Public Perception Of The Role Criminology Essay

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Boko Haram is a fundamentalist Islamic sect which recently engaged in several terrorist activities in Nigeria. Its insurgence has led to the killing of over 700 people in the past two years. Although the sect's centre of operation was in the northern part of Nigeria, majority of the victims were southerners resident in the north, particularly from the ethnic nationalities of south-eastern extraction. From all indications, the government and security agencies appeared overwhelmed or incapable of effectively securing the lives and properties of Nigerians from the extremist Islamic group. This study investigated public perception of the role of government in combating Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria. A sample size of 114 respondents were drawn from Niger and Anambra States, and administered with a questionnaire. Niger State was randomly selected from the 12 states in the north, which is the hot bed of Boko Haram, while Anambra State was selected from the 5 South-eastern states where most of the victims of Boko Haram mayhem originated from. Similarly 10 respondents who were not amongst those administered the questionnaire in the two states were selected and interviewed. In addition, 4 security officials in Niger and Anambra States were purposively selected and interviewed to corroborate the questionnaire data. The findings indicated that government security information gathering network was very poor, and that Boko Haram sect had more effective security intelligence network than the government security agencies. Other underlying factors was poor governance, public disenchantment/distrust of the government security agencies (particularly the police), and lack of sustainable socio-economic development in Nigeria. To be able to counter terrorist network activities, the government needs restructure and strengthen its security and intelligence gathering network, restore public trust by dealing with the underlying widespread discontent.

Key words: Boko Haram, Terrorism, security intelligence network, Religion, good governance, public trust, sustainable development.


Nigeria is the most populated Black Country in the world with an estimated 150 million people. The military had ruled the country for about 30 years out of her 52 years of her existence since independence from Britain in 1960. When she returned to democratic rule on May 29, 1999, it was hoped that democratic dividends that will guarantee peace, human security, and human development would be ushered in the country. However, according to Iduh (2011:121),

…the country remains handicapped by political malpractice, deep economic contradictions, social inequality and a considerable potential for violence due to the politicization of identity characterized by religious, ethnic and communal conflicts, insecurity, organized crime and human rights violations among others.

Between 1999 till date, Nigeria experienced critical events that tended to undermine her coexistence. First was the introduction of Sharia Law (Islamic, civil and criminal code) in 1999, which was met with aggressive resistance that caused the religious crises of February 2000. Before then, was the Maitatsine uprising in 1980. The Maitatsine uprising was the first attempt at imposing a religious ideology on a secular, independent nation that marked the beginning of ferocious conflicts and crises in Nigeria (Adesofi, 2010). Maitatsine uprising and massacre was ignited by a violent confrontation between the authority and the Al-Masifu sect led by Alhaji Muhammadu Marwa Maitatsine. The sect denounced ostentatious display of wealth, such as owning houses, and anti-orthodox Islamic customs etc. Following the Maitatsine crises, or interspersing them were several other crises.

Specifically, the Maitatsine uprising to which those of Boko Haram compare in terms of philosophy and objectives, organizational planning, armed resistance and modus operandi have generally been explained by a combination of factors such as economic dislocation, deprivation, and income inequalities as well as poverty aided by local disasters like drought etc (Adesoji, 2010). In other words, many of the explanations offered for the outbreak of the Maitatsine uprising in the 1980s are relevant to the Boko Haram terrorism. Indeed the socio-economic conditions that sustained the Maitatsine uprising in 1980 are relevant to the Boko Haram situation today. In some cases, the situation had got worse. There was mass poverty, inequality in educational and employment opportunities, ignorance due to limited educational opportunities, growing unemployment, and government corruption, including the misuse of resources by which the people were repulsed. These problems swelled the army of vulnerable people whose disillusionment and impoverishment made them easy prey.

However, in spite of the violence that trailed the introduction of sharia in Nigeria as well as the many other conflicts that have prevailed, the government had seemed to lack the capacity to deal with the situation. In the words of Iduh (2011:121);

The fact that it was difficult for the federal government to make pronouncement against it (sharia) made the people in the states where it is practiced unequal before the law, which many argued to be threat to peace and signifies that more conflicts will take place in the future, not minding that individual security starts from the rule of law and the ability of the state to protect her citizens.

