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AN ASSESSMENT OF BRING BACK OUR GIRLS GROUP AND COUNTER TERRORISM IN NIGERIA

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: AN ASSESSMENT OF BRING BACK OUR GIRLS GROUP AND COUNTER TERRORISM IN NIGERIA
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Keywords:AN ASSESSMENT OF BRING BACK OUR GIRLS GROUP AND COUNTER TERRORISM IN NIGERIA


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RESEARCH BODY

ABSTRACT

Proactive measures are needed by human right groups for community development and salvaging the society from destruction and disaster. This study assesses the “Bring Back Our Girls” and counter terrorism in Nigeria. The study sought the opinion of some selected communities in Lagos metropolis. Survey research was utilized because it was seen as the most appropriate for collection of data needed for the study, where both primary and secondary methods of data collection were used. The study concludes that the act of terrorism has greatly affected some parts of the country e.g North West Nigeria, as the insurgency activities has a crippling effects on Nigerians and foreigners residing in Nigeria. The indiscriminate destruction of lives and property through terrorist attacks makes it a necessity for urgent actions to be taken. The use of brute force has obviously proved insufficient to checkmate their activities, rather it makes them have more recruits.

The study noted that citizen pressure in Nigeria is proving to be an effective mechanism to check the actions and/or inaction of the Nigerian Government and, in some cases, hold government accountable. Although the Bring Back Our Girls campaign may not have resulted in total adherence to citizens’ demands, the event have and continue to show that citizens can set change in motion. They have also proven to be one of the effective methods of conveying citizens’ concerns to the government, given their associated economic costs and government desire to prevent economic losses.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1      Background of the study

1.2      Statement of the problem

1.3      Objective of the study

1.4      Research questions

1.5      Significance of the study

1.6      Statement of hypothesis

1.7      Scope and limitation of study

1.8      Clarification of key concepts

CHAPTER TWO

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

2.1   Introduction

2.2       Terrorism in Nigeria: An Overview

2.2.1    Terrorism in Nigeria: Patterns and Trends

2.2.2    Terrorism in Nigeria: The Antecedents of Boko Haram

2.3       Counterterrorism measures in Nigeria

2.3.1    Counterterrorism in Nigeria: Previous measures

2.3.1    Counterterrorism in Nigeria: Prospective measures

2.4       “Bring Back Our Girls” Global Outrage Campaign: An Overview

CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY

3.1   Design of study

3.2   Sample survey method

3.3       Area of study

3.4       Population sample for the study

3.5    Sources of data collection

3.6    Validity of the instrument

CHAPTER FOUR

DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION

CHAPTER FIVE

SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1       Summary of findings

5.2       Conclusion

CHAPTER ONE

  • Introduction

Terrorism is globally becoming a household word as there is no nation that is completely absolved from its effect (Alao, Atere and Alao, 2012). It has become a frightening phenomenon and a concern for many governments and citizens around the world which draws our attention to the vulnerability of modern societies. Although terrorist tactics have been in use for a very long time, terrorists’ increasing use of sophisticated weaponry and the consequences in terms of increased potential for mass casualties have led scholars in the social and political sciences to place high priority on understanding the “causes” of terrorism and the means by which it might be prevented (Isabelle, 2004). Incontrovertibly, terrorism in the world at large has risen to a sublime and the global community in a bid to stave-off this act which has constituted a threat to global peace and stability unanimously agreed to counter terrorism in all its forms and to also bring its perpetrators to justice.

Terrorism is an insidious act common and conducted daily over decades and has been responsible for the physical and or structural violence experienced by many people in Nigeria (Udama, 2013). Terrorism has suddenly become a serious challenge Nigeria has been grappling with. The contemporary Nigeria society is engulfed by terrible acts of Terrorism. Be it kidnapping by the Niger Delta Militants or bomb attacks by members of the Boko Haram sect.

These acts of terrorism have seriously caused untold hardship to the Nigerian populace. The hemorrhagic acts of the Boko Haram and Niger Delta militants in Nigeria warrants an exhaustive

discourse on terrorism and counter terrorism in Nigeria.

For the Nigerian nation, the threat of the terrorist activities of Boko Haram has brought to the front-burner issues of core interests of national security in her foreign policy with her immediate neighbours (Ate, 2011). In recent times in Nigeria there had been several killings of innocent civilians by the Boko Haram sect most especially targeted killings of Police and Army security forces and bombing of police stations.

The insecurity situation has worsened since 2012 with the Nigerian government admitting that its

security forces intercepted over 200 rocket launchers and rocket propelled grenades from terrorist gangs at the Nigeria borders with Chad and Niger Republic before June 2012. The new weapons which are explosive projectile arms deployed to attack targets from long ranges are expected to replace the Improvised Explosive Devices currently being used by the Islamic BokoHaram insurgents in Nigeria, and it is believed by Nigeria’s security agencies that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, with the collaboration of terrorists in Iran, Yemen and Syria, that were supplying the weapons to the terrorists in Nigeria (Ogunseye, 2012).

