Terrorism and the Dilemmas of Combating the Menace in Nigeria

The world is still at the euphoria over the killing of Osama bin Laden, founder and leader of the most dreaded terrorist group in the world known as “the Al-Qaeda” (The Base). He was alleged to have been killed in an America led operations in Pakistan on May 1, 2011. Consequently, the Taliban, members of the Al-Qaeda and Islamic fundamentalists all over the world including Nigeria threatened for a sweet revenge over his death. The questions are “what will be the future of terrorism in the world? Are we going to have peace now or is terrorism and terrorist activities going to be intensified creating yet more fear and insecurity in a world that is already ravaged by natural disasters? However, in Nigeria, cases of domestic terrorism are on the increase resulting to general insecurity and fear with Nigerian State seemingly helpless in tackling the menace headstrong. Obviously, there is the general view that the Nigerian State is a weak and failed state thereby joining states like Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan and Iraq in this category, and thus seen as states providing havens for terrorist operations. This paper therefore examines the concept of terrorism and the dilemmas facing Nigerian State in combating domestic terrorism. The paper also looks at some of the efforts of government at suppressing terrorism and the reasons those responses are ineffective. This discourse recommends among others: policy reforms, equipping and training of security personnel and harmonization of security operations.

Key Words: Terrorism, dilemma, combating the menace, Nigeria

It is no longer gainsaying that recent events in Nigeria have indicated an emerging security trends in the form of terrorism and terrorist group attacks. It would be recalled that in September 12, 2007, the Australian government issued a travel advisory advising its citizens to re-consider their needs in travelling to Nigeria at this time due to the high threat of terrorist attack, high risk of kidnapping, unprecedented security situation and the heightened risk of violent civil unrest. This was sequel to an earlier warning issued on September 6, 2007 by the US Mission in Lagos to her citizens against travelling to Nigeria due to high risk of terrorist threat and attack against the West (Ojiabor, 2007). At the time of this message, the terrorist activities in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria especially hostage taking, kidnapping and other criminal activities was just assuming an unprecedented rise.

Nigeria lost an estimated and 58.3bn in oil revenue to crisis in the Niger Delta in the last nine years. The chairman, Senate committee on Niger Delta Peace and Conflict Resolution, Senator David Brigidi disclosed (Nwachukwu & Ekwere, 2007). Criminal violence in the Niger Delta degenerated overtime into an irrepressible wave of abductions for ransom, armed robberies, cult wars between gangs and fighting connected to the dangerous trade in stolen crude. Within the period over 200 foreigners were kidnapped in an ex-change for money, fuelling insecurity in the region. Thousands of expatriate workers and their relatives fled the region, abandoning oil production and infrastructural projects in the zone.

Terrorist activities in the form of kidnapping soon gain pre-eminence because it attracted ransoms. The South-East zone became the happening zone. Accordingly, it was reported that “virtually all the kidnappings this year

(July 2010 reporting period), occurred in the South-East and Niger Delta regions, home to African‟s biggest oil and gas industry” (Akasike & Adelekan, 2010:3). It was noted that South-East Abia state had the most incidents with 110 people taken hostage. Total income generated (to the criminals) from the kidnapping enterprise stood at a whopping estimated N10bn so far (Akasike & Adelekan, 2010).
Due to the dangerous nature of kidnapping and terrorism that was being perpetrated in the country and the kind of psychological fear it instilled in the minds of most Nigerians. The Senate President and well meaning Nigerians called for a state of emergency to be declared in the south-east.

According to President Jonathan Goodluck, “the emerging dimension of threat to national security that is rearing its ugly head in our nation must be confronted headlong and defeated. The spate of violent crimes in parts of the country including kidnapping, armed robbery, assassinations etc. are contemporary security challenges facing our nation” (Soriwei & Fidelis, 2010:1). The President went on to say that the unfortunate act of terrorism that was unleashed on the nation on October 1, 2010 is another emerging threat by some unpatriotic and undemocratic elements in the country. He therefore called on the Nigerian Army to be ready to do all within its capability to partner with other security agencies to address the security challenges Since the October 1, 2010 Abuja bomb blasts, Nigeria has been enmeshed in severe internal security crisis occasioned by the emergence of an Islamic Fundamentalist Sect known as Boko Haram.

Thus, the greatest security challenge facing President Goodluck Jonathan‟s administration is the imposing impunity of terrorist activities of the Boko Haram an Islamic fundamentalist based in Northern Nigeria. It is on record that between January 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011 Nigeria has witnessed over fifty cases of bomb blasts across the country with a casualty figure of over 800 people dead and many people injured, talk-less of millions of Naira worth of property destroyed. It was also revealed that there are foreign militias from Somalia, Chad, Sudan and other Islamic countries in Borno state (Ojo, 2011). Boko Haram affront of government has an underlying latent functions which has made government seem weak in tackling the menace. Table 1 below shows some instances of cases and casualty figures resulting from Domestic terrorism. The data does not include terrorist attacks of 2012. It is important to note that most of the attacks were carried out by Boko Haram. The Human Right Watch Report on Nigeria in January 2012 estimated the number of death lost in Nigeria as a result of Boko Haram terrorist activities between 2009 and 2011 at 935 (cited in Laden, 2012). There has been more death caused by Boko Haram bomb attacks across Northern States from January 1, 2012 to November 18, 2012.

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Ugwu, A. (2018). Terrorism and the Dilemmas of Combating the Menace in Nigeria. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/terrorism-and-the-dilemmas-of-combating-the-menace-in-nigeria-9024

MLA 8th

Ugwu, Anderson "Terrorism and the Dilemmas of Combating the Menace in Nigeria" Afribary. Afribary, 29 Jan. 2018, https://afribary.com/works/terrorism-and-the-dilemmas-of-combating-the-menace-in-nigeria-9024. Accessed 24 May. 2024.


Ugwu, Anderson . "Terrorism and the Dilemmas of Combating the Menace in Nigeria". Afribary, Afribary, 29 Jan. 2018. Web. 24 May. 2024. < https://afribary.com/works/terrorism-and-the-dilemmas-of-combating-the-menace-in-nigeria-9024 >.


Ugwu, Anderson . "Terrorism and the Dilemmas of Combating the Menace in Nigeria" Afribary (2018). Accessed May 24, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/terrorism-and-the-dilemmas-of-combating-the-menace-in-nigeria-9024

Document Details
Field: Sociology Type: Paper 8 PAGES (5401 WORDS) (pdf)