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Third World Quarterly
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The Boko Haram Uprising: how should Nigeria respond?
Iro Aghedo & Oarhe Osumah Available online: 17 May 2012

To cite this article: Iro Aghedo & Oarhe Osumah (2012): The Boko Haram Uprising: how should Nigeria respond?, Third World Quarterly, 33:5, 853-869 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2012.674701

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Third World Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 5, 2012, pp 853–869

The Boko Haram Uprising: how should Nigeria respond?
IRO AGHEDO & OARHE OSUMAH
ABSTRACT Since the execution of Osama bin Laden and a few other al-Qaeda

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kingpins, the incidence of international terrorism seems to be on the decline and the ‘war on terror’ has been applauded as a huge success, with some even arguing that terrorism will fizzle out sooner rather than later. But recent experiences in Nigeria and some other African states reveal that, while global terrorism may be on the decline, the proliferation and radicalisation of local terrorist groups with possible links to al-Qaeda seem to be on the rise. The quest for effective counter-terrorism therefore continues. This article interrogates how Nigeria should respond to the Boko Haram terrorist uprising. Methodologically it relies on both primary and secondary sources of data. It provides an overview of the evolution and dynamics of the uprising in Nigeria, and explores the motivations, strategic operations and responses of Boko Haram. The article shows that the uprising, which engenders general insecurity, is a consequence of governance failure and institutional fragility. Thus, it concludes that, to effectively address the uprising, Nigeria should adopt a human security approach rather than the current emphasis on a repressive state security approach.

Since the end of the Second World War the number and frequency of interstate wars have drastically reduced, leaving most conflicts intra-state rather than between sovereign states.1 Africa has been the epicentre of most internal conflicts and civil wars in recent times. The great expectation of a lull in the current millennium has been dashed by the iconoclastic dimensions of the Arab Spring, which swept across North Africa, by the violent conflicts that characterised most ‘democratic elections’ in sub-Saharan Africa, and by the emergence and radicalisation of militia and terrorist groups in much of Africa in 2011. In Nigeria the unprecedented terrorist operations of the Boko Haram (BH) terrorist group against the state have shattered the hope that peace would return to the country with the granting of amnesty to militant youth groups in the oil-rich but volatile Niger Delta region.2
Iro Aghedo is in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria. Email: iroaghedo@yahoo.com. Oarhe Osumah is in the Department of Public Administration, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, Nigeria. Email: osumahoarhe@yahoo.com. ISSN 0143-6597 print/ISSN 1360-2241 online/12/050853–17 Ó 2012 Southseries Inc., www.thirdworldquarterly.com http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2012.674701

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Although home-grown terrorism is not peculiar to Nigeria, as shown by the involvement of nationals in the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US, the 7 July 2005 London bombings, the 29 March 2010 Moscow metro bomb attacks, and the almost daily bomb blasts in Irag.3 Yet the novelty, intensity and frequency of BH’s violent campaign, especially the use of suicide bombing and unprovoked attacks on innocent people, are bewildering. There are well founded local and global apprehensions that the sectarian violence spearheaded by the fundamentalist Islamic sect could lead to the disintegration of Africa’s most populous nation. Both local and international interests, including the state’s national police headquarters and the United Nations House in Abuja have been targeted and attacked, leaving many dead, others maimed and several properties destroyed, and triggering a wave of internal displacement, a complex emergency and mass exodus from the troubled northern region. The generalised sense of insecurity and ubiquitous bomb scares have crippled both political and socioeconomic activities. So far, the state response to the BH uprising remains ineffective, as the terrorist group continues to execute its threats with impunity, triggering heated debate on how best to respond to such terrorism. Emergent argument has polarised people into two groups, namely those who support coercion on the one hand and advocates of conciliation on the other. Supporters of a coercive counter-terrorism strategy hold that force rather than dialogue is more effective in dealing with terrorist organisations. This position is in consonance with the ideology of the US-led ‘war on terror’. However, many who are overwhelmed by the threat of a ‘looming civil war’ in a country of over 160 million people contend that repression would be ineffective in managing the rebellion because of the relative incapacity of the state security apparatus and the fact that BH rebels operate from among the people and target both government and ordinary citizens. These analysts therefore suggest the use of conciliatory measures, including dialogue and amnesty. The challenge, however, is that BH is a faceless group and therefore would be difficult to engage in dialogue, except by proxy. Even an attempt by Nigeria’s ex-president, Olusegun Obasanjo, to broker peace with the group through some family members of the slain BH leader Mohammed Yusuf was rebuffed by the sect. The recommendation on the use of amnesty is greatly influenced by the relative success of the Amnesty Programme in the Niger Delta. However, while this amnesty deal allowed the state to buy off militant leaders in the Delta to ensure optimal oil production, such a strategy might be impracticable with BH terrorists because of their narratives of grievance, which are largely religiously driven and therefore less pecuniary than those of the Niger Delta militants, whose grievances were for a more equitable share of oil rents sourced from their homelands. This study is an empirical attempt to unravel how the Nigerian state should respond to the BH uprising. It is structured into nine sections for analytical convenience. Immediately following this introduction is the conceptual framework underpinning the study. The third section presents 854