On 15 April 2014, terrorists abducted about 276 female students from a college in Chibok in Borno state, Nigeria. The abduction was widely attributed to Boko Haram. It was reported that the group had taken the girls to neighbouring Cameroon and Chad where they were to be sold into marriages at a price below a Dollar. The abduction of another eight girls was also reported later. These kidnappings raised public protests, with some protesters holding placards bearing the Twitter tag #bringbackourgirls which had caught international attention. Several countries pledged support to the Nigerian government and to help their military with intelligence gathering on the whereabouts of the girls and the operational camps of Boko Haram.

1.1 Background of the study

The #BringBackOurGirls movement is an online advocacy that translated into offline citizen activity and gaining international recognition. The movement began due to tepid action from the Nigerian Government after the kidnap of 276 school girls from a secondary school boarding house in the Chibok area of Borno State on 14 April 2014 by the terrorist group, Boko Haram (Bring Back Our Girls, 2015).

The kidnapping was followed by silence on the part of the Nigerian Government, and an immediate denial that it had occurred. In the aftermath of the kidnapping, the former first lady, Dame Patience Jonathan accused protesters from the Chibok community of attempting to embarrass the President (CNN, 2014). A sense of skepticism over the kidnap of these girls seemed to envelop the government, as many viewed it as a political detraction created to draw attention from the World Economic Forum Africa (WEFA), due then to be hosted by Nigeria in May 2014.

On 4 May 2014, the President of Nigeria in a televised presidential media chat claimed that non-cooperation from the parents of the missing girls hampered government efforts to locate the missing girls. By then, the online campaign hash tagged #BringBackOurGirls had translated into organized action offline, led by the former government minister Dr Oby Ezekwesili and civil society leaders.

The protests garnered a lot of international attention, with prominent individuals from all over the world taking up the cause. The international media consisting of CNN, Al Jazeera and others covered the rallies. During the WEF conference in Abuja, the issue of the kidnapped girls was frequently brought up, forcing the Nigerian President to address it during the conference. Also, the former United States President, Barack Obama offered to send soldiers to support the Nigerian army in retrieving the girls (AA, 2014).

The international exposure successfully placed the usually secretive Nigerian military under scrutiny. The shortcomings of the military have become more obvious as the United States military became briefly involved in the search. The Pentagon’s principal director for African Affairs accused the Nigerian military of pervasive corruption and theft of funding, which limited the Army’s ability to curtail Boko Haram (Friend, 2014).

The effort to rescue the girls was ongoing in August 2015, and several other groups of abducted women and children were rescued between March and June 2015. Although the Chibok girls have not yet been rescued, the campaign illustrates the power of the people to force government action on an issue and has managed to keep the situation of these girls in the spotlight. The immediate government response to the campaign was to establish a fact-finding committee on the abduction of the Chibok girls, charged with providing information on how the abduction took place. The committee submitted its report on 20 June 2014 and concluded that 276 girls were abducted, 57 escaped and 219 are still missing (Usman, 2014).

Although not necessarily a direct outcome of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, the Safe Schools Initiative (SSI) was launched at the World Economic Forum 2014 (Africa) in response to the abduction and increased level of insecurity in educational institutions in northern Nigeria.

On October 12, 2016, there was a new lease of life as 21 out of 276 of the Chibok girls were released. This brought hope to the “Bring Back Our Girls Group” as they hailed the Nigeria military for the negotiated release. The group release a statement saying:

“This wonderful development confirms what we have always known about the capacity of our government to rescue our #ChibokGirls”.

While awaiting further details, we take this opportunity to salute the work of our security services at the front lines – the commitment, resilience and tireless efforts of our members of Multi-national Joint Task Force and civilian JTF.

The group also raised their hope in the government counter terrorism efforts and the release of the remaining 255 girls with this statement:

“Following this development, we trust that our government will continue to work to keep the safety, security and well-being of the other girls a high priority.”

“We further urge the international community to continue to support government’s effort to rescue all other abducted Nigerians, so that parents, the Chibok community, the nation and the world can finally put an end to this nightmare once and for all.”

The Nigerian military was reported to have retaken most of the areas previously controlled by Boko Haram in North-Eastern Nigeria as well as the Islamic sect stronghold, Sambisa Forest. In this process, the Nigerian military have been able to release thousands of  men and women from camps of the insurgents.

Likewise, the Nigerian government has equally seek the support of the United State of Americas  in this direction and with joint US/ Nigeria military action hope rises for the total elimination of Boko haram insurgency in Nigeria.

