GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR: ASSESSMENT OF STATE RESPONSES TO TERRORISM AND INSURGENCY IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background of the Study
A fundamental responsibility of the state is the security of the life and property of its citizens. Others include the protection of its territoriality and sovereignty and the guarantying of its socio-economic and political stability. However, since the mid-twentieth century, this protective function of the state, its sovereignty and territoriality, as well as the economy have been under threat due to the upsurge in militant Islamism and globalisation of terrorism. This threat has been propelled by the emergence and rise of “Violent Non-State Actors” (VNSAs) (Williams, 2008:1), who have taken advantage of the instruments and process of globalisation to carry out ferocious attacks on citizens, institutions and critical infrastructure of the state. Although terrorism with its negative consequences dates back to pre-historic time, otherwise referred to as “antiquity” (Chaliand and Blin, 2007:79), its prevalence and escalation have been accentuated in the twenty-first century, especially since the September 11, 2001 bombing of the World Trade Centre (WTC) in the United States by the Al-Qaeda terrorist network. That attack has been followed by many similar attacks in Africa, Asia, Europe, and other parts of the world.
As at December 2015, a total of nine terrorist attacks have occurred in the United States since September 11, 2001 including the December 2015 Inland Regional Centre attack in San Bernardino, California described as “horrific acts”, during which Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 persons and injured 17 others (Khomami, 2015). Across Asia and Europe, the lists of major terrorist attacks since September 2001 include the October 12, 2002 car bomb in the Indonesian holiday island of Bali that killed 202 persons, the March 11, 2004 coordinated bomb attacks on four Spanish commuter trains in Madrid that killed 191 persons, the September 1, 2004 massacre of 330 persons (mostly women and children) by Islamist terrorist group in Beslan, North Ossetia, an autonomous Russian Republic, the July 7,
2005 coordinated attacks by suicide bombers on London subway trains and buses that killed 52 commuters, the November 26, 2008 60-hour siege by 10 militants from Pakistan in Mumbai, India that killed 166 persons, the May 24, 2014 murder of four men at the Jewish Museum of Belgium, Brussels, by Mehdi Nemmouche, a French national with ties to Islamic State, the December 16, 2015 massacre at a military-run school in north-western Pakistan that killed 148 persons by Taliban gunmen, the January 7, 2015 killing of 17 persons at Paris-based satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the July 20, 2015 suicide bombing in a Kurdish border town, Turkey that killed 31 persons, the October 10, 2015 twin suicide bombing that killed 95 persons in Ankara, Turkey, the November 12, 2015 double suicide bombing in a Beirut suburb that killed 43 persons, and the November 13, 2015 series of coordinated attacks that killed 129 persons in Paris, France (Wall Street Journal, 2015). In Africa, however, terrorism-related violence dates back to the late 1990s. On August 7, 1998, two massive bombs simultaneously exploded outside the United States embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, killing 224 people and injuring 5,000 others. Responsibility was quickly traced to Al-Qaeda. Four years afterwards, Al-Qaeda operatives struck again, killing 15 people in an Israeli-owned hotel near Mombasa, Kenya, and simultaneously fired missiles at an Israeli passenger jet taking off from Mombasa airport (Lyman and Morrison, 2004:1). However, since September 11, 2001, the continent, has, experienced significant increase in planned and actual attacks by terrorist networks. Weak domestic security, governance failure, porous borders, proliferation of weapons from destabilised countries in the aftermath of the Arab Spring and globalisation have provided terrorist groups the leeway to carryout audacious attacks in Africa including Nigeria (Onuoha, 2012).
As at 2014, Africa had become a haven for assortment of terrorist networks and groups that are closely inter-connected with international affiliations and linkages (see Appendix I).
This was supported by the 2014 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report that 82 per cent of people killed in terrorist attacks across the world were just in five countries namely, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria. The Index also identified Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Uganda as being at risk of increased terrorism due to the presence of the following four factors – extrajudicial killing, lack of women’s political rights, lack of intergroup cohesion and political instability (Global Terrorism Index, 2014:2).