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an overview of uprising in Nigeria, while the fourth part accounts for the emergence and evolution of BH. Part five highlights the methodological notes of the study,while the sixth part details the social profile and motivations of BH membership. The seventh section presents state responses to the terrorism, while the final part concludes with some policy prescriptions. Conceptual framework Security is a multidimensional concept because of its different typologies, including social security, economic security, psychological security, job security and food security. Each type is a response to a certain sort of threat. The multidimensionality of the concept also influences how analysts interrogate the term. For instance, Lloyd Damus examined security from the socioeconomic perspective as ‘the prevention of property damage, injury and loss of lives caused by military means as well as limitation of such damage, casualty and death in the event of war’.4 Though in tandem with the realist notion of security, this definition is too narrow and militaristic, seeing security only from the perspective of war. For the Realist school of thought, a state is secure in as much it possesses the capacity to deter potential aggressors or to defeat the aggressors if deterrence fails. This paradigm was anchored on the Realist view of interstate relations as a quest for power among actors for the protection and preservation of their national sovereignty and interests.5 The Realist paradigm has dominated global discourse in international relations and political science for over 50 years. Today the term ‘national security’ has been broadened to encompass both state and human security. While state security is analogous to the dominant notion of national security, human security, on the other hand, emphasises the preservation of the wellbeing of persons, including the protection of their socioeconomic, political and environmental rights.6 The idea of human security is not totally new. The end of the Cold War and fall of the USSR had heralded a questioning of the militaristic conception of security, as issues formerly marginalised by global nuclear Armageddon began to emerge in the early 1990s. The trajectory of human security can even be stretched back to the 1860s, when the International Committee of the Red Cross was founded. Furthermore, some of the core elements of human security were also formalised after the Second World War in the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Geneva Conventions. The thrust of human security is that ‘the chief referent object of security should not be the state or certain sub-state groups, such as stateless nations, but the individual people of which these institutions/groups are comprised’.7 Here, the notion of security is recast as a social construct, imbued with a human face. After the Cold War it became evident that, in some contexts, state security agencies were not only inadequate in dealing with the security problems affecting their people, but were a major cause of such problems. This ‘bottom up’ approach to security has found wide acceptance. 855

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In 1999 the salience of human security attained eloquent expression in Amartya Sen’s argument that development is essentially ‘a process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy’.8 Despite the global emphasis on human security, the notion is ‘yet to germinate in the security conception of Africa’s ruling elite’.9 Here, security still largely remains in the interest of the ruling elite, who associate the notion with state and regime survival. This explains why many African leaders continue to divert public power and resources to themselves, families and close associates to the detriment, frustration and anger of ordinary citizens, especially hopeless youth. Poor leadership is largely at the root of the neglect of key human security priorities in much of Africa, including hugely endowed states such as Nigeria. These priorities, according to Jakkie Cilliers include: . . . . . . strengthening mechanisms for conflict prevention, management and resolution; promoting and protecting democracy and human rights; extending education and healthcare; promoting the role of women in social and economic development; building state capacity to maintain law and order; infrastructure and agricultural programmes.10

The neglect of these core human security priorities and the frustration occasioned by relative deprivation has pushed many desperate individuals and groups to embrace criminality, including terrorism, as a survival strategy.11 Bassey Ate rightly argues that the ‘human security framework represents a more realistic perspective for assessing African security’ because of the systemic human under-development and socio-political decay that characterise the region.12 Overview of uprising in Nigeria Since colonial times the Nigerian political landscape has been dotted with a high degree of violence and insecurity. Obnoxious colonial policies, especially in the area of taxation, had led to The Egba Uprising in 1918, the Aba Women Riot in 1929, and the Enugu Colliery Strike in 1949, which resulted in the fatal shooting of 21 miners. And in the Kano Riots of 1953 the first ‘collective outburst between the Southerners and the Northerners or more correctly, between the major political parties’ was recorded.13 Images of violent conflagrations and acts of terrorism have continued in post-independent Nigeria. In 1960 and 1964 rivalry between political parties and the poor handling of this by the Native Authority and traditional institutions in the Tiv Division led to the Tiv Riots, in which hundreds of people were killed in the North-Central region. Unprecedented insecurity nationwide led to the termination of the First Republic in 1966 by the military. Also in 1966 the Niger Delta Vigilantes, under the leadership of Adaka Boro, staged a 12-day revolution against the Nigerian state in protest at the marginalisation of the Niger Delta region and the Igbo-dominated 856

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Eastern region declared the ‘Republic of Biafra’ in 1967, leading to a civil war. The secessionists were upset by the silence of the Gowon administration on the massacre of Igbos in the North.14 As the war raged on in Southeastern Nigeria in 1969 an army of peasants marched on the city of Ibadan, capital of Western Nigeria, and ‘harried government functionaries, broke into Agodi Federal Prison, and liberated inmates’ in what became known as the Agbekoya Parapo Uprising.15 This violent protest had been triggered by obnoxious government policies which marginalised local farmers in the sales of agricultural produce. Frequent uprisings were also recorded in the army in the form of coups and countercoups. A bloody coup terminated the First Republic in January 1966, triggering a counter-coup in July. A bloodless coup ousted Yakubu Gowon as head of state in 1975 and brought in Murtala Mohammed in 1976, but Mohammed was killed in a failed coup attempt in 1976. The Second Republic, which began in 1979, was terminated in 1983 by another military takeover. Before the 1983 coup several northern cities had been engulfed by riots in the early 1980s. The most notable of these was the Maitatsine uprising, which began in Kano in 1980 and spread to Bulumkutu in Maiduguri, Jemeta in Yola and Kaduna.16 During the last phase of military rule, especially under the Babangida and Abacha administrations (1985–2008), acts of state terrorism manifested in bomb explosions and political assassinations of pro-democracy and human rights activists across the nation.17 For example, between 1991 and 2000 there were over 30 violent crises and uprisings in different parts of Nigeria, especially in the North-Central rgion. The Kaduna anti-sharia riots resulted in deaths estimated at over 5000 and loss of valuables running into several millions of dollars in 2000.18 The South, too, has not been immune to insurgency. The emergence and ascendancy of militia organisations, struggles and movements since the 1990s have exacerbated the security situation in the region. Such ethnic militias include the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) in the southwest, the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Bakassi Boys in the southeast, and the Egbesu Boys of Africa (EBA), Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), among several others, in the Niger Delta. These groups pursue different ethno-political agendas with violent means arising from what they perceive as the state’s exclusion of their ethnic groups from public goods. However, while most of their discourses are driven by grievances, many of their operations are marked by self-agendas and greed.19 It is obvious from the foregoing that, although conflicts have been more frequent in certain parts of the country than others, violence and insurgency have not been exclusive to certain regions, states, ethnic groups or religious sects. As a manifestation of the obnoxious character of the state, especially its inequitable distribution of power and resources among regional, ethnic and religious divides, insecurity cuts across the length and breadth of the Nigerian federation. The management of these clashes and uprisings has largely been driven by coercion, repression and a state security approach. However, the 857