In the same vein, the 2005 World Report of the Human Rights Watch stated that "tackling impunity remains a key challenge for Nigerian government".

Boko Haram is a fundamentalist Islamic sect based in Northern Nigeria that seeks to establish the secular system of government and establish sharia law in the country. The term "Boko Haram" comes from the Hausa word "Boko" meaning "Western education" and the Arabic word "Haram" figuratively meaning "Sin" (literally, "forbidden") (http://imaguzuwadyndus.w retrieved April 20, 2012). Thus the term Boko Haram means that western education is a sin and western civilization is forbidden. The group earned this name due to its opposition to anything western, which it sees as corrupting Muslims. The group started in 1995, led by one Lawal Abubakar and later handed over to Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf on 30th of July, 2009; the sect had recruited about 500,000 members. Their locations are in Kanama, Yobe state, Northern Nigeria, and their base is called Afghanistan. Their major attacks and operations are in various parts of Northern states like Bauchi, Yobe, Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Sokoto, and especially in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. Boko Haram is seen in some quarters as Nigerian Taliban because they operate and have all the features of Al-Queada-they target security outfits e.g. police stations and they are against the state interest. They maim, kill destroy and invade churches (Iduh, 2011).

According to Ajaero (2012), Boko Haram insurgency has led to the senseless killing of hundreds of innocent people. The sect's suicide bombers have unleashed mayhem on citizens, first in bombing the Police Force Headquarters, and UN building both in Abuja. There have also been several other co-ordinated attacks and bombings in the Northern states of Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, Niger, Adamawa, Kano, Kaduna and Taraba. Boko Haram has killed over 700 persons in the past two years in Nigeria (Ajaero, 2012).

It is not easy to understand what Boko Haram is fighting for. Their targets too do not give clue as to what its philosophy is because its attacks are mixed. Today it hits a church; tomorrow it is a public building. The next target could be either a motor park or even a media house. So, it is difficult to say why it is throwing bombs all over the country. In the opinion of Ogienagbon (2012), "what Boko Haram is doing is a declaration of war by other means against the country. It is not doing what it is doing because 'western education is a sin'… There could be many explanations about the motives behind Boko Haram's unrelenting war against Nigeria". However, Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria seems to reinforce attempts by Islamic conservatives at imposing Islamic religious ideology on the Nigerian secular state. Adesoji, (2010:95) further maintained that "whereas the religious sensitivity of Nigerian provided fertile grounds for the breeding of Boko Haram sect, the sect's blossoming is watered by the prevailing socio-economic dislocation in the Nigerian society, the advent of party politics (and associated desperation of politicians for political power)". Similarly for Akam (2012), the rise of the sect is rooted in the corruption of Northern political oligarch that excluded massive northern youths from access to the benefits of modernism and disposing them favourably towards fomenting mayhem. "Look closely, at the members of the sect and you could see raw anger and deprived, unemployed and uneducated young men who their only outlet is violence" (Akam, 2012:56).

Presently, Nigerian's now live in fear without knowing when a Boko Haram suicide bomber would come their way. The ease with which the suicide bombers carry out these dastardly acts show that Nigerian government may not be doing enough security wise to stop them in their attacks. From all indications, security agencies do not seem to be on top of the situation. They do not appear to possess requisite solutions to combat the Boko Haram terrorism beyond the numerous condemnations of the dastardly acts; and the now monotonous media advertorials which say that:

Security agencies would like to reassure Nigerians of our collective resolve to stamp out terror from our country. We are poised to bring to an end, the activities of a few unscrupulous elements and to also warn that the long arm of the law will always catch up with those who perpetrate evil. We hereby crave the maximum support and cooperation of all Nigerians as we strive to rid our society of terror. We are not terrorists; we are Nigerians (Onwuamaeze, 2011:11).