A study “Terrorism in North Africa and the Sahel in 2014”, conducted for Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Inter-University Centre for Terrorism Studies and International Law Institute in February 2015, also showed that North Africa, the Sahel and part of the West African sub-region had become “New Terrorist Hot Spot” described by the study as Africa’s “Arc of Instability” (Alexander, 2015:12) (See Appendices II and III). According to the study, in the Maghreb and West African Sahel; consisting of Algeria, Chad, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia, terrorist attacks have been on the increase since September 2001 with 2014 recording the highest number of attacks.
In Nigeria, there were the activities of the Maitatsine, a domestic Islamic fundamentalist group that operated prominently in Kano and Yola in the 1980s.
Under the leadership of Muhammed Marwa, The Maitatsine (one who cures) sect on December 18, 1980 launched attacks on police formations, government establishments, churches, Christians, and moderate Muslims. The attacks led to the death of four Policemen, injury of many others including civilians and the burning of houses and public buildings (see Falola, 1990). However, the growing audacity of Boko Haram, among other terrorist groups in Nigeria since 2009 and the intractable nature of their operations have become part of the several developments that have made Nigeria a country of growing security concern.
Following an anti-government revolt it waged in July 2009 that attracted worldwide attention, Boko Haram attacks have escalated, targeting security and law enforcement institutions, critical public infrastructure, community and religious leaders, politicians, centres of worship, markets, schools, hospitals, media houses and other civilian targets. Its operational tactics have equally evolved from lowly planned mere open confrontations with state security forces and agencies to increasing use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), targeted assassinations, ambush, drive-by shootings, abductions and kidnapping, suicide bombings and acquisition of territories (insurgency) (Ogbonnaya, Ogujiuba and Stigler, 2014).
One negative consequence of terrorism is that it poses significant threat to human security. Secondly, it threatens international peace and security and challenges the sovereignty and territoriality of nation-states as well as the stability and legitimacy of political regimes (United Nations Security Council, 2001a). In Nigeria for instance, the operations of Boko Haram have as at December 2015 resulted in the death of over 30 000 persons (including women, children and security operatives) and the displacement of about 1.6 million people and 17,735 refugees (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 2015).
The group has also captured and declared some parts of Nigeria as its sovereign Caliphate. In Mali, the ethnic Touré crisis facilitated by the Islamist Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith) and an assortment of terrorist organisations, triggered a refugee exodus and shortages of food and medicine in front-line towns and regions. Between 2011 and 2013, over 400 000 people were forced from their homes in Mali including nearly 150 000 who took shelter in neighbouring countries (Francis, 2013; International Crisis Group, 2013; York, 2013; Onuoha and Thurston, 2013). In Somalia, governmental operations and state functions have been crippled by the operations of Al-Shaabab, a domestic terrorist and religious fundamentalist group. Al-Shabaab has also made inroads into major cities in Kenya and Uganda in reaction to Kenya’s and Uganda’s supports of the United States-led multilateral force against terrorism in Somalia (Otiso, 2009; Aronson, 2013; Blanchard, 2013; International Crisis Group, 2014a). In Algeria, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has been fighting to overthrow its democratic government and institute an Islamic State based on Sharia laws (William and Jaclyn, 2011; Dario and Riccardo, 2011).