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BH

uprising poses the fiercest challenge to Nigeria’s national unity, security and sovereignty since the end of the Civil War in 1970. Evolution of Boko Haram

The BH is a militant sect driven by the ideology of a fanatical Islamic practice. The sect is currently executing violent attacks against the Nigerian state in the North, with threats of extending its attacks to the South. It pursues the Islamisation of Nigeria, notwithstanding the nation’s secularity, and it repudiates democracy and Western education, especially the Darwinian theory of evolution. Literally, the phrase ‘Boko Haram’ means ‘Western education is evil’ in the Hausa language. Such issues have been controversial as a faction of the group focuses on local grievances, while the other seeks contacts with outside terror groups.20 Like its grievances, the origin of BH is controversial. Its existence can be traced to the mid-1990s. It then existed under the name of Ahlulsunna wai’jama’ah hijra and later thrived under various names such as the ‘Nigerian Taliban’ and ‘Yusufiyyah’ sect. The sect claims to have over 40 000 members in Nigeria and some neighbouring African countries, such as the Republics of Chad and Benin, and Niger Republic, as well as in far away Somalia and Mauritania. In August 2011 the commander of the US Africa Command, General Carter Ham, held that BH has ties with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Somalia’s al-Shabaab.21 Demographically most of its members are drawn essentially from Islamic clerics and students, professionals and students of tertiary institutions in Borno and Yobe states, particularly the University of Maiduguri, Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri and Federal Polytechnic, Damaturu. Other members include school drop-outs, who enrolled with the sect for Quranic education. Instructively, some in the Nigerian political elite, including two former military heads of state and an ex-civilian vice president from the North, have been indicted. Some members of the state security agencies are also members of the sect and help the group with training.22 The BH has its own leadership. At the beginning Mohammed Yusuf was its leader. He died after the July 2009 riots, allegedly in the hands of the police. Thereafter Mallam Sanni Umaru became acting leader. Since then several persons have claimed to be the leader of the group at various times. Mallam Abubakar Shekau is currently the spiritual head of the sect, while Mallam Abul Qaqa is its spokesman.23 He was arrested in February 2012. Members pay daily levies to their leaders. This provides BH’s basic source of funding in addition to loot from attacks on banks and donations from politicians, government officials and organisations within Nigeria. Further, it has been alleged that the sect secures financial support from outside the country. For instance, in 2007 Mohammed Yusuf and Mohammed Bello Damagun (a Muslim cleric who supposedly belonged to the ‘Nigerian Taliban’) were arraigned in Abuja Federal High Court for receiving monies from al-Qaeda operatives to recruit and train terrorists in Nigeria. It was also alleged that Damagun received a total of US$300 000 from al-Qaeda to recruit and train 858

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Nigerians in Mauritania for terrorism. Similarly Yusuf reportedly received monies from al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan to recruit terrorists who would attack the residences of foreigners, especially Americans living in Nigeria.24 The BH is not a monolithic group. It has been speculated that the members are splintered into two factions. According to Bauchi State Governor Mallam Isa Yuguda, one faction of the sect distorts the true teaching of Islam, while the other faction is a band of criminals who are out to destroy the country for selfish reasons.25 The sect deploys various tactics, styles and weaponry in its mobilisation of violence. Its weapons include cudgels, bows and arrows, cutlasses, guns and bombs. The sect is reported to run an illegal bomb-making factory at various locations such as Shuwari in Maiduguri and in Ibrahim Rintiya Street in Kaduna.26 The BH launches attacks at high-profile places such as government establishments, security personnel and stations, markets, banks, shopping complexes, palace, drinking spots and churches. The sect began its offensive operation in the towns of Geiam and Kanamma in Yobe State when, on 24 December 2003 it launched an attack against police stations and public buildings and hoisted the flag of Afghanistan’s Taliban movement over the camp. It was, however, crushed by a joint operation of soldiers and police. Thus, by 31 December 2003 BH members had dispersed into other northern states from Yobe State.27 Since then, BH has claimed responsibility for serial bomb explosions in the following states in northern Nigeria: Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Adamawa, Kano, Bauchi, Plateau, Kaduna, Niger, Kogi, Benue and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja. Human Rights Watch estimates that over 935 persons have been killed since 2009 in BH-related attacks. In 2009 250 persons were killed. This rose to 550 in 2011 in 115 separate incidents. In the first three weeks of January 2012 alone 253 lives were lost in 12 BH attacks. A total of 185 policemen and residents were killed in the 20 January 2012 bomb blasts, which targeted mainly security formations in Kano—the deadliest single operation so far.28 BH appears to represent a unique problem in several respects compared with other insurgent groups in the country. First, the group is more sophisticated, coordinated, menacingly daring and seemingly genocidal in its campaigns. Unlike the earlier rebel groups, it deploys violence against both public and private enterprises as well as public figures and innocent ordinary citizens, especially non-indigenes and Christians in the North. More strikingly it uses suicide bombers, hitherto unknown in the country. Second, BH has strong links with foreign actors which assist it in the areas of sponsorship and training. Third, unlike the past insurgent groups, BH’s goals, demands and grievances are controversial. They are not clearly articulated in any known document yet. BH’s much touted Islamisation mission in the country seems not to enjoy popular support even from its immediate constituency. A number of notable Muslim clerics in the North have openly denounced BH as extremists. Perhaps in line with its repudiation of Western education, the sect has launched some attacks on schools. On 28 February 2012 it attacked a primary school in Maiduguri and set the headmaster’s office ablaze. BH also recently drew a list of eminent Nigerians it was 859