In the first place, security agencies tend not to be proactive of the bombings by Boko Haram despite the fact that the sect often sends warning signals in advance. The result is that security personnel often arrive at the scene of bombing after it has happened. Thus, they are never found in the right places at the right time. Secondly, it does seem that security personnel may not have the capacity and ability to completely combat Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria (Onwuamaeze, 2011). This is not heartwarming given the enormous budgetary allocation for security in the 2012 fiscal year in Nigeria. In 2012, a huge sum of N921, 91 billion about ($755 billion), or 19.4 percent of the total federal budget was for security (The Nation, May 3, 2012). With the increased national security budget many Nigerians would be tempted to equate the massive allocation of resources to guarantee for the needed peace of mind in the country. Unfortunately, despite taking the greatest chunk of the national resources, national security has never been more parlous in Nigeria. It is against the backdrop of the foregoing that this study is positioned to examine public perception of the role of government in combating Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria. To guide the study are the following questions:

What is the public perception of the role of security agencies in combating Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria?

How effective are security agencies in combating Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria?

What are the problems facing security agencies in combating Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria?

How can security agencies combat Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria?

Conceptual Issues

According to Madunagu (2011) the word terrorism can be defined in the following ways :(1), "Terrorism is unlawful violence or any other unlawful harmful act committed (or threatened) against civilians by groups or persons for political or other ideological goals", (2), "Terrorism is premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by sub national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience" (3), "International terrorism is terrorism involving citizens or the territory of more than one country; a state sponsor of terrorism is a state that repeatedly provides support for acts of international terrorism". Furthermore ,UN (2005) cited in Madunagu (2011:10) defined terrorism as "an action intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act." Madunagu (2011).

Some other scholars view terrorism from different perspectives. According to Griffitha and O'Callaghan (2004) cited in Mudasiru, (2011:95) "terrorism is an unpredictable and premeditated use of violence or the threat of violence to achieve identifiable goals. It includes attacks against tourists, embassy staff, military personnel, aid workers, and employers of multinational corporations (MNCC). It can be used by individuals and groups against governments, and it can be used and sponsored by governments against governments, and it can be used and sponsored by governments against particular groups" (Mudasiru, 2011).

Griffiths and O'callaghan (2004) identified four district kinds of terrorism as follows: (a) The transnational crime, (b)State-sponsored terrorism, nationalistic terrorism, and (c) The ideological terrorism.

According to Mudasiru (2011), the transnational terrorism involves the use of violence by drug cartels to protect their private interests by attacking governments and individuals who attempt to reduce their activity and influence. The Italian Mafia is a good example in this case. State-sponsored terrorism is a method of warfare whereby a state uses agents or surrogates to create political and economic stability in another country. States also sponsor terrorism by giving logical support, money, weapons and allied equipment, training, and safe passage to terrorists. Examples include the activities of anti-colonial movements, groups wishing to secede from a particular state as witnessed in the Basque movement in Spain, Sikh nationalists in India, Biafran government in Nigeria and so on. Ideological terrorism is that in which terrorists use terror either to change a given domestic policy or to overflow a particular government. It is thus pertinent to observe that terrorism is far from being a mindless, irrational force. Usually acts of terrorism are well planned and carried out with military precision.

Spencer (2006) cited in Mudasiru (2011) opined that terrorism is difficult to conceptualize. For him, one of the problems of defining terrorism is the ability to distinguish terrorism from the other related concepts like guerilla warfare, crime or mad serial killers and a host of others. There is even a pessimistic notion by Laqueur (1977) that a comprehensive definition of terrorism does not exist for now.

However, Schmid and Jongmad's (1988) definition of terrorism may suffice in explaining the activities of terrorists. According to Schmidt and Jongman (1988).

Terrorism is an anxiety inspired method of repeated violent action, employed by (Semi) clandestine individuals, groups, or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal, or political reasons, whereby in contrast to assassination-direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectivity (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population and serve as message generators. Threats and violence - based communication processes between terrorists (organization). (imperiled) victims, and the main targets are used to manipulate the main target (audiences), turning it into a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily songlit (sited in Mudasiru, 2011:96-97).

It is pertinent to note that there is an important correlation between methods used by terrorists and their ultimate goals. The more spectacular the method, the more attention the act itself will receive. Terrorist attacks on civilian are primarily intended to be symbolic. Similarly a terrorist bombs a building not so much because he or she seeks to kill indiscriminately but because the attack will be published across the globe and will draw unwittingly attention to the cause. In this sense, the mass media can become an ally of the terrorists. The newsworthiness of terrorist attacks has led some scholars to argue that there should be a complete blackout on such acts (Mudasiru, 2011).

