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The issue of terrorism has attracted global attention. In Nigeria in
particular, the terrorist abduction of over 276 Chibok school girls attracted
the highest global attention. Hence, this study was set to examine
newspaper coverage of the abducted Chibok school girls. It analyzed the
content of four Nigerian newspapers: The Guardian, Daily Sun, Daily
Trust and Leadership newspapers in their coverage of abducted Chibok
school girls in Borno state from April 2014 to September 2014. The
researcher systematically selected a sample size of 224 editions of the four
newspapers for six months to generate data for the study. 79 editions out
of the sample do not have stories on Chibok girls while 145 editions of the
total sample yielded 374 stories on Chibok girls which were analyzed. The
major findings are that Nigerian newspapers down played the coverage of
issues about Chibok girl’s abduction. The Nigerian newspaper coverage of
the Chibok girl’s abduction suffered lack of in-depth and interpretative
analysis. The findings showed that the volume of coverage was poor. The
published materials were not given prominence by virtue of their
placement or position in the newspapers as over 78.6% of them were
placed in the inside pages of the newspaper. It was concluded that there
was much of quantitative coverage than qualitative coverage because of
the high disparity between the numbers of straight news items to
interpretative news items. It was recommended that newspaper coverage
of terrorism like Chibok girl’s abduction should be investigative and
interpretative journalism-driven instead of mere reportage of straight news
stories which doesn’t add much in the fight against terrorism and general
information and education of the public.



Title page —————————————————————————————— i
Certification ————————————————————————————— ii
Dedication —————————————————————————————– iii
Acknowledgment———————————————————————————- iv
Table of contents ——————————————————————————— v
List of tables ————————————————————————————— vi
Abstract —————————————————————————————— vii
1.1 Background to the Study —————————————————————— 1
1.2 Statement of Problem ———————————————————————- 4
1.3 Objectives of the Study ——————————————————————– 5
1.4 Research Questions————————————————————————- 5
1.5 Significance of the Study—————————————————————— 6
1.6 Scope of the Study————————————————————————– 6
1.7 Definition of Terms ———————————————————————— 7
Reference ————————————————————————————- 8
2.1 Focus of Review —————————————————————————- 10
2.2 Terrorism————————————————————————————– 10
2.3 Terrorism and the Mass Media ———————————————————– 12
2.4 The symbiosis between Terrorism and Mass Media ——————————— 15
2.5 Boko Haram and Terrorism in Nigeria ————————————————– 21
2.6 Boko Haram Attacks on Educational Institutions in Nigeria ———————— 25
2.7 Mass Media and Strategic Communication against Terrorism———————- 31
2.8 Theoretical Framework ——————————————————————– 33
Reference ———————————————————————————— 39
3.1 Research Design —————————————————————————- 43
3.2 Population of the Study——————————————————————– 44
3.3 Sample Size ———————————————————————————- 45
3.4 Sampling Technique———————————————————————— 47
3.5 Instruments for Data Collection———————————————————- 47
3.6 Unit of Analysis—————————————————————————– 48
3.7 Validity of the Instrument —————————————————————– 51
3.8 Reliability of the Instrument ————————————————————– 51
3.9 Limitations of the Methodology ——————————————————— 53
Reference ————————————————————————————- 54
4.1 Description of the sample —————————————————————– 55
4.2 Data Presentation and Analysis ———————————————————- 56
4.3 Discussion of Findings ——————————————————————– 69
Reference ———————————————————————————— 74
5.1 Summary and Findings ——————————————————————– 75
5.2 Conclusion ———————————————————————————– 75
5.3 Recommendation ————————————————————————— 76
Bibliography ——————————————————————————– 78
Appendix 1———————————————————————————— 84
Appendix 2———————————————————————————— 85




1.1 Background to the Study
Different parts of the world are today enmeshed in one form of violent crime or the other.
These crimes take one or combine the following forms namely armed robbery, drug trafficking,
kidnapping/abductions, assassinations, bank raiding, militancy and terrorism. However, among
these violent crimes, terrorism is that which commonly employ the use of others to attain its
objectives. Terrorism as a result generates more concern among the common people who are
always at the receiving end of the deadly attacks perpetuated by the terrorist. It also generates so
much concern because it is one crime that even the most powerful country/countries in the world
are still struggling to contain in their own territories.
Eze, (2011) concurred that the greatest danger facing the world today is terrorism.
Virtually no nation is safe from terrorist activities. Terrorism has come to represent the only
option for individuals or groups to vent their anger or seek recognition. In fact, terrorism has
been dubbed the “poor man’s warfare”, and often times, terrorism often lack a “return address”.