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targeting for elimination, including 1986 Nobel Prize winner for literature, Wole Soyinka. Methodology of the study The research questions include: what are the profiles, motivations and modus operandi of BH? Why has BH been largely successful in its operations? How should Nigeria respond effectively to the violent operations of BH? These questions seek to explore the following propositions: first, that the nature, motivation and modus operandi of BH should shape how Nigeria responds to the sect. Second, that the factors shaping the successful operation of BH should undergird Nigeria’s response. Third, Nigeria should adopt strategic steps rather than palliative measures in responding to the BH uprising. In deriving data for the study both secondary and primary sources were relied on. The secondary data sources were journals, newspapers, magazines, reports and the internet. For the primary data, a survey questionnaire based on a dichotomous scale was utilised. The survey questionnaires were administered to academics, journalists, security operatives and politicians in four northern state capitals, namely Damaturu in Yobe State; Kano in Kano State; Bauchi in Bauchi State; and Maiduguri in Bornu State. The sect’s violent campaign has been more ferocious in these cities than anywhere else in the North. A snowball sampling technique was adopted. This is essentially because of security and logistics limitations. Although terrorism has become a popular discourse in Nigeria in recent times, it remains sensitive and carries high security risks. Thus, the sample size was 80 respondents, 20 for each state capital. The responses obtained were based on frequency and presented in tables. To ensure comprehensiveness, the response frequency was classified along the formulated propositions. The social profile of the sample comprised 90 per cent males, largely in age grade 30– 40 (60 per cent). The respondents were educated up to tertiary level and were mainly low and middle class persons. They cut across the three major ethnic groups of the country (Hausa–Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba) and included representatives of a few minority ethnic groups, such as the Bini, Ijaw and Berom.

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TABLE 1. Profile of Boko Haram’s motivations
Boko Haram sect is fighting for The making of Nigeria an Islamic state Abolition of western education Abolition of democracy End to bad leadership Poverty alleviation Percentage agreeing 78 82 42 84 72

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Social profile, motivations and modus operandi Essentially members of BH are uneducated, school drop-outs, jobless youth, political thugs and students from low socio-economic backgrounds (see Table 1). Its membership therefore largely relates to the depth of feeling about socioeconomic injustice, marginalisation and human insecurity. The survey results indicate that BH is against bad leadership, poverty and Western education but seeks to Islamise the Nigerian state, which is secular. The Nigerian state is a richly endowed nation, being the fifth largest OPEC oil producer and a major oil exporter to the US and other Western states. Oil revenue sustains the state as it accounts for 98 per cent of the country’s export earnings and 95 per cent of the government’s income.29 However, in spite of the great oil wealth, about 70 per cent of the Nigerian citizenry is mired in massive unemployment and poverty, living on less than $1.25 per day. In particular, there are vast economic variations between the North and other parts of the country. The socioeconomic development statistics for the North are the worst in Nigeria, with 72 per cent of the people living in poverty compared with 27 per cent in the South and 35 per cent in the Niger Delta.30 Furthermore, the northern region is worse off in the level of infrastructural and human capacity development, as well as having the highest level of unemployment, particularly among young people, largely because of the phenomenon of Muslim child beggars (known locally as Almajirai). This harsh human insecurity provides a fertile soil for nurturing anti-state groups such as the BH.31 Several studies have established that massive poverty and unemployment create a large ‘republic’, an idle, hungry and angry brigade of persons which requires little motivation to participate in violent engagements because these provide them the opportunity to instrumentalise violence for survival by looting private and public businesses. In addition, some politicians and ‘conflict merchants’ take advantage of the huge pool of poverty and unemployment by recruiting and arming such people in pursuit of selfish political interests.32 For several decades the various socioeconomic crises in Nigeria, such as poverty, unemployment and criminality have squarely been blamed on bad leadership. The leadership since independence has essentially been corrupt, wasteful and insensitive to the genuine needs and aspirations of the populace, despite immense human and natural resources.33 The leadership has not been able to effectively mobilise the rich potentials to transform the country. The nation ranks consistently as one of the leading theatres of poverty and corruption in the world. The radicalisation of BH is a corollary of pervasive corruption and criminalisation in public service. Apart from being unable to manage economic problems, the leadership has not been able to foster and promote common interests and harmonious cohabitation among its extremely diverse ethnic and religious constituents.34 The country is violently divided along regional, ethnic, linguistic and religious lines. There are three majority ethnic groups, namely the Muslim Hausa–Fulani in the North, the Christian Igbo in the Southeast and the Yoruba, which has an almost equal population of Christians and Muslims in 861