Madunagu (2011) argued that was a need for a differentiation of the concepts "Terrorism in Nigeria" and "Nigerian Terrorism" for a better understanding of the insurgencies in Nigeria. For him, terrorism in Nigeria suggests a foreign terrorist is distinct from Nigerian terrorism which is home grown Nigerian terrorism. The two are different formulations which, when inserted in the contemporary Nigerian situation, produce entirely two different perspectives on how to tackle it (Madunagu, 2011).It can therefore be said that Nigerian terrorism are those terrorism whose seeds were sown in Nigeria, germinated and is now flourishing in Nigeria. Focusing on Nigerian terrorism Madunagu (2011) stated that five forms stand out: Niger Delta insurgency; the Boko Haram insurgency; the Middle Belt(Jos) killings; Kidnapping for ransom; and Armed Robbery. Each of these dimensions of Nigerian terrorism has been modified or "enriched", or even transformed, by developments in Nigerian politics and political economy. But their roots and their trajectories are clear (Madunagu, 2011).

Ostensibly terrorism in Nigeria is spanned by the contradictory dynamics of the polity in Nigeria. In particular, with the notorious corruption among the political elite, the country's vast wealth has failed to improve the lives of the citizens. This coupled with stolen political mandate, has led to a growing disenchantment particularly among jobless young men (Adesoji, 2010).

Both ancient and modern philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Mill and Bentham have argued that the state (government) is not only the organ where the citizenry can actualize themselves, but, more importantly, the end of such state is the maximization of their welfare (Akubor, 2011). Anything that derogates from the security and happiness that the state can guarantee, in the prescription of lock, calls for rebellion against the sovereign (Aminu and Yaqub 2002 cited in Akubor, 2011).

Scholars as well as Conflict Analysts such as Ilo (2008) are of the view that the religious, ethnic, and regional tension in the country can only be understood in the light of the conditions created by debts, economic crisis and structural adjustment in the country. Ilo (2008) argued that poverty is the greatest source of civil strife in Nigeria. He opined that when people are hungry and lack the basic necessities of life, they are easily prone to violence. On the other hand, Adekunle (2007) posited that the introduction of stiff economic measures like Austerity Measures during civil rule in the 1980's and structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) during the ministry regime have tended to be accompanied by increasing incidents of violent protests, crises and conflicts, strike, demonstrations, armed coups and counter-coup attempts.

Interestingly, fanatical uprisings in Nigeria have mostly originated from the North, which arguably is the poorest part of the country (Makinde, 2009:6). Indeed, out of the 178 clashes that have taken place in Northern Nigeria between 1980 and 2004, 104 were related to religion (Sani, 2007).

Furthermore, Adesoji (2011) contended that the role that partisan politics and political patronage play in the sustenance of Boko Haram sect is obvious. In a similar vein, Nigeria's former National Security Adviser (NSA) in a paper delivered at the South-South Economic summit held in Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria on 27th April, 2012, observed that Boko Haram members were getting better trained, better equipped and better trained, better equipped and better funded, while Nigeria's security agencies have no answer to the question posed by them. He traced the incessant bombings, suicide attacks and jail breaks ravaging mostly the Northern part of Nigeria and sensitive national landmarks institutions to the 'politics of exclusion" of the ruling party in the country. He thus tried to input political undertone to the intractable problem of insecurity that has been made more vociferous by the activities of Boko Haram (The Nation, May 3, 2012). Given the level of vexation among different sections of the population, it is no surprise that racial manifestations and fundamentalist philosophies like Boko Haram developed, thrive and wrecks havoc at will in Nigeria. (The Nation, May 3, 2012).

In his views, Obadofin (2012) opined that terrorism is not only attached to religion, but often it has political undertone. He further argued that the main factor that triggers terrorism is hatred. For thousands of years, the Arabs have been the enemy of the Jews, and the same hatred, from the Arabs is laso translated to the United States (Obadofin, 2012). According to Obadofin (2012:35),

…. to an Islamic extremist, especially those trained as suicide bombers, this is an era of jihad. They have been brainwashed into a belief that if they sacrifice life to kill 'unbelievers', they would be rewarded with the bliss of heaven and a harem of virgins both voluptuous and good at bed.

