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PROJECT TOPIC AND MATERIAL ON TERRORISM AND POLITICAL STABILITY IN AFRICA (A CASE STUDY OF THE BOKO HARAM INSURGENCY)
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- Name: TERRORISM AND POLITICAL STABILITY IN AFRICA (A CASE STUDY OF THE BOKO HARAM INSURGENCY)
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Background to the Study
The threat of ‘terrorism’ is not peculiar to western countries alone, its tentacles are spreading fast like wild fire ready to consume any object or person in its way. Terrorism is an illegitimate means of attempting to effect political change by the indiscriminate use of violence (Lodge 1988:5). Also, Madunagu (2001:51) maintains that terrorism is the use of violence to achieve political objectives. The bottom line of the above definition is that terrorism is an aspect of political violence. Since September 11, 2001 multiple attacks on the Twin Tower of the World Trade Centre and Pentagon in the United States of America, terrorism has become a household discussion in the world. Over the years, terrorism has rocked almost every continent in the world. In fact it has grown to become a global trend. Africa which is one of continents in the world, is not spared from this issue of terrorism. The issue of terrorism in Africa is now most closely associated with Al-Shabab in Somalia, Al-Qaeda in the islamic Maghreb in Sahel region ( including Algeria, Mali, Mauritania , and Niger ), Boko Haram in Nigeria , and to a lesser extent the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa (Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan ).
The transition from over three decades of military rule into a democratic rule in Nigeria was borne out of hardship both politically and economically. The institutionalization of democratic rule in Nigeria and the inabilities of political leaders to address key developmental problems increased the proportion of criminal activities such as kidnapping and vandalization of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region. This led to the establishment of ethnic militias with the aim of protecting their regional and cultural identities.
The frequent Boko Haram insurgences in the North-Eastern part of the country is still the latest act of terrorism in the country. The tactics, strategies and mode of operations adopted by these terrorists are similar and professional in line with terrorist ideologies and practices found elsewhere around the world. The ugly phenomenon of terrorism has dented the image and credibility Nigeria among other nations of the world.
The attack on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 by a terrorist group known as Al-Qaeda re-awakened the world to the threat posed by the phenomenon to international peace and security. It also renewed the interests of stakeholders in fighting terrorism anywhere it could be found in the world. However, fighting terrorism is no tea party because it entails a lot of financial commitments. Though it appears that it is only the great powers that are confronted with the threat of terrorist attacks and have sufficient resources to fight it, the spate of attacks in Kenya, Tanzania and Somalia in the early part of the decade; coupled with growing activities of pirates in the African high sea illustrates the threat posed by terrorism to African countries.
This situation has been compounded by Nigeria’s litany of bad governance and economic disarticulation, leading to conflicts, war and proliferation of criminal groups in several parts of the continent. Unfortunately, most African countries do not possess the resources and required technology to individually fight terrorism. Terrorism is a term that has no generally accepted definition , The 1937 Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism defines terrorism as “all criminal acts directed against a state and intended or calculated to create state of terror in the minds of particular persons or a group of persons or the general public” (Duffy, 2006: 17). Terrorism is often employed to achieve political ends, even when it also evinces other motives, such as religious, economic, ethnic or social. But while all terrorism has a political purpose, there are technical and moral dissimilarities, civil dissidence, and other forms of civil violence, or revolution, which are also political phenomena in themselves (Harmon, 2000:1).
Between 1999 and 2006 alone, 6,177 casualties were recorded from 296 acts of terrorism in Africa (Goredema and Botha, 2005: 51). In addition to this, pirates in the Gulf of Aden, off the Coast of Somalia carried out 73 attacks on ship, and were still holding on to 11 people as at October 2008 (The Guardian, 2008:11). War and weak governance in several parts of Africa provided the fertile land for criminal networks to germinate and these networks have proved themselves ready to collaborate with terrorists in order to undermine security in Africa. Terrorism has the brightest chances of blossoming in Africa in the next decades due to its multifarious “ungoverned spaces”, unresolved “national questions” and bad governance which are the root of political instability, the question of non-transparent resource management, political selection rather than election and a host of other factors.
Statement of the Problem
Terrorism is by its nature an organized and planned event or policy. It is not unplanned, although random events may obviously terrorise. Terrorist targets may be developed over time and reflect the premeditation of terrorism, but the common denominator remains the intimidation of a particular target community or undermining/damage of a particular economic-political system. What makes terrorism so fearsome is that attacks are often directed at a group, people or symbol that may not be directly linked to their real target, often a government, system, practice or ideology. Terrorism is a threat all peace loving people.