1.2     Statement of the problem

The threat to lives and property posed by terrorism in Nigeria had escalated in recent times leading to the death of thousands of Nigerians, loss of property, while many are being held hostage. Consequently the Nigerian government through its military and security forces declared a total war against the insurgency.

History has records of several social mobilization movements with undeniable impacts on the societies where they were carried out and records of several others that failed to achieve what they advocated for. Some of these mobilization movements have varieties of ideologies; some with revolutionary objectives, and some with conservative inclinations. Many of these movements are locally based while several others are globally linked just like in the case of “Bring Back Our Girls” global outrage campaign, which cut across cultures and boundaries of nations.

The knowledge of the basic problems to be addressed in advocating for a change, through social mobilization movement campaign like the “Bring Back Our Girls”, has consequently crippled the effectiveness of best practices and most of the positive impacts and outcomes that these collective activities would have had on the society. In contributing to the existing academic body of knowledge, this research tries to fill this gap in other to assess the counter terrorism efforts of the Nigerian government.

1.3 Objective of the study

The Nigerian governmental forces launched an offensive in the Borno region in an attempt to dislodge Boko Haram fighters after a state of emergency was declared in 3 states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa in northeastern Nigeria, badly affected by the insurgency. Starting in late January 2015, a coalition of military forces from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger began a counter-insurgency campaign against Boko Haram sect. This was as a result of pressures from national and international organizations like “Bring Back Our Girls Group” on the Nigeria government to put an end to the menace that resulted into killings and kidnappings of thousands of her citizenry.

Therefore the objectives of this study is:

  1. To assess the trends and patterns of terrorism in Nigeria
  2. To look at the antecedent of Boko Haram as a terrorist group in Nigeria
  3. To evaluate the counter terrorism measures adopted by Nigeria government to curb the menace of terrorism
  4. To examine the social mobilization movements of the “Bring Back Our Girls Group” and its impacts on the societies.

1.4   Research questions

To be able to assess the “Bring Back Our Girls Group” and counter terrorism in Nigeria, the following research questions have been put forward as a guide;

  1. To what extent has the Boko Haram insurgency affected Nigerians?
  2. What are the possible factors hindering the efforts of Nigeria government towards tackling the menace of terrorism?
  3. What are the counter terrorism measures adopted by Nigeria government to effectively to curb this menace?
  4. To what extent do you think the “Bring Back Our Girls Group” have succeeded so far in its campaign?

1.5    Significance of the study

The study intends to assess the effect of “Bring Back Our Girls Group” and the effort of the Nigeria government towards counterterrorism, as well as the measures taken by the Nigerian government through diplomatic initiative and its military and security forces against the Boko Haram insurgency in the country.

1.6    Statement of hypothesis

1   Ho:  Boko Haram insurgency has not affected Nigeria as a whole

Hi:   Boko Haram insurgency has affected Nigeria as a whole

2   Ho:  The Nigeria government have not done enough to tackle the menace of terrorism

Hi:   The Nigeria government have done enough to tackle the menace of terrorism

3   Ho:   The counter terrorism measures adopted by Nigeria government have not been effective to curb this menace.

Hi:   The counter terrorism measures adopted by Nigeria government have been effective to curb this menace.

  1. Ho: The “Bring Back Our Girls Group” have not succeeded so far in its campaign

Hi:    The “Bring Back Our Girls Group” have succeeded so far in its campaign

1.7       Scope and limitation of study

This work is specially intended to assess the counterterrorism efforts of the Nigeria government and the Bring Back Our Girls Group. Nigeria has had it fair share of terrorists aggression, the inability of the authority to rise to its feet in combating terrorism has placed the country in a dangerous position.The decision taken by authority is rather too slow to really challenge the scourge of domestic terrorism in the country. Likewise the government is also not sleeping in its effort to address the situation but rather it needed concerted effort for all meaningful and reasonable Nigerians to achieve its aim of reducing the threat of terrorism.

The research work limited by time, finance, transport, inadequate information and materials.

1.8    Clarification of key concepts

TERRORISM DEFINED

A Clan- distant/secretive under cleared and unconventional warfare wedge carried out without Humanitarian consideration.

BOKO HARAM

The Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009, when the jihadistrebel group, Boko Haram started an armed rebellion against the government of Nigeria. In 2013, more than 1,000 died in the conflict. The violence escalated dramatically in 2014, with 10,849 deaths. The insurgency has since spread to Cameroon, Chad, and Niger thus becoming a major regional conflicts.

Keywords: AN ASSESSMENT OF BRING BACK OUR GIRLS GROUP AND COUNTER TERRORISM IN NIGERIA


ju


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