According to Dershowhz (2002), terrorism is often rationalized as a valid response to its
“root causes” – mainly repression and desperation. Global terrorism and precisely Nigerian
terrorism is thus a phenomenon largely of our own making. In Nigeria, acts of terrorism have
been on the increase thereby prompting the national assembly to pass the Anti-Terrorism Bill in
2011. The Independence Day bombing of 2010, the Police headquarter suicide bombing in
Abuja, the United Nations building suicide bombing… and lately, the monumental abduction of
Chibok school girls marked the zenith of these acts of terrorism in Nigeria.
Evidently, terrorism as a concept seems to provide a brief prelude to this background
because of the fact that the mainstay of this study which is the abduction of the Chibok
schoolgirls is essentially a fallout of the about five years of Boko Haram’s terrorism onslaught
on the Nigerian state. As a common phenomenon today across different part of the world in
general, and Nigeria in particular, terrorism as perpetuated especially in the North eastern part of
Nigeria since 2009 by the dreaded Islamic militant group originally known as Jama’atu Ahlis
Sunna Lidda’awatiWal-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings
and Jihad dubbed Boko Haram by natives), came to a climax on the fateful midnight hours of
April 14th, 2014 when over 276 female students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok,
were abducted by Boko Haram gunmen and taken to an unknown destination. Chibok, a local
government area headquarters, is situated west of the dreaded Sambisa forest and 114 kilometres
south of Maidugiri, the Bornu State capital.(Daily Sun, April 19, 2014, p.11).
Since 2010, Boko Haram has targeted schools, killing hundreds of students. They had
always insisted that such attacks would continue as long as the Nigerian government continued
to interfere with traditional Islamic education. Some thousands of students are already out of
school as a result of the activities of the Boko Haram. Notable among these deadly school attacks
was the July 2013 Yobe School shooting, Gujba college massacre and the climax which is the
Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping.
Apparently, this particular act of terror – the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls by the
Boko Haram insurgence, happened less than 24 hours after the gory Nyanya bomb explosion for
which the group also claimed responsibility. The proximity in timing between the Nyanya bomb
explosion which claimed dozens of innocent lives and the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls
like never before drew national and global attention to the fact that the Boko Haram Islamic
militancy is another Al-Qaeda in Africa.
It is however important to note that within 48 hours of the abduction of the Chibok
schoolgirls, both local and international media started reporting the incident. Virtually, major
Nigerian newspapers and electronic media outfits started churning out the news of the abducted
schoolgirls. International media organizations like CNN, BBC, CCTV, AL JAZEERA, and other
global news agencies like Reuters, AFP, AP etc were all with one news framing of the abduction
of the Chibok school girls or the other.
The various reports at the onset were that there were 530 students registered from
multiple villages for the senior school certificate examinations in the school. The children were
said to be between the ages of 16 to 18. Initial reports said that 85 students were kidnapped in the
attack. By 19-20th of April, the military released a statement that said more 100 of the 129
abducted girls had been released. However, the statement was retracted, and on 21 April, parents
and the school authority said 234 girls were missing and that a number of the students escaped
the kidnappers in two groups. The Police later confirmed that 276 children were taken in the
attack of which 53 had escaped on May 2nd 2014.
On May 4, 2014 President Goodluck Jonathan spoke publicly about the kidnapping for
the first time, saying that the government is doing everything it could to find the missing girls. At
the same time, he blamed parents for not supplying enough information about their missing
children to the police.
On May 5, 2014 it was widely reported in local and international media, a video in which
Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of the Chibok
schoolgirls. Shekau claimed that “Allah instructed me to sell them… I will carry out his
instructions”. He said the girls should not have been in school and instead they should be married
since girls as young as nine are suitable for marriage.
On May 26, 2014, the media reported that the Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief
Marshall Alex Badeh announced that the Nigerian security forces had located the kidnapped
girls, but ruled out a forceful rescue attempt for fears of collateral damage. Several reports and
counter reports have continued unabated.
According to Onuoha (2011), the threat posed by kidnapping to human or national
security has become a source of growing security concern to states mostly affected by the
scourge as well as the international community. He further noted that the efforts of the
international community to seek international understanding and cooperation against kidnapping
and other transnational organized crimes led to the adoption of The International Convention for
the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance by the United Nations in 2006. The
Chibok School girls kidnapping has shown the latest grave threat posed by the crime.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Considering the wide attention attracted locally and internationally by the abduction of
Chibok school girls in Borno State of Nigeria on the 14th day of April, 2014, the reaction and
counter-reaction from different quarters has been adjudge newsworthy enough to warrant
adequate coverage by the Nigerian press – newspapers. There are divergent views on the
coverage of the Chibok girl’s abduction by the Nigerian press. In various quarters, the Nigerian
press has been criticized of biased and out of context coverage of crisis. Some criticize the
Nigerian press for outlandish editorial focus (Afghanistanism).
