ASSESSMENT OF GOVERNMENT’S COUNTER-TERRORISM STRATEGY IN NIGERIA’S INTERNAL SECURITY (2009 – 2013)
The research is an assessment of government‟s counter terrorism strategy in Nigeria‟s internal security between 2009-2013. Apart from the challenges of poverty, unemployment, sectarian crisis, economic and political crisis, as well as the Niger Delta Militancy, Nigeria is currently facing a deeper and profound challenge of terrorism, especially at the North-East of the country. The list of these disheartening phenomena includes but not limited to kidnapping, bombing and sporadic attack by gun men at several churches, mosques, public places, police stations, schools and prisons at Bauchi, Bornu, Yobe and Adamawa States. Other parts of the country that were not spared are the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Plateau, Kaduna and Kano States.
Government‟s attempt to adopt the strategy used in curtailing militancy in the Niger Delta failed in the present situation. It is against this backdrop that the study assesses Government counter-terrorism strategy in Nigeria‟s internal security. It seeks to find out the causes of terrorism,
Nigerian Government counter terrorism strategies, performance of Government counter terrorism strategies, challenges of Government counter terrorism and possible solutions to the challenges of terrorism. Relevant and related literature were reviewed using conceptual, thematic and theoretical approaches. Public policy and Neo-realist theoretical framework were adopted to explain the phenomenon. Data was generated from informants knowledgeable about the research topic and strengthened with secondary data from Library materials, newspapers, journals and articles. The findings revealed that the strategy used in curtailing militancy in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria failed to tackle terrorism at the North East region because of the international dimension to terrorism and its religious connotation. The research further revealed that Government strategies failed because Government did not address socio-economic factors that created veritable ground for terrorism, such as unemployment, poverty, corruption and poor economy. The research concluded by recommending the adoption of a strategy which will focus on deradicalization and the introduction of effective psychological reinforcement measures that would deter terrorists from engaging in the act, just as the fear of the impact of the Atomic bomb in Japan ended the Second War World. The research also recommends that Government should focus on good governance, job creation and employment opportunities, poverty alleviation, welfare and provision of modern equipment for the military and other security Agents, as well as effective border patrol.
1.1 Background to the study
Since the return to democratic rule in 1999, Nigeria has witnessed series of ethno- religious and resource-based violence that have taken terror dimension and threatened its internal security.
Terrorism, either international or domestic has heightened insecurity in Nigeria. While the country was still grappling with the challenges posed by such crimes as armed robbery, murder, kidnapping and assassination, among others, then came the advent of domestic terrorism. Terrorism took a new dimension in Nigeria with the activities of terrorist groups like the
Jama’atul ahlul Sunna Lidda’awa Wal Jihad, which means “Brethren of Sunni United in thePursuit of Holy War” popularly referred to as the Boko Haram, meaning ‘Western Education is forbidden’ and Jama’atu Ansarul Musilimina Fi Biladis Sudan (ANSARU) especially when they became affiliated to some notable international terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda, Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb and Al-Shaabab. They now attack with more precision, usually more devastating and rampant. This link also led to the introduction of suicide bombing, use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), deployment of highly sophisticated weapons and modern fighting equipment which are strange to the Nigerian military and security agents.
As a result of this development, since 2009, Nigeria‟s counterterrorism operations has been at a crossroad, largely due to some of the issues raised above but most importantly because policy debates on whether or not, to adopt a counter terrorism strategy in Nigeria has continued to drive.