It can be observed that more blood has been shed in the name of religion than any other cause; and terrorists (most of which hide under the cover of religion) have committed many deadly attacks since 2001. The case of Nigeria is not an exception but the problem is multifaceted, it cuts across religion, politics and even economic issues. Socio-economic problems, ethno-religions sentiments, educational fallout (illiteracy). Unemployment, political geocentricism etc have become platforms to launch attacks on innocent citizen by armed robbers and kidnappers in the past. Boko Haram is a product of national failure like others(Obadofin, 2012).

In the same vein, Kukah (2003) is in tacit agreement that the Boko Haram terrorism is embedded in the character and structure of the Nigerian nation state. According to him, with its neo-colonial heritage, Nigeria imposed a new perception and definition of inter-ethnic relations. The competition for power as a means of resource allocations has meant that the ethnic elites within the Nigerian state have had to fall back on what can, and will, enhance their prospects of capturing and retaining power for their immediate environmental constituency. In Northern Nigeria, the hegemony of the ruling class has been prefixed on the veneer of the Islamic religion, since this was the basis for the establishment of the caliphate. This means that claiming the fear of God being a Bawan Allah (God's servant), trust in Ikon Allah (the will of God), are prerequisites and major aspects of political and economic survival within this ruling class.

Although there is no conclusive link of Boko Haram with jihadist movements outside Nigeria, the modus operandi of the sect, fashioned after the Taliban in Afghanistan, has generated some curiosities. Given its large following and the claim that it has suit members to Afghanistan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Iraq, Mauritania and Algeria for training, it could be that Boko Haram modeled itself after the Taliban simply to acknowledge its source of inspiration (Adesoji, 2010).


This study was located in Niger and Anambra States of Nigeria. Niger State was randomly selected from the 12 Northern States which is the hot bed of Boko Haram, while Anambra State was selected from the 5 Southeastern states where most of the victims of Boko Haram mayhem originated from. The sample size for the study was 114 made up 14 respondents for in-depth interview and 100 for questionnaire data. The questionnaire was administered equally ie.50 in each of the two states. The respondents were purposively selected on the basis of availability sampling technique. For the in-depth interview, 10 respondents who were not amongst those administered the questionnaire in the two states were selected and interviewed. In addition, 4 security officials were also purposively selected in the two states. The structured questionnaire focused on public perception of the role of security agencies in combating Boko Haram, the effectiveness as well as the problems facing security agencies in dealing with Boko Haram in Nigeria. The questionnaire data were presented in tables and analyzed with descriptive statistics (simple percentages) while data from the in-depth interviews were analyzed based on the narratives of the respondents on the substantive issues of the study.

Data Analysis

Analysis of the socio-demographic characteristics of the respondent's shows that majority of the respondents (54.11) are males and (38.9%) females. A good number of the respondents (43.2%) are married and are fairly educated. The respondents are about 62 percent who have completed tertiary education. Over 96.4 percent are Christians. They are mostly engaged in while cola jobs with about 49.5 percent employed in the civil service. The average annual income is NGN100,000(about$1724)

Public Perception of the Role of Security Agencies in Combating Boko Haram

The survey indicated over 60% of the respondents stated that security agencies are not playing positive roles in combating Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria. Further, the respondents were asked how effective security agencies in combating Boko Haram were. The findings are in table I.

Table 1: How effective are security agencies in combating Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria?




Very effective









Very Ineffective






Table 1 shows that majority of the respondents (40%) perceive security agencies as ineffective in combating Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria.

These findings are supported by the in-depth interview data. One remark made by a 38 year old civil servant in Niger State elucidates this point. In his words:

This is indeed a trying period for Nigeria. And Nigerians are in agreement that something must be done urgently to save the country. Security, law and order are the major preoccupation of any government. Once a government gets this priority right, it has made the very first right step. Growing insecurity on the reverse side is the first sign of a failing state. Going by the recent developments in our country (Nigeria) this appears to be the direction we may inevitably head and as always, the consequences are direr. …Today, Nigeria faces her greatest security challenge ever.. Apart from the menace of armed robbers, …we also worry about the threat of Boko Haram and its attendant collateral damage on Nigeria and her people. With the arrival of Boko Haram, Nigeria has effectively joined those isolated countries that carry the revolting tag of being referred to as terrorist states.