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the Southwest. Added to these three main ethno-religious groupings, there are over 250 minority ethnic groups in Nigeria. These ethno-religious identities have constituted instruments of mobilisation and contestation in the struggle for power and resources. Thus, BH portrays a complex identity politics and struggle for political power and resources. Its repudiation of the state’s secular identity and abhorrence of Western education and the quest to Islamise the nation are perhaps intended by its sponsors to gain relevance. It is worth noting that religious politics and conflict date back to the foundation of the Nigerian state during the colonial administration.35 They have remained a prominent feature of the postcolonial era. The sharia issue, which split the Constituent Assembly in 1977/78, the Maitatsine Riots of the 1980s, registration of the country as a full member of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) in 1986, the Shiite Muslim extremists’ accusation against the Colonel John Yohana Madaki-led Bauchi State government in 1991 of being an agent of the Christian Association of Nigeria, and their declaration not to recognise un-Islamic government at local, state and federal levels, are classic cases of religious politics.36 Similarly, apart from the violent campaign against the government, BH is waging a turf war against Christians and non-indigenes in the North. This indicates that BH is a corollary of bad leadership, the politics of identity and the hegemonic struggle for national power There was strong expression from our survey participants that BH relies essentially on violence rather than dialogue in pursuit of its objectives. This seems to be an outcome of its apparent distrust for government, or alternatively of its insincerity and deception regarding the keeping of agreements and promises. In Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa the reliance on violence is a widespread phenomenon. It has been a potent instrument of those who feel marginalised, those securing the attention or intervention of the state and even those seeking the settlement of disputes.37 The BH seems to have keyed into this mobilisation and instrumentalisation of violence to draw attention from the government. Since its violent campaigns started, the group has attracted great concern from government and prominent Nigerian leaders. For instance, the federal government empanelled a committee under the chairmanship of Ambassador Usman Goji Galtimari with the mandate to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the BH uprising and make adequate recommendations.38 Some individuals have suggested that BH members should be granted an amnesty with pay, like the Niger Delta militants.

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TABLE 2. Beliefs about Boko Haram’s modus operandi
The modes of operations of BH are Direct attacks Dialogue Sensitization Percentage agreeing 94 8 24

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TABLE 3. Factors influencing successful operations
Boko Haram sect has been successful in its operations because of Popular support Co-militias support Foreign support Religious belief Weakness of security operations Per cent of yes 10 38 62 70 78

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The survey results indicate that BH’S successful operations have been significantly influenced by foreign backing, the support of co-militias, the weakness of security operatives, and support from politicians and religious clerics. The BH is sponsored by some politicians and Islamic clerics. Three exgovernors and a serving governor of some northern states have been indicted for aiding BH. Some top leaders of the sect have confessed to being on the payroll of some northern governors. A member of the National Assembly from Borno State is currently being prosecuted for divulging classified information to BH terrorists.39 Indeed, since the return to democratic rule in 1999, there has been a shift of political power from the North to the South or from Muslims to Christians, to the disenchantment of many in the northern elite. BH ‘link with politicians could make it easy for the sect to attract followers. In parallel, the association of the group with Islamic clerics creates an opportunity for the organisation to attract followers with a strong resolve and the commitment to make a ‘sacrifice’ in the face of all odds. As BH spokesman Qaqa noted:
We have hundreds that are willing to sacrifice their lives in this crusade, the unfortunate incident of Saturday will not discourage us; if anything it will encourage us to strategize and diversify our techniques because we are not afraid of death.40

Apart from raising self-confidence, and promoting organic solidarity and espirit de corps among members, such narratives could be helpful in ensuring cohesiveness within the group. Several instances of confrontations with security operatives for the purposes of rescuing co-militias from detention have been reported. The ‘Dutch courage’ of BH members is complemented by the fact that, like other Nigerian rebels, they are armed with deadly weapons obtained from diverse sources, including smuggling, robbery, looting of armouries or sales from servicemen.41 The country’s porous borders allow the influx of illegal aliens and an arms glut into Nigeria to boost the operations of the sect. Furthermore, the fact that the security apparatuses such as the police are ill-equipped when it comes to surveillance and information gathering has been to the advantage of BH. These inadequacies of the Nigerian security apparatus in terms of modern operational tools prompted former Inspector General of Police Ehindero to note that the police force is no match for Boko Haram.42 In the same vein, a 2011 US State 863

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Department Report noted that the Nigerian police have limited capacity to conduct anti-terror operations.43 Worse still, the state internal security apparatus is notorious for institutionalised corruption and collusion with criminals.44 In addition, co-militia support aids the successful operations of BH. In several instances the co-militias rally support for members in difficult situations. The BH claimed that it had repelled attempts by security operatives to arrest some of its members after cordoning a house in the Karkasara area of Kano. It also claimed that it set its members free by killing the security operatives. The sect issues threats to unleash attacks as a way to deter the authorities from arresting and prosecuting its members. Mallam Abubakar Shekau claimed that the group had sent open letters to some prominent people in Kano, including the Emir, the Governor and others, warning them to desist from criminalising and harassing its members.45 There is also a strong impression that the successful operation of BH is aided partly by foreign support. In August 2011 the commander of US Africa Command held that the BH has ties with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Somalia’s al-Shabaab.46 On 24 January 2012 the Foreign Minister of Niger Republic confirmed during a regional security summit in Mauritania that there is ‘information that shows a link between Boko Haram and AQIM’.47 These foreign terrorist groups, as noted earlier, provide financial assistance to BH and help to train and arm its militants. Some neighbouring West African countries, such as Cameroon, Chad and Benin, also provide sanctuary for BH militants. It is notable that the BH does not enjoy popular support, perhaps on account of the fear and insecurity it has engendered. It has been reported that some of the successful raids on BH hideouts by the security forces have taken place with the aid and cooperation of the locals. According to the Kano State Police Commissioner, local people have demonstrated that they have no sympathy or affiliation with BH, adding that there was visible anger on the part of the locals who risked their lives to assist the police in containing BH attacks in the state.48 The survey result suggest that respondents strongly believed that increased security operations, employment generation and poverty alleviation, and restrictions on illegal aliens, rather than amnesty and dialogue, were more

