Boko Haram Crisis in Nigeria

Background

The catastrophic terrorism attacks initiated by the Islamic sect “Boko Haram” have raised serious concerns in Nigeria, specifically the northern part of the country. Several acts of violence initiated by the ferocious terror group have resulted in deaths or maiming of Nigerians. From their attacks on police formations in Bauchi (July 2009) to the most recent ones that saw the abduction of Chibok school girls and occupation of the town of Baga, Boko Haram is a national security concern in the region (Adesoji, 2010). Attempts by the Nigerian Federal Government to counter the attacks through arrests and/or assassinations have resulted in a series of effective military strikes. However, the strategy has failed to defeat or contain the terrorists, presenting the need for further analysis of the situation to develop more effective counterterrorism measures.

Analysis

The Boko Haram terrorism attacks have continually shown significant threat to the political, social, and economic sectors of Nigeria. The group was initially non-violent until the murder of its leader Yusuf Mohammed by the Nigerian police force in 2009. Since then, a paradigm shift in the ideology of the group was observed, it resulted in a series of attacks that claimed more than 10000 lives and displaced about 90000 Nigerians.

The Nigerian economy is overly dependent on foreign investment. It is reported that foreign investments contributes more to the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product than manufacturing (Bamidele, 2012). Any negative impact on its economy or political and social systems affects the operations and performance of foreign firms. The ability of foreign investments to propel sustainable development in the region remains a vital challenge due to the catastrophic actions of Boko Haram.

Book Haram crisis is not just a Nigerian issue but an international one. The group has become more troublesome and successful in most of its attacks that have targeted both Nigerian and foreign establishments. The threats that the sect will move beyond it shores to other regions of the world is becoming a reality. As observed, the terror group is aligning with other organizations such as al-Qaeda to access the global space (Onuoha & Ugwueze, 2014). Boko Haram is likely to cause more damage in future if not contained.

The Nigerian state and Federal government’s direct military attacks on the terrorists have remained unsuccessful. As such, calls for adoption of alternative measures are mounting.  Different groups, including domestic and foreign investors, community-based companies, and consumers, have also presented the need for an appropriate solution that will contain and defeat the imminent and experience of Boko Haram (Bamidele, 2012). A strategy that will offer a lasting solution to the menace, as well as promote a sustainable future, is urgent. Foreign humanitarian interventions, redistribution of justice, negotiations and national conferences are some of the alternative measures of counterterrorism management that can be employed.

Outlook

A military approach as a counterterrorism approach has been vehemently challenged in the context of the Boko Haram terror group. The direct attacks on the terror group have been met with counter attacks that have instigated more deaths and displacement of persons. Different groups, including foreign investors, have echoed the ineffectiveness of the military approach in fighting the Boko Haram terror group. A change of tactic to implement alternative measures is needed to counter the activities of the terrorists.

Policy Recommendations

  1. Negotiate with the terror groupBring all the stakeholders to a discussion including the Nigerian community, foreigninvestors, and the government. Listen to the demands of the sect and find a way forward in the resolution of the conflicts
  2. Focus on redistribution of justice– This approach will ensure that the underlying issues in the nation-building process of the country are addressed. Nigerians will view themselves as a unified nation, eliminating the possibility of any terrorists

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