A 28 year old youth in Niger State shared similar views of the failure of the Nigerian government in combating the Boko Haram terrorism, when he said:

As it were, the government in power appears to have no practical solution to stall the terrorist acts of the demonic Boko Haram beyond condemnation … Notwithstanding the presence of security agencies and the Joint Task Force, Boko Haram has established itself as a deadly tool … Several arrests have been made, some of the actors have also been in custody, yet no person has been brought to book for the unjust killings by Boko Haram terrorist.

Problems Facing Security Agencies in Combating Boko Haram Terrorism in Nigeria

The findings regarding the problems facing security agencies in combating Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria from the survey is shown in table 2.

Table 2: The Problems facing Security Agencies in Combating Boko Haram Terrorism.




Security agencies are poorly trained.



Security agencies are not properly trained



Security agencies are not proactive



Corruption and bad governance



Government lacks the political will to deal with Boko Haram






In table 2 majorities of the respondents (40%) identified corruption and bad governance as outstanding factors affecting the combating of Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria. Data from the in-depth interview support these findings.

When asked the problem facing security agencies in dealing with Boko Haram, a 45 year teacher from Anambra who is a relation of some of the victims of Boko Haram killed in Adamawa State stated:

In my view, the army, the police and the rest are in Boko Haram and government is not sincere.

The issue of government insincerity and lack of political will in dealing with Boko Haram was re- echoed by a 30 year old unemployed graduate. In his words:

Government knows what to do but they are not willing so as not to step on the toes of some sacred cows in Nigeria. In addition, security agencies lack basic skill, training and equipments to enable them combat the forces of Boko Haram.

On the other side of the security agencies, some of the respondent interviewed stated that the problems of Boko Haram terrorism are rather very complex. One striking point was made by a senior police officer interviewed in Niger State. He said that:

… The situations that created the problems of Boko Haram are not just about religion, politics… I think it is a combination of everything; … except you address all those things comprehensively, it would not work. It is not enough to send soldiers and police men to stop the situation… You must look at what structures you need to put in place to address the problem holistically.

On the other hand, a retired public servant in Anambra State is of the view that the inability of the security agencies in combating Boko Haram is due to corruption. In his views:

… The sect is said to be angry that its leader, Mohammed Yusuf was killed in police study. It aimed to attack people in uniform… What this points to is the fact that the police in Nigeria have been lawless. If they have taken Yusuf to count, the sect would not have been driven to the wall… Extrajudicial killings spiced with corruption and its offspring - poverty, hunger… have given rise to the huge cauldron in Nigeria today.

How to Combat Boko Haram Terrorism in Nigeria

The major strategy of combating Boko Haram in Nigeria is enthronement of good governance. The survey indicated that 45 percent of the respondents are of this opinion. This is closely followed 30 percent of the respondents who stated that security agencies should be trained in intelligence gathering and equipped with modern technology and infrastructure. Data from the in-depth interview corroborated these findings. In the views of 60 year old retired security operative in Niger state.

… To be frank, surveillance, intelligence gathering and a proactive disposition should be combined by security agencies to reasonably predict and tackle crime.

…Again, the government should periodically review security administration, process with a view to ensuring that quick responses are maintained at all times. There is also the fact that government should not compromise in enforcing the law. Government should insist all the time on bringing the full weight of the law on whosoever infringes on it… Above all, those in authority should show leadership by example by matching words by action.