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TABLE 4. How to respond effectively to the uprising
The Nigerian state should respond to Boko Haram violent operations through Amnesty Dialogue Increased security operations Monetary compensation for victims Employment generation Poverty alleviation Checking influx of illegal aliens Percentage agreeing 38 46 76 22 88 90 78

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effective ways of responding to the BH uprising. This result reflects the empirical realities and context in which BH thrives. The weaknesses of the security operatives in information gathering and surveillance and their inability to check the influx of illegal aliens at the nation’s porous borders have variously been observed.49 In addition, there has been growing concern about the ominous danger poverty and unemployment pose to human security in the nation. Officially, the unemployment figure is estimated at 41 per cent which is among the highest in the world. This figure is well above the 25 per cent average rate for North Africa and the Middle East, which have been rocked by civil unrest largely spearheaded by unemployed youths. The role of youths in the 2011 post-election violence and the increasing incidence of religious extremism as typified by the BH menace are clear intimations of the danger of youth unemployment.50 Although successive governments have at various times initiated different employment generation and poverty alleviation programmes, they have made little impact because of a lack of proper coordination and planning as well as brazen acts of corruption. State responses to
BH

terrorism

BH’s violent campaigns have often attracted state repression and brutality. On 24 December 2003, when BH militants launched an attack on a police station and public buildings in the towns of Geiam and Kanamma in Yobe, a joint operation of soldiers and police was deployed to crackdown on them. The security operatives allegedly killed 18 members of the sect and arrested several others. This bloody repression, rather than demobilising the militants, spurred them to reorganise. On 21 September 2004 the militants again launched attacks at Bama and Gworza police stations in Borno State. Later the police launched a counter-attack, during which 24 members of the sect were reportedly killed and 22 rifles and large quantities of ammunition were recovered.51 Aside from repression the activities of the group have also attracted greater security attention and surveillance. In 2007 the Umaru Yar’Adua presidency ordered the national security agencies to contain the violent activities of the group. Police and other forces were deployed to crush the 26–27 July 2009 revolts in Bauchi, Borno, Yobe and Kano states. In the July 2009 riots in Borno State the joint operations of the police and military were coordinated by the Borno State special Security Task Force, code-named ‘Operation Flush’. On 28 July 2009 the Security Task Force targeted the residence of BH leader Mohammed Yusuf in a heavy bombardment in Maiduguri, which resulted in Yusuf’s arrest; he was later allegedly extra-judicially murdered by the police. The death of Yusuf and some other BH militants in the bloody encounter heightened the scale of the insurgency. In Kano State the police killed three of the fundamentalists and arrested 33 others. A dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed in Damaturu and Potiskum in Yobe State as a result of the 2009 riots.52 Thus the sect has legitimate grievances against the national security agencies. The heavy-handed approach of the security agencies exacerbates the insecurity. The Nigeria Police Force is responsible for hundreds of extra-judicial murders annually.53 Several members of BH have been executed

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by the security agents with impunity. The 2009 massacre by the security agencies was so severe that the government ordered that the police personnel who killed Yusuf, and the military commander of the troop that killed 42 other BH insurgents, should be prosecuted. Since then clashes between BH militants and security operatives have persisted. At various locations heavily armed soldiers, anti-bomb police squads and men of the State Security Service have patrolled the major cities in the North and security checkpoints have become common sights in highprofile places in the region, because of the fear of BH. Nevertheless, aside from the application of violence, governments at the state and federal levels have made overtures and rapprochements to BH Islamic militants. For example, former Borno State governor Sheriff allegedly paid the sum of N100 million (N160 ¼ $1) to mollify the anger of the sect when their leader was executed in 2009. Current Governor, Kashim Shettima, called on the sect to come forward for dialogue in 16 July 2011. In addition to the presidential committee set up on the insurgency, a Northern Peace Conference and a meeting of all former national security advisers has been held in response to the terrorism. Over 1000 illegal aliens from Chad, Niger Republic, Sudan, etc have been deported from Nigeria. And a Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 is also now in place. The federal government has also ordered the trial of the police officers and military commander of the squad allegedly responsible for the killing of some BH members in 2011.54 In December 2011 a state of emergency was declared by the federal government in 15 local government areas in six northern states. And the scandalous escape from police custody 24 hours after arrest of Kabiru Abubakar Dikko (aka Sokoto), the alleged mastermind of the 2011 Christmas Day bombing of St Theresa’s Catholic Church at Madalla near Abuja, in which 43 persons died, made President Jonathan forcibly retire the Inspector General of Police and his six deputies on 25 January 2012. Kabiru was later rearrested in February 2012. His confession to police complicity in his earlier escape led to the dismissal and prosecution of some top police officers. It remains doubtful if these measures can prevent the terrorists from attacking the state with devastating consequences, however. Conclusion and policy presecriptions This article has empirically interrogated how Nigeria should respond to BH’s violent campaign. With regard to the first proposition in the methodology section, the survey results permit the conclusion that the nature, modus operandi and motivations (such as mass poverty, youth unemployment, political corruption, porous international borders, police brutality and brazen human rights violations) of BH have provided the basis for the emergence and radicalisation of the insurgency. As to the second proposition, the survey results also allow the inference that the factors shaping BH’s successful operations, such as the organic solidarity of co-militias, foreign support, religious manipulation, the weakness of security agencies and porous borders should undergird how Nigeria responds to the terrorism. The consequences of the BH insurgency have been egregiously monumental thank 866