The problem therefore is the loud complaints that the Nigerian journalists give conflicting
information on issues concerning crisis situation. Some argue that the coverage differ from one
newspaper to the other. What is reported in the media about an individual, an organization, a
government, a community, or the country is taken with a note of seriousness by the masses.
It is against this backdrop that this study sought to examine the content of six months
coverage of the Chibok school girls’ abduction by Nigerian newspapers – press. Therefore, the
content analytical study of The Guardian, Daily Sun, Daily Trust and Leadership newspapers
from April 2014 to September 2014 constitute the mandate of this study.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
· Primary objective
This study is primarily aimed at analyzing the six months manifest content of the selected
newspapers on their coverage of Chibok girl’s abduction from April 2014 to September 2014.
· Specific objective
1. To find out the volume of coverage of the Chibok School girls abduction.
2. To ascertain the kinds of items the newspapers covered on the Chibok girl’s abduction.
3. To find out the sources of the newspapers coverage of the Chibok girls abduction.
4. To determine whether prominence is given to the Chibok girl’s abduction in the four
newspapers under study.
5. To compare The Guardian, Daily Sun, Daily Trust and Leadership newspapers in terms
of volume of coverage, story genre and position of stories.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:
1. What is the volume of coverage of the Chibok girls’ abduction in The Guardian, Daily Sun,
Daily Trust and Leadership newspapers?
2. What kinds of items on the Chibok girls’ abduction appeared in the newspapers?
3. What are the sources of the newspapers coverage of the Chibok girls’ abduction?
4. Are the published materials given prominence in the four newspapers under study?
5. Comparatively, how does the coverage of the Chibok girls’ abduction differ from The
Guardian, Daily Sun, Daily Trust and Leadership newspapers in terms of volume of
coverage, story genre and position of stories?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The fundamental importance of this work will definitely not be underestimated. The study will
surely be of salient relevance to the reader whom it would enable to know the role of the press
in crisis situations. Hopefully, this study will while developing the body of knowledge in this
area which is still a contemporary one, will definitely help the reader to know the quality and
quantity of coverage given to the Chibok school girls’ abduction saga by the Nigerian press.
To the practicing journalist too, this work will without doubt have enormous benefit on how to
cover and report crisis, civil disturbances and wars of different dimension(s) like the latest
guerrilla tactics adopted by the Boko Haram insurgence in Nigeria’s North-East. More so, the
study will provide a good reference material for people who shall be researching on the
newspaper coverage of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls in the future.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study covered the Nigerian newspaper/press coverage of the abducted Chibok school girls
by the Boko Haram terrorist group on the 14th of April, 2014. The study traced the quantitative
and qualitative elements of news feature, editorials, letters and opinion articles, pictures and
cartoons as reported in The Guardian, Daily Sun, Daily Trust and Leadership newspapers from
April 2014 to September 2014. Also done by the study is the measurement of the content of the
four daily newspapers and their extent of coverage, and equally presents the results in the tables
and charts.
1.7 Definition of Terms
· Abduction: Oxford Advance Learners Dictionary of Current English (8th Ed.) defined
abduction as the act of taking somebody away illegally, especially using force. The
synonym given to it is kidnapping. Hence, both abduction and kidnapping were
interchangeably used in the study to mean the same thing.
· Chibok Schoolgirls: The female schoolgirls abducted on the April 14, 2014, by Boko
Haram gunmen from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Chibok local
government area, 114 kilometres away south of Maidugiri, Bornu State, Nigeria.
· Newspapers: Newspapers according to Encyclopedia Britanica (2008, p.16), are
“publications usually issued on a daily or weekly basis”. In his definition, Agba (2001,
p.37) emphasized that, “when we talk of newspapers, we are referring to a broad range of
publications from the huge metropolitan dailies to the small provincial papers”.
· Newspaper Coverage: This is also referred to as press coverage. According to Okigbo
(1987, p.23) in his work ‘The news flow controversy: Professional Journalists’
evaluation of news imbalance’, “press coverage is the art of gathering, collecting,
processing, recording, and disseminating news and information through the process of
mass communication which includes newspapers, magazines, radio and television”.
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