The emergence of Nigeria as a sovereign state in 1960 was relatively peaceful in spite of the internal centrifugal and centripetal forces induced by the ethnic incongruence of the amalgams made to form the nation. The forces, though latent, have since retarded the advancement of Nigeria into an appreciable Nationhood. Hence, since independence, the tremor of possible disintegration has always remained. The failure to suppress it led to the Nigerian civil war of 1967-1970 (Kolawole, 1978: 1). It was assumed, though erroneously, that having survived the civil war, Nigeria had built-in mechanism that would make her survive all threats to nationhood, although recent developments have not validated such assumption. Indeed, such developments have shown the artificiality and fragility of the present arrangement. Terrorism was seen by Nigeria until of late as a distant irritant plaguing some areas of the international system. It is an irony of history that over sixty years after independence from British rule, ethnic nationalities treat the Union like a piece of glass cup that must be delicately held, otherwise it would break.
Much of the worries of the average Nigerian these days are often centered on the means of survival, as poverty, unemployment and other basic needs of life. It becomes more of an issue as the safety and life. The activities of the Boko-Haram sect have cost the nation a great deal, the Boko Haram group is bent on forcing the Nigerian state to dance to its own tune, yet the diversity of the Nigerian state is not concomitant with such principle, given the fact that every Nigerian citizen has his or her right vested in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The emergence of the Boko Haram group has no doubt bedeviled and usurped the delicate balance of the Nigerian state. It has created more issue that has revoked the polity as cleavages continue to appear. The victims of the terror waged on the Nigerian society by the Boko Haram group are still counting their loss (the only few ones alive to tell the story). Boko Haram has destroyed life and property in Nigeria. The bombing of the United Nations building in Abuja in 2011 opened the eye of the international community about the intention of the sect.
Ever since the Abuja bombing, countries like U.S.A, Britain, France etc has warned their citizens about travelling to Nigeria. This has given Nigeria an international tag as a terrorist nation which eventually has reduced her foreign investment and also killed the tourism sector of the country. The Boko Haram activity has displaced over a million Nigerian citizens and their activities are still ongoing even as this paper is being written. There is a controversy over objective of the sect. In other words, the unresolved question is “ is the sect a religious group fighting for the Islamization of Nigeria or is it a tribal or ethnic group fighting for the domination of the other groups or tribes? Though the activities of the Boko Haram are still restricted to most Northern part of the country , the other part like the South South, South West , South East are gripped in fear of being attacked any time. The attack of the group has been mainly set towards schools and place of worship like church and recently the Kano mosque bombing.
The education sector in the not too literate Northern part of the country has been in a waterloo. There has been fear of going to school and receiving western education which incidentally is what the sect wishes to achieve –preventing the Northern part from receiving western education. On the night of 14/15 of April 2014 the Boko Haram group kidnapped over 300 secondary school girls in Chibok in Borno State. This action has taken to the wild the activities of the group , making the US president Barack Obama and so many great leaders and pop stars condemned the action. The United States Army wanted to get involved in rescuing the girls but due to logistics problems, it was unable. So far, there has been no success to retrieve the girls till date. The recent young girls, suicide bomber have been greatly linked to the kidnapped girls in April 2014. The Boko Haram sect has created so many problems for the West African nation. Most of the activities of the sect are notably related to other terrorist group activities, bombing of the United Nations office, kidnapping, bombing of Parks, Schools, Markets etc. The above are well known activities of terror groups. Overtime, the group has attacked villages, killed people and destroyed properties, especially the North-Eastern part of the country which has in recent time been the hiding and harboring home for the groups.
The 2015 general election in Nigeria was recently postponed due to the claim of insecurity in the country , the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman , Professor Attahiru Jega claimed that the general election is meant to make sure everyone in every region is allowed to vote , but due to the insecurity in the North-Eastern part of the country and the claim of the Nigerian Army of not being able to guarantee security during the election, it was eventually postponed from its February 14, 2015 date to March 28 2015. It was a shock to the general public, even the international observers were confused on the justification of the election postponement. This is a clear indication of how the insurgency is disrupting the political stability in the country.
The Boko Haram has also made the Nigerian Military and Armed Forces look toothless because it appears as if all the counter terrorism effort of the military has failed in ending the menace. The Boko Haram group has jail broken over 2000 inmates, attacking prison facilities and police stations. By so doing, its membership has been growing, and the inability of the Nigerian military to end the insurgency has led to the questioning of the ability of the Armed Forces. The activities of the sect has increased the awareness of insecurity in the country, which has forced many citizens to seek asylum in other countries. Boko Haram has killed more than five thousand Nigerians and displaced hundreds of families and villages. It has also destroyed properties. To a large extent the sect has affected negatively the citizens and the country as a whole. All these and more will be discussed in this study.
Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study are:
One, to examine good governance and collective security as the best strategy to combat terrorism in West Africa.
Two, to examine the typology and relationship between Boko Haram group and other terrorist groups across the globe.
Three, to clarify the controversial categorization of the group as either being a religious group, a tribal group or a political tool.
Four, to analyze the effort of the Nigerian government towards curbing the activities of the group.
This study sets out to test the following assumptions:
One, that good governance and collective security remains the best strategy to combat terrorism.
Two, that there is a link between the Boko Haram sect and other terrorist groups.
Three, that the Boko Haram group is either tribal group, religious group or political tool.
Four, that counter-terrorism can end the reign of terrorism in the Nigeria state.
Justification for the Study
This study is justified to the extent that,
One, Boko Haram has dent the image of the country at the international community as a terrorist state.
Two, Boko Haram has caused major disaffection between the Muslims and Christians in the country.
Three, lives and properties worth several millions of Naira have been wasted to the unabated Boko Haram insurgency.
Four, the study is also justified to the extent that the activities of the Boko Haram sect has been threatening the Nigerian democratic stability.
Five, the activities of the Boko Haram sect has successfully militarized the youth in the North-Eastern region and caused a psychological trauma to those that are affected by sect’s activities.
Definition of Terms
The definition of terms will give a pictorial description of the terms used in the research for the purpose of giving the reader a proper understanding of the intention and reasoning of the researcher. Some of the basic terms are:
Africa: Is the world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent. It covers six percent of the Earth’s total surface area and 20.4 percent of the total land area. With 1.1 billion people as of 2013 (m.wikipedia.com/Africa Retrieved on 08/03/2015). Africa accounts for about 15 percent of the world’s human population. , its population has over 50 percent as youth and over 45 percent of this youth are jobless. Africa is engulfed in immense poverty, political instability, drought, international debts, disease and most of the countries in it are underdeveloped. That terrorism is presently at its peak in Africa, with so much jobless youth , and a vast proportion of land it is obvious that the phenomena has a place to stay in Africa . Africa is according to Frantz Fanon in the book The Wretched of the Half, most territorial diversification today was engineered by European influence through colonialism after the end of slavery. It is assumed that the pathway of initiating Africa into the international system is part of the reason for the so much backwardness of the continent. Violence and struggle were used to achieve independence of most African regions from colonialism
Terrorism: Terrorism is an illegitimate means of attempting to effect political change by the indiscriminate use of violence (Lodge 1988:5). Also Madunagu (2001: 51) maintains that terrorism is the use of violence to achieve political objectives. The bottom line of the above definition is that terrorism is an aspect of political violence. In this research, terrorism will be related with terror activities and these activities ranges from bombings, killings, destruction of property to kidnapping. Terrorism will be restricted to the activities of Boko Haram and other terror groups relevant to the discussion.
Boko Haram: Boko Haram is the Hausa equivalent for the Muslim sect called Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad, which, in English, means “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad.” “Boko” is the word for “Western education” while “Haram” stands for “sin”. The equivalent, therefore, means “Western education is a sin”, and is a shorthand for the sect’s religious ideology, which is opposed to Western civilization and its institutions.
Islamization: Is the process whereby a society shifts towards Islam, such as found in Sudan, Pakistan, Iran, Malaysia or Algeria. In contemporary usage, it may refer to the perceived imposition of an Islamist social and political system on a society with an indigenously different social and political background. Islamization over the years has been used in different parts of the world, some with forced conversion, political revolution and societal acceptability (Charles 1996:19). Islamization is an Islamic measure that involves the totality of Islam; it extends from individuals belief to families, groups, societies, states and regions. It involves the use of Sharia Laws and Islamic teaching to run both the social and political affairs and using the words of the Holy Book Al-Qur’an in place of the constitution to administer the state or territory. Most countries and areas like Egypt, Kuwait, Gaza, Pakistan, Syria, Sudan, Iran etc has been Islamized in one way or the other, either through use of force or political willingness. Islamization over the years has been adopted by most terror groups as an objective. The Boko Haram sect has adopted the Islamization of Nigeria as its aim and has over the years been intending to make Islamic laws a dominant law in Nigeria especially in the Northern region of the country.