Discussion of Findings

One of the findings of this study is that the government/security agencies are not playing adequate positive roles in combating the Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria. This is in line with the general notion in literature. According to the 2005 World Report of the Human Rights Watch "tackling impurity remains a key challenge for government in Nigeria". Many acts of impurity such as high profile killings, kidnapping, hostage taking, human rights violations and suicide bombings perpetrated by Boko Haram abound in Nigeria which the government has not been able to tackle. Similarly, Iduh (2011) opined that resolving high profile assassinations and criminal violence by the Nigerian police is quite unimpressive because the police lacks the will, capacity and competence to investigate crime, apprehend culprits, and ensure justice which eventually erodes the public confidence of safety. Apparently the government/security agencies do not seem to be on top of the Boko Haram situation in Nigeria. It is apparent that security personnel in Nigeria are not able to combat Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria. They are not proactive and are never found in the right places at the right time. Security personnel often arrive at the scene of the bombing after it has happened(Onwuamaeze,2011)..

Furthermore, it was found in this study that the government/security agencies inability to deal with Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria is as a result of the socio-economic and political challenges in the country. Specifically, the study identified bad governance and corruption as the key factors influencing Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria. These findings are supported by similar explanations in literature. According to Adesoji (2010), Boko Haram is sustained by socio-economic conditions in Nigeria such as mass poverty, inequality in education and education; and corruption in government. Corruption is a major bane which seriously affects socio-economic development in Nigeria. The worst is official corruption. For example, it is clear that because of corruption, a very senior police officer was alleged to have masterminded the escape of one of the Boko Haram leaders who was in police custody. It was expected that the government would have used that case to show her disdain for corruption. On the contrary, nothing was done to the erring police officer except that he was retired from the police an action perceived below expectations by the public.. With regards to bad governance, the government has shown that it lacks the will to deal with Boko Haram terrorism and many other issues begging for good governance in the country For instance, while the president has continually stated that some sponsors of Boko Haram had infiltrated his cabinet he has not been able to identify them. It would appear that the government knows the sponsors of Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria but has been able to bring the full weight of the law on them probably because these people are sacred cows whose toes cannot be stepped on by the government in Nigeria. Again, Kukah 2003 stated that Boko Haram has political undertone. For him, Boko Haram terrorism is embedded in the character and structure of the Nigerian nation state. In his words:

… with its neo-colonial heritage, Nigeria imposed a new perception and definition of inter-ethnic relations. The competition for power as a means of resource allocation has meant that ethnic elites within the Nigerian state have had to fall back on what can, and will, enhance their prospects of capturing and retaining power for their immediate environmental constituency.

There is no gain saying the fact that there is a systemic failure in Nigeria. Thus, the blame is squarely laid on the door steps of the government for the Boko Haram onslaught.

As a way forward, this study indicated good governance as a very important strategy for combating Boko Haram terrorism as well as in resolving other impunities and human rights abuses in the country. According to Madunagu 2011:

… You cannot effectively respond to Nigerian terrorism with a single weapon, however well designed. … I would suggest that since the current Nigerian state enters any rigorous definition of Nigerian terrorism, the current socio-political dispensation can at most only check and manage Nigerian terrorism. Only a new social order, a popular democratic and emancipator social order, can create the conditions for an accelerated "withering away" of Nigerian terrorism (Madunagu, 2011:11).

In the interim however, to manage and check Boko Haram, the Nigerian security agencies should have proactive disposition drawing substantially from intelligence gathering, surveillance and ability to reasonably predict potential crime with near perfect accuracy. Again, the government should periodically review security administration process with a view to ensuring that short responses are maintained at all times. There is also the factor of technology. Nigeria's security network should be driven by excellent modern technology.

It is also important that government should not compromise in enforcing the law. Government should insist all the time on bringing the full weight of the law on those who infringe on it. However, by far the most important strategy a leadership by example and strength of character of those in authority by matching words by action.


Nigeria's cancerous ailment cuts across board: terrorism, political banditry, ethno-religious conflicts, a clueless, corrupt and ineffectual executive, an unserious and equally ineffectual legislature, a pathetic judiciary notoriously acclaimed for miscarriage of justice, mass poverty, and vexed citizenry that endures the pain and bitter taste of associated hardship recipe continually clashed out by the government. It is not surprising given the levels of vexation among the different sections of the population that radical manifestation and fundamentalist philosophies like Boko Haram develop, thrive and wreak havoc at will in the country. Despite her efforts, the government has not succeeded in bringing Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria to an end because the underlying root cause of the problem are not being addressed. The way forward is a new emancipatory social order through popular democracy that will usher in equity, accountability and good governance in Nigeria.