Boko Haram Insurgency and the Counter-Terrorism Policy in Nigeria

Felix Akpan, Okonette Ekanem, AngelaOlofu- Adeoye


The Boko Haram fundamentalist Islamic group is the first insurgent organization in Nigeria to be classified as a terrorist organization by the United States of America and its allies. Since 2009 the violence the group has unleashed on the Nigerian State is unprecedented in the history of insurgency in the country. Several studies have intellectualized the origin, motive and other activities of this infamous rebellious group. To advance the discourse on Boko Haram, this study examines the measures the Nigerian government has taken so far to address the menace posed by the Boko Haram insurgents. Using library research and interview methods, the findings of the study indicate that first, that the path Government should not follow is using the same methods it used to combat the Niger Delta militants to address the Boko Haram insurgents. Second, that peace negotiation is most unlikely to succeed with insurgents like those of Boko Haram with vile ideologies, whose core demands undermine democracy and good governance. Rather, it is more likely to succeed with insurgent groups pursuing legitimate political or economic based grievances that are capable of deepening democracy and good governance, that is, if Government accepts their core demands. Third, that peace negotiation is most unlikely to succeed with Boko Haram insurgents, since they do not have the capacity to lead a provincial government, after disavowing terrorism. This study strongly recommends that to checkmate the threat posed by Boko Haram insurgents, Government should treat them like terrorists rather than freedom fighters.


Boko Haram; Insurgency; Freedom fighters; Counter-terrorism policy

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