Political Stability: Political stability is well understood as governance with peace and lack of violence. It is the durability and integrity of a current government regime. Political stability is well measured based on the amount and level of violence which are related to political issue, ethnic/tribal or interest agents. In this study, political stability will be seen as a possibility of a society without violence; These violence can be widely related to terror act, destruction of government properties and chaos within the system. Even though the concept of political stability does not really exist in Africa due to the historical antecedents of Africa, at some point or the other, this concept was assumed to be achieved in different parts of Africa, but the emergence of terrorism has disrupted the political stability in Africa.
Political Instability: Political instability connotes the direct opposite of what political stability means from the negative sound of it (instability). Political instability involves having demonstrations in form of violence, workers’ going on strike or the possibility of a coup d’état. It means a government or polity with no much of stability; it is a society with so much violence. In this study, political stability will be well related with violence erupting from terrorist activities in the Nigeria.
Research methodology is concerned with both the detailed research methods through which data are collected and more general philosophies upon which the collection and analysis of data are based (Haralambos and Holborn, 2000: 999). It is a set of rules that allow the researcher to conceptualize and observe the problem under study. For the purpose of achieving the afore-stated objectives, this study will fundamentally assume a descriptive, evaluative, analytical and critical form. Therefore, the study will employ a combination of methodologies. Data will be collected from primary and secondary sources, and such data gathering techniques as library research and internet browsing will be used. Questionnaires will be administered among collection of security officers, victims and people that have experienced the insurgence in one way or the other. Also interview will be a major source of data. Content analysis will be employed; it involves the use of newspapers, magazines and periodicals. It equally includes the use of relevant unpublished works such as may exist on this subject.
Sources of Data Collection
This research will make use of facts of the Boko Haram insurgency as spelled out by the media reports on the activities of the sect, statement made by analysts, the spokesman and leader of the group in recorded tapes , and thus draw deductive inferences (from these facts ) that may provide logical rationale for unraveling the goal of the Boko Haram sect.
Two major sources of data collection were used in this study; they are the primary and secondary sources of data.
Primary Data: This consists of information gathered specifically for this research work and which become necessary in order to gain insight into the research topic as well as providing information for the study, including interview.
Secondary Data: These are data collected by independent body, person(s) or organisations in most cases not for their immediate use but other people make use of them. They include information from textbooks, journals, magazines and dailies which reveal the Terrorism and Political stability in Africa e.g A case study of Boko- Haram Insurgency in Nigeria.
Method for Data Collection: Interview will be a major method of drawing data. There will be an interactive question and answer between the researcher and respondents pertaining to the effect of the Boko Haram activities over the years.
Techniques of Data Analysis: The data collected will be analysed through content analysis.
Scope of the Study
This study will focus on Terrorism and Political stability in Africa : A Case Study of Boko Haram Insurgency in Nigeria. This study will encapsulate the period from the beginning of the outbreak of the Boko Haram insurgency in July 2009 till mid 2015 as at when this research is being carried out. Therefore, the scope of the study will cover a period of six years, during which the Boko Haram sect has established itself as a terrorist group and has further affected the political stability in Africa especially the western part of the continent. Consequently, this study will look for the best strategy to combat terrorism in West Africa and the various measures to be taken to curb the Boko Haram Insurgency and the ever-recurring challenges of insecurity in the country.
Limitations to the Study
Embarking upon such a study as the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria is bound to encounter a major limitation. It is understandable that the goals and objectives of a particular group, institution, cult, sect, movement or even a state can only be sought and found within the leadership and membership of such groups or movements. However, this work studies a faceless sect whose effects can only be felt but whose organization can neither be seen nor substantiated. The implication of this is that the objective of the unraveling the yet unclear goal and objectives of the Boko Haram sect may not be attained beyond reasonable doubts.
Despite the above limitations, the researcher intend to adopt informal ways to allow him have access to data on the research topic so that the purpose of the study will not be deterred.
Organisation of the Chapters
This research study would be divided into five chapters; Chapter One gives introduction to the study which will include; background to the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, basic assumptions, definition of terms, theoretical framework , research methodology, scope and limitations of the study and organisation of the chapters. Chapter Two concentrates on the theoretical framework and literature review. Chapter Three presents and analyze the history, development, structure, recruitment, funding, affiliation of Boko Haram sect and the callous attacks by the Boko Haram sect. Chapter Four encapsulates Boko Haram insurgency and its challenges on the Nigerian state. Lastly, Chapter Five dwells on summary, recommendations and conclusions.
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