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to its reliance essentially on violence rather than on dialogue to place its issues on the public agenda. Thus, the authors hold that amnesty and dialogue, as have been canvassed, are not effective ways for Nigeria to respond to the crisis. This article suggests that since the northern geopolitical zone where BH evolved and conducts its operations is the poorest in Nigeria in terms of socioeconomic indices, there is a need to address the sources of socioeconomic inequalities and human insecurity in the region. To effectively tackle or respond to the BH uprising, the Nigerian state should adopt a comprehensive and pragmatic approach covering institutional reforms and tackling socioeconomic challenges confronting the nation and the Northeast in particular. This should entail the following: 1. The federal government should disband all private, ethnic and political militias and ensure comprehensive demobilisation, rehabilitation and reintegration of these militias. Also data on victims of BH violence should be collated and adequate compensation paid to the victims. In collaboration with the state and local governments the federal government should undertake a grassroots socioeconomic empowerment programme aimed at employment generation and human security. The programme should be anchored on farming, entrepreneurial and vocational skills acquisition and development, as well as provision of soft loans to artisans and traders. In addition, there is a need for improvement in economic opportunity in the region, including greater foreign investment, improvement in infrastructure and expansion of access to Western forms of education. There should be federal government intervention, especially in education and healthcare, and greater pressure on the northern political elite to develop the region. In addition, popular participation in the processes of governance is needed. This could help engender a sense of stakeholdership and interest in the management of public resources. The Nigerian state should upgrade the operational and logical tools of the security apparatuses to boost its intelligence gathering and effectively discharge its surveillance function. Security agency personnel should be trained and retrained in acquiring new skills in combating terrorism. Although terrorism is not new, given the advances in technology and communications and the increasing level of interaction in the social space, the need to upgrade the security agencies cannot be over emphasised. The security agencies should be proactive rather than being reactive in security maintenance. The security agencies should treat advance warning of terrorist attacks with all seriousness. They should step up efforts to adequately man the porous borders to check the influx of illegal aliens, drugs, arms and ammunition. In addition, there is a need for civil society to collaborate with the security agencies in sensitising the general public on the methods and tactics of BH. The Nigerian state should enter into multilateral arrangements on antiterrorism with other countries, to enable it understand the process of radicalisation, terrorist recruitment and maintenance of support and 867

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protection in communities. Such a network can be useful in building effective counter-terrorism. It has been reported that Britain and Israel have already offered anti-terror assistance, and the US military is also discussing sharing intelligence and security-training collaboration with the leadership of the Nigerian security agencies.55 This is a step in the right direction and should be consolidated. Also, based on international protocols, the Nigerian government should engage countries providing sanctuary for BH militants. There is the need to reevaluate the game of politics and the struggle for power in Nigeria. Politics in Nigeria is the gateway to sudden wealth, an ostentatious lifestyle and self-aggrandisement. It is a zero sum game which produces absolute winners and losers. This character of politics encourages the resort to any means, including violence and mobilisation of ethnic and religious sentiments, as well as the radicalisation of organisations such as BH. On account of this, the authors suggest the need to re-evaluate the premium on political power to make it less attractive to unscrupulous and selfish power seekers.

Notes
1 CW Kegley & SL Blanton, World Politics: Trend and Transformation, Sydney: Wadsworth, 2011, p 16. 2 I Aghedo, ‘Conflict management and peace-building’, in EOS Iyamu & LI Salami (eds), Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, Benin City: Guide Press, 2011, pp 95–113. 3 JA Piazza, ‘Poverty, minority economic discrimination, and domestic terrorism’, Journal of Peace Research, 48(3), 2011, pp 339–353. 4 L Damus, ‘System reliability and national security’, Peace Research Review, 7, 1977, pp 66–85. 5 P Hough, Understanding Global Security, New York: Routledge, 2004, pp 3–8. 6 J Cilliers, Human Security in Africa: A Conceptual Framework for Review, Johannesburg: African Human Security Initiative, 2004, p 6. 7 Hough, Understanding Global Security, pp 3–8. 8 A Sen, Development as Freedom, New York: Anchor Books, 1999, p 3. 9 TA Imobighe, ‘An overview of the theoretical issues in African security’, in RA Akindele & BE Ate (eds), Beyond Conflict Resolution: Managing African Security in the 21st Century, Ibadan: Vantage Publishers, 2001, pp 39–56. 10 Cilliers, Human Security in Africa, p 6. 11 O Osumah & I Aghedo, ‘Who wants to be a millionaire? Nigerian youths and the commodification of kidnapping’, Review of African Political Economy, 38(128), 2011, pp 277–287. 12 BE Ate, ‘Introduction’, in Akindele & Ate, Beyond Conflict Resolution, pp ix–xi. 13 R Anifowose, Violence and Politics in Nigeria: The Tiv and Yoruba Experience, Lagos: First Academic Publishers, 1982, pp 41–43. 14 CR Nixon, ‘Self-determination: the Nigeria/Biafra case’, World Politics, 24(4), 1972, pp 473–497. 15 T Adeniran, ‘The dynamics of peasant revolt: a conceptual analysis of the Agbekoya Parapo uprising in the Western State of Nigeria’, Journal of Black Studies, 4(4), 1974, pp 363–375. 16 EE Osaghae, Crippled Giant: Nigeria since Independence, Ibadan: John Archers, 2002, p 16. 17 O Osumah & I Aghedo, ‘Benchmarks and deficits: the leadership question in Nigeria’, Benin Journal of Social Sciences, 19(1–2), 2011, pp 104–115. 18 W Reno, ‘The roots of sectarian violence, and its cure’, in RI Rotberg (ed), Crafting the New Nigeria: Confronting the Challenges, London: Lynne Rienner, 2004, pp 219–238. 19 A Ikelegbe, ‘Popular and criminal violence as instruments of struggle in the Niger Delta region’, in C Obi & SA Rustard (eds), Oil and Insurgency in the Niger Delta: Managing the Complex Politics of Petro-Violence, London: Zed Books, 2011, pp 125–135. 20 T Johnson, ‘Boko Haram’, at http://www.efr.org/africa/boko-haram/p25739?cid¼nlc-public-the_world_this_week-link7-, accessed 2 September 2011. 21 CF Onuoha, ‘The Islamist challenge: Nigeria’s Boko Haram crisis explained’, African Security Review, 19(2), 2010, pp 54–67. 22 A Chris, ‘A thorn in the flesh of the nation’, Newswatch (Lagos), 21 November 2011, pp 12–19.

