Keene, 2011). This is also followed by a sustained duration related to disruption of the community followed by personal loss. This also causes high degrees of helplessness, isolation from society as well as a huge inability to obtain information.
  • Economic loss – According to Whittaker, 2007, “due to the effect of terrorism, the Nigerian economy has been wobbling with various economic impacts. There has been a severe damage to confidence of investors, the downward slide of the economy. It has further complicated the business environment and made it investor-unfriendly”. These have been suffocating on a higher level that has further disrupted with the economic productivity (Whittaker, 2007).
  • Social unrest – The terror activities taking place in Nigeria have led to the development of social unrest. This has been possible on account of development of frustration and depression among the masses. It has further led to the creation of an atmosphere full of anxiety and terror thereby reaching the sole aim of terror groups (Mullins, 2009).


3.1 Introduction

The research methodology is a process of collecting information and evaluating it to get the predefined research objectives. The research methodology facilitates collection of data, their analysis and presents the finding either in qualitative terms or quantitative terms (Fraenkel and Wallen, 2006).

A significant role is played by research methodology during conducting a research on the given topic pertaining to terrorism (Berrrman and Laitin, 2008). It includes all those tools and techniques that are used in a research work that has been utilized in the present research study. It plays a major role in taking a research to its defined end by providing the theoretical base (Laurel, 2003). Taking this research to its conclusion and provide the recommendations cannot be possible without research methodology. The methodology provides all those tools that are must for any research work such as research method, approaches, data collection, etc.Without these tools data either cannot be collected or evaluated. The research methodology facilitates understanding of various facts and figures by converting the data into findings (Anderson, 2010).

Various studies cannot reach to their conclusion due to selecting the wrong set of tools. Every tool cannot work effectively with every kind of research. The objectives of the research indicate that either research will be qualitative or quantitative. Or which approach needed to be adopted either inductive, that moves from specific idea in general theory or deductive that move from general theory to a specific idea (Qualitative Research, 2013). Research methodology provides various tools but it is must select the best set of tools so that best outcomes can be generated.

This part of the report is going to discuss about the selected set of tools for the current report. As this research is to discuss very sensitive topic terrorism, researcher requires more concentration than other researches (Creswell, 2002). Choosing a wrong set of tools can result in termination of varied outcomes or legitimacy of research. In order to address the specific questions about terrorism this research will be a descriptive research. As this study will move from general to specific idea the deductive research approach will be used. The deductive approach guides the study of more specific and provides the key idea behind the general view (Data collection methods, 2013).

Both qualitative and quantitative tools are being used for present research on terrorism. On lack of primary data sources, this research will completely based on secondary data. In order to collect the required data various sources are being used (Wilson, 2010). Reliability of data sources can vastly affect the results so it must to ensure that data will be collected from authorized sources such as books, journals, websites of different governmental bodies and new articles. Along with this every set of data will be properly referenced so that the validity of the research can be maintained (Welman, Kruger and Mitchell, 2005).

3.2 Research Philosophy

The given technique helps in the provision of an in depth review about the data that has been collected by the researcher. With this there would be an understanding about the investigation pattern as per the requisite research (Research Philosophy and Qualitative Interviews, 2013). Any topic is based on three major forms of philosophies i.e. positivism, realism and interpretevism.

In present case there has been a usage of interpretevism philosophies in context of Terrorism. The selection is apt on the basis of the fact that there has been data collection via use of secondary sources. In this respect, there are chances of contradictions in the views given by varying authors. Hence, the approach would aid in correct analysis so as to help in movement towards structured research (Blessing and Chakrabarti, 2009).

3.3 Benefits of research techniques

In present scenario, there has been an increased interest on part of researcher in the area of terrorism as well as the concepts pertaining to it. In this respect, the suggested methods and techniques for research study would aid in the process of understanding, describing, exploring as well as evaluating various concepts pertaining to terrorism in Nigeria (Jesson, Matheson and Lacey, 2011). This would further aid in the process of deriving concluding remarks followed by recommendations for the same.

