AN ASSESSMENT OF THE SECURITY MANAGEMENT IN NIGERIA: THE BOKO HARAM CHALLENGE
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
It is a common knowledge that Nigeria since her return to civil rule in 1999 faces some national security challenges across the six geo-political zones in the country. The spate of bomb blasts, kidnapping, pipeline vandalism and other forms of criminalities in recent times in various parts of the country are emerging trends of domestic terrorism. In fact, the high rate of kidnappings, armed robbery and political assassinations, are added dimensions to the security challenges, which are stretching the nation to its limits, sometimes constitute a great threat to the very fabric of its existence. (Abimbola and Adesote 2012) A number of analysts have variously attributed the disturbing trend to political dissatisfaction, ethnic and religious differences, perceived societal neglect and pervasive poverty among the people. However, the outbreak of Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria marked yet another phase in the recurring pattern that violent uprising, riots and disturbances have become in Nigeria. Given the heterogeneous nature of the Nigerian society, the religious sensitivity of Nigerians, and the prolonged military rule that ended with the advent of civil rule in 1999, the situation could perhaps not have been different. But what is alarming is the forceful attempt by religious fundamentalist to impose a religious ideology on a constitutionally recognized secular society (Nwogu 2012:43). Boko Haram poses an enormous and complex threat to national security and not only has it been inimical to human security, economic development and political stability, it has also portends harmful ramifications for the corporate existence of Nigeria. Thus, it could be argued that it is the governments’ inability to efficiently address poverty and unemployment and other social malaise inimical to the good life that have combined to create an environment in which religious sects like the Boko Haram flourished. Some cases, the situations had gotten worse. There is massive poverty; lack of access to educational opportunities, unemployment and ignorance due to limited educational opportunities; and government corruption, including misuse of resources, by which the people were repulsed. (Usman 1987, Ale 2009) In this direction, the maintenance of law and order in Nigeria has been very challenging to the extent that the ability to manage internal security by security agencies is being doubted by the citizenry. The government which is constitutionally charged to provide security and ensure the welfare of all persons within the polity has although, taken some steps to address these emerging trends of violence and suicide bombings that pose major challenges to security in Nigeria but these efforts have not proven effective. Security is said to mean the quality or state of being secured. It implies freedom from danger, freedom from fear or anxiety and freedom from the prospect of being laid off. Security from these perspective is holistic and encapsulates the total well being of a person in persons (Nwogu 2012) It is against this background that this research is anchored to investigate the origin, ideology and activities of the dreaded Boko Haram sect and its effects on the management of security in Nigeria. The research will also examine the response of the Nigeria government to the threat posed by Boko Haram with a view to suggest possible solutions/strategies to address the scourge.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Currently, the issue of Boko Haram cannot be over-looked, particularly as it has become one of the greatest threats to government in Nigeria. The activities of the group threaten the fabrics of Nigeria and are capable of disintegrating the country. It is pertinent to state that Boko Haram has taken a new dimension and has continued to improve on the methods of attacking their targets. It has advanced from the stages of assassination, gunpowder plot to that of bomb-planting explosive attacks, suicide bombing, sporadic shooting in busy areas, including schools, supermarkets, religious places and more recently kidnapping e.g. the kidnap incident of the Chibok school girls that attracted the attention of the international community. Nwogu (2012:43) observed that Boko Haram has grown from an issue of local nuisance to a frontier of international terror. Its heady rise to international terror group status has been marked by unabated audacious and brutal terror attacks that have shaken the country to her roots. More so, Boko Haram poses enormous and complex threat to the management of national security in Nigeria, which is a major challenge to human security and economic development. Akinferinwa (2011:109) pointed out that Boko Haram is undoubtedly one of the problems in Nigeria. He noted that it is a major component part of the problem. And also stated that, Boko Haramists do play the role of a catalytic agent in the worsening of one Nigeria’s main problems; national unity. From this viewpoint, it can be seen that Boko Haram is a serious challenge to security in Nigeria, thus, this research is focused to examine the extent of threat by Boko Haram with a view to propose comprehensive framework to address the problem.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of the research is to take a critical look at the challenges posed by Boko Haram to the management of security in Nigeria and to explain its effect on the development of Nigeria. Therefore, in summary, the research is aimed at the following objectives.
1. To attempt a critical study on the origin, ideology and activities of Boko Haram.
2. To examine the extent at which Boko Haram has affected the security situation in Nigeria.
3. To explore how Boko Haram terrors has impacted on Nigeria, politically, economically, socially and otherwise.
4. To reveal the response of the Nigeria state to the challenges posed by Boko Haram.
5. To recommend strategies and policies that may be possible solutions to address the Boko Haram challenge.
1. Was it poverty and illiteracy that resulted in the formation of Boko Haram?
2. To what extent has Boko Haram worsened the security situation in Nigeria?
3. How has Boko Haram terror affected Nigeria politically, socially, economically and otherwise?
4. In what ways has the Nigerian government responded to the Boko Haram threats?
5. What are the possible strategies to tackle the scourge of Boko Haram?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
In recent times, many scholars and commentators have written and commented elaborately on the insecurity situation of the country, particularly, arising from terrorism. However, this study focuses squarely on the Boko Haram phenomenon and management of security in Nigeria. This will help in understanding the activities of the terror group and explore steps to address its menace. The study is also significant because it will contribute to existing literature on terrorism, especially on Boko Haram and the issue of security, which will further encourage research into this area.