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THE BOKO HARAM UPRISING 23 ‘We lost 3 members, many still ready to die—Boko Haram’, Vanguard (Lagos), 19 December 2011, p 5. 24 Onuoha, ‘The Islamist challenge’. 25 K Omonobi, A Okoli, C Ndujihe & D Idonor, ‘FG panel calls for amnesty’, Vanguard, 27 September 2011, pp 1, 5. 26 S Olatunji, ‘Kaduna Boko Haram bomb factory explodes’, The Punch (Lagos), 20 December 2011, p 2. 27 Onuoha, ‘The Islamist challenge’. 28 Human Rights Watch, ‘Boko Haram: widens terror campaign’, New York, 2012, p 6, at www.hrw.org/ news/2012/01/23/nigeria-boko-haram-widens-terror-campaign, accessed 25 January 2012. 29 J Harnischfeger, Democratization and Islamic Law: The Sharia Conflict in Nigeria, Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 2008, pp 180–100. 30 SJ Omotola, ‘Combating poverty for sustainable human development in Nigeria: the continuing struggle’, Journal of Poverty, 12(4), 2008, pp 496–517. 31 Aghedo, ‘Conflict management and peace-building’, pp 95–113. 32 TA Imobighe, ‘Ethnicity and ethnic conflicts in Nigeria: an overview’, in Imobighe (ed), Civil Society and Ethnic Conflict Management in Nigeria, Ibadan: Spectrum Books, 2003, pp 13–35. 33 Osumah & Aghedo, ‘Benchmarks and deficits’, pp 104–115. 34 F Ludwig, ‘Christian–Muslim relations in Northern Nigeria since the introduction of shariah in 1999’, Journal of American Academy of Religion, 76(3), 2004, pp 602–637. 35 T Falola, Violence in Nigeria: The Crisis of Religious Politics and Secular Ideologies, New York: University of Rochester Press, 1998, pp 137–150. 36 Harnischfeger, Democratization and Islamic Law, pp 180–100. 37 O Osumah & E Oyibo, ‘Governance and violent conflicts in Nigeria: interrogating the linkage’, paper presented at the conference on ‘Culture and Society in Post-colonial Nigeria’, University of Ibadan, 28–30 November 2011. 38 ‘We didn’t kill the man who met with Obasanjo—Boko Haram’, The Punch, 19 September 2011, pp 1, 8. 39 I Nnochiri, ‘I am innocent, Ndume begs court’, Vanguard, 13 December 2011, p 1. 40 ‘We lost 3 members, many still ready to die’. 41 N Duquet, ‘Arms acquisition patterns and the dynamics of armed conflict: lessons from the Niger Delta’, International Studies Perspectives, 10, 2009, pp 169–185. 42 G Tsa, ‘Police no match for Boko Haram’, Daily Sun (Lagos), 12 December 2011, p 4. 43 Johnson, ‘Boko Haram’. 44 O Osumah & I Aghedo, ‘The open sore of a nation: corruption complex and internal security in Nigeria’, African Security, 3(3), 2010, pp 137–147. 45 ‘We lost 3 members, many still ready to die’. 46 Johnson, ‘Boko Haram’. 47 ‘Boko Haram got weapons, training from al-Qaeda–Niger’, The Punch, 26 January 2012, p 12. 48 A Muhammad, ‘Boko Haram, police shoot-out, 7 killed, 14 arrested’, Vanguard, 19 December 2011, pp 1, 5. 49 O Osumah & I Aghedo, ‘The open sore of a nation’. 50 H Umoru, ‘20m Nigerian youths unemployed—FG’, Vanguard, 9 December 2011, p 5. 51 Onuoha, ‘The Islamist challenge’. 52 Ibid. 53 Osumah & Aghedo, ‘The open sore of a nation’. 54 ‘Islam and peace in Borno’, address delivered by His Excellency, Hon Kashim Shettima, Executive Governor of Borno State, Saturday, 16 July, Sunday Tribune, 17 July 2011, p 2. 55 Johnson, ‘Boko Haram’.

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Notes on contributors Iro Aghedo is a lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Benin. He was educated at the universities of Ibadan and Benin in Nigeria, and at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Oarhe Osumah is a lecturer in the Department of Public Administration, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria. He is currently on the verge of completing a doctorate in Public Administration at the University of Benin.

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