3.4 Limitations

There has been a presence of various limitations towards the research study on topic related to terrorism carried out by the Boko Haram sect based in Nigeria. The constraints related to same have been discussed in the points mentioned below:

  • Presence of lengthy process – The collection of data on the topic pertaining to terrorism by the Boko Haram sect of Nigeria has been a lengthy process that also came out to be time consuming (Sapsford and Jupp, 2006). As there was a presence of time constraint which added to further limitations in ensuring of quality data.
  • Limitation in terms of the absence of adequate information – While collection of the information it was found that very little research have been conducted by researchers in some areas leading to absence of secondary data (Fereday and Cochrane, 2006).
  • Non-generalized study – There has been a limitation with respect to the presence of non generalization in terms of outcomes related to given study. Hence the recommendations given for terrorist activities carried out by Boko Hara cannot be generalized across all terror groups present in Africa.
  • Miscellaneous – There has been the presence of certain other limitations as well. This has been in terms of absence of knowledge on the given research topic, difficulty in collection of primary data, proper access to certain websites due to log in details (Blessing and Chakrabarti, 2009).

3.5 Resources

In order to complete the research study, the requirement is to use resources so as to adhere to the given purpose of the research study. Hence, for the purpose of secondary data collection there would be a requirement of various resources. They are related to proper collection of secondary sources in form of internet connection, computers and laptops (Collier and Hoeffler, 2004).


Terrorism can be regarded as a very contextual phenomenon and a complex issue that has been studied and debated by several organizations for decades. There has been a presence of dozens of competing definitions that have given by scholars, policymakers as well as government agencies (Chukwuemerie, 2006). It is a systematic use of terror, coercion and violence for achieving a particular goal. Hence, it has been a particularly challenging task for the governments across all the nations specifically being Africa and Nigeria to deal with it. It is also a well known fact that the terror attacks never occur in a vacuum but is a product of complex interactions that take place between individuals and organizations (Fedorov, 2005).

In this respect, the present report dealt with Terrorism with special reference to Boko Haram sect of Nigeria. Various concepts dealing with domestic and international formats of terrorism have been studied along with methods used by them so as to carry out their attacks. The most important issue that has been identified by the researcher has been with respect to the spread of terrorist related activities in Africa, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb as well as its reach to Northern Province of Nigeria (Malgwi, 2004).The report also dealt with Boko Haram sect which has been regarded as an Arrowhead of domestic form of Islamic terrorism in Nigeria.

For the given research purpose, there has been a usage of interpretevism philosophy so as to help the researcher in getting a varied perceptions given by various authors about terrorism activities happening in the whole world especially Nigeria (Welman, Kruger and Mitchell, 2005). The usage of descriptive research design further helped to generate varied kinds of data and also aided in the production of accurate results. The deductive approach to research helped in the movement from generalized views and theories on terrorism to specific observations about African and Nigerian nations (Azam and Thelen, 2008). Other than this, the procedure of qualitative as well as quantitative methods also helped in the provision of a detailed information towards pertaining issues with respect to terrorism activities.

The next step in this respect has been the data collection via secondary sources so as to act as a major which backbone of research. The most valuable sources of information given by authors and experts aided in the process of obtaining the relevant data which is to be formed a part of research. These have been inclusive of reference articles from online journals, books, newspaper articles etc. (Blessing and Chakrabarti, 2009). These have helped in the provision of quality data regarding the terrorist activities going on in Africa as well as Nigeria on a large scale. The chosen methods can be justified as it is not possible to use primary source of data collection due to lack of feasibility for the same. Ethical considerations as well as research limitations have also been considered that have been faced with respect to given research. In this respect, it has been made sure to make the information available on various governmental sites in Nigeria as being fair and unbiased, so as not to affect the credibility of the report (Henderson and Davis, 2005). The limitations related to time and budget specifications have also been given due consideration to avoid developing any negative impact on the results. All the above mentioned technique has aided in the proper and in depth analysis via usage if thematic analysis. For this purpose the findings have been inferred by conversion of data into relevant themes and describing them so as to help in the development of deep understanding (Berrrman and Laitin, 2008).

Hence, on the basis of findings that have been arrived via thematic data analysis it can be concluded that terrorism is a major problem that has been affecting the entire world by creation of fear, anxiety, loss of human lives as well as damage to the economy (Brzoska, 2009). In this regard, it can also be concluded that terrorists’ activities never carry out an irrational act or attainment of any personal objective. Rather, they are based on achievement of a social or political purpose that usually brings a drastic change in the society as a whole (Ajayi and Abdulkareem, 2010). It is also a well known fact that there has been an increase in the terror acts in the recent years inclusive of the Middle East nations being Iraq and Afghanistan. From these countries the activities have spread their wings to African nations, Nigeria in particular (Fedorov, 2005). The so called terror groups have resorted to usage of several tactics to kill civilians in large numbers via usage of bombings, explosives, firearms, kidnappings, high jacking and shootings (What is terrorism, 2013). With the increased race for creation of nuclear arms between nations, the day is not far when there would be a usage of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons for the same.

From the study on the spread of terrorism to African nations, it can be revealed that the widespread terrorist activities in the continent have been on account of unstable governments, widespread corruption, intense religious differences, lack of proper facilities and socio political instability. This has given a large number of terror groups in the form of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Boko Haram sect and others to flourish in large numbers (Ridley and Alexander, 2012). They have taken an undue advantage of injustice, poverty, overpopulation, frustrations and misery of people. This has acted as a constant source of fuel for the terror groups that has led to their subsequent flourishing (White, 2011). Moreover, Africa also has the presence of Muslims in large numbers who were forced to live a miserable life due to unwanted circumstances of Africa (Aluko and Bagheri, 2012). This has led to the external terror agents like AL Qaida to establish their firm base in the name of Jihad as well as protection of Islam. This ideology has given rise to Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) which is a terrorist organization based in Algeria. Its main aim is to establish an Islamic state by overthrowing the government in power. It also wants to make North Africa getting rid of the present western influences, establishment of fundamentalist regimes which would be based on the principles of Islamic law popularly known as Sharia (Uwazi, 1999).The same ideology has also been followed by Boko Haram which happens to be a Nigerian based terrorist group, literary meaning being Western ways of education are sinful.

These groups have long been discarding the western ways inclusive of beer consumption, watching blue films, privileges on Women, condemning prostitution, homosexuals and lesbians. Other than this there has also been a presence of certain secondary motives as well. It wishes to take revenge from the Nigerian government for carrying out atrocities on Muslims and freeing of imprisoned individuals belonging to the group (Oshanugor, 2004). The study also reveals that the attacks have basically been carried out against the political elite, especially those who have been criticizing the group publicly and have undermined their efficiency. They have thus tried to gain a political leverage by carrying out high level of death and carnage that is likely to break the law and order situation present in Nigeria. One more conclusion can be drawn from the findings that Africa and Nigeria have been on the gunpoint of domestic terrorism since ages but the activities have further been fueled via international terrorism that have sowed further seeds in the already suffering population of Nigeria (Sani, 2008).

Hence, it is the present mixture of domestic as well as international terrorism that has led to widespread problems. The long ranged attacks, killings and bombings have disrupted the overall law and order situation of the nation under study. Most of the civilians have been forced to flee from the homes, children have been orphaned and women have turned into widows due to the terror acts that have been based on petty political and social motives (Akinterinwa, 2002). It has further led to creation of fear, anxiety, depression, helplessness and social isolation for people. In this regard, there is a requirement to understand by people that these acts have been an intense reaction against decades of neglect where the civilians have been ignored by the government with respect to the issues that were faced by them since ages. Hence, the methods to deal with them will not be easy enough as it may seem at first hand.

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Getting Top Grades is No Longer a Dream for You.

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Journals and Books

  • Abadie, A., 2006. Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism. American Economic Review. 96(2). Pp. 50-56.
  • Ajayi, K., and Abdulkareem, H., 2010. Insulating the vaults from the tide of dirty money: are the floodgates secure?. Journal of Money Laundering Control. 13(1). pp.33 – 44.
  • Akinterinwa, B.A., 2002. Nigeria: the crises of legitimacy and survival. Pumark Publishers.
  • Alanamu, A.S., 2005. Issues in Political Violence in Nigeria. Hamson Printing Communications.
  • Aluko, A., and Bagheri, M., 2012. The impact of money laundering on economic and financial stability and on political development in developing countries: The case of Nigeria. Journal of Money Laundering Control. 15 (4). pp.442 – 457.
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