Thirdly, terrorism’s negative consequences on international and local economies are well established in the extant literature. The preponderance of terrorist groups with international linkages within the West African sub-region and the Sahel for instance, has impacted negatively on sub-regional economies. Boko Haram, AQIM and Al-Sabaab engage in smuggling (mostly cigarettes, drugs, arms and vehicles), money laundering, extortion, kidnapping for ransom as a means of raising funds, and racketeering across the neighbouring borders of Chad, Libya, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
The groups have severally attacked Algerian, Nigerian, Spanish, French and US economic interests within the sub-region (Ba, 2013; Aronson, 2014; Piet, 2014). This has not only threatened the free movement of persons, goods and services within the sub-region, which is a fundamental objective of ECOWAS, it has also threaten the inflow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). In turn, this has impacted negatively on or retard the economic growth of member states in particular, and the sub-region in general. According to the 2014 EY Attractiveness Survey Report, “in 2013, the number of new FDI projects in Africa declined for the second consecutive year, by 3.1 per cent. Job creation resulting from FDI projects also slowed in 2013. This was largely caused by the decline in North Africa and part of West Africa due to regional political uncertainty and terrorist operations” (EY, 2014:6). The overall consequences of this at the sub-regional level is that the annual percentage growth rate of the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of some ECOWAS countries, especially those experiencing terrorism-induced security crises such as Nigeria, Mali and neighbouring States like Niger and Cote d’Ivoire, among others, have been on the decrease since 2009 (see World Bank, 2013).
Consequently, attempts by state and non-state actors to contend with the escalation of international terrorism has since the September 11, 2001 bombing of the World Trade Centre, assumed varied and multilateral dimensions. This is predicated upon the realisation that international terrorism, as a global phenomenon requires global concerted efforts. According to Oyebode (2012), the international consensus against terrorism is motivated by the necessity apprehended by most states to ensure stability and regularity in international intercourse. A situation, which encourages forceful change of government or succumbs to the wiles of forces inimical to government by law, is quite simply, untenable in today’s world.
Thus, at its 4385th meeting on September 28, 2001, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 1373 and agreed “to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts” (United Nations Security Council, 2001a:1). The Resolution also called on all states to work together urgently to prevent and suppress terrorist acts, including through increased cooperation and full implementation of the relevant international conventions relating to terrorism. It also recognised the need for states to complement international cooperation by taking additional measures to prevent and suppress, in their territories through all lawful means, the financing and preparation of any acts of terrorism. Most fundamentally, the Resolution established “a Committee of the Security Council”, consisting of all the members of the Council to monitor the implementation of the resolution. This marked the commencement of the Global War on Terror (GWoT).
Among other resolutions, the UNSC also at its 4413th Meeting of November 12, 2001, adopted Resolution 1377 reaffirming that “a sustained, comprehensive approach involving the active participation and collaboration of all Member States of the United Nations, and in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law, is essential to combat the scourge of international terrorism” (United Nations Security Council, 2001b:1).
Thus, using Nigeria as a focus, and against the background of terrorist activities, this study seeks to assess the effectiveness and adequacy of state responses to terrorism and insurgency within the context of global war on terror.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Since the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, incidents of terrorist activities were first reported in Nigeria in 2009 when Boko Haram, otherwise called Jamāʻat Ahl as-Sunnah lid-da ʻwa wal-Jihād (people committed to the propagation of the Sunnah and Jihad), a domestic Islamist terrorist organisation under the leadership of Mohamed Yusuf organised a large-scale uprising in Bauchi, Kano, Katsina and Yobe States. Some of the most notable terrorist acts in Nigeria since then include, the October 1, 2010 Independence-day bombing at the Eagle Square in Abuja; the June 16, 2011 bombing of the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters in Abuja; the August 26, 2011 bombing of the UN House in Abuja; the December 25, 2011 bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State; the April 15, 2014 abduction of 276 female students of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, otherwise called the “Chibok Girls”, among others.
Given the threats posed to the security, sovereignty, territoriality and economy of the Nigerian state by terrorism and insurgency, the war against terrorism by the Nigerian state has since 2009 been executed on all fronts. The Federal Government has employed legislative, legal, military, fiscal and diplomatic response measures in the campaign against terrorism. Thus, some Anti-Terrorism Legislations (ATLs) such as the Terrorism Prevention Act (TPA) 2011 were enacted while others such as the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act (MLPA) 2011 and the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Law Enforcement and Administration Act 2003, were amended to provide for some legal measures at combating terrorism and insurgency. Under these legal regimes, some masterminds of terrorist acts and their implicated sponsors have been arrested and tried in various courts of law across the country. Also, Nigeria has ratified the ECOWAS Counter-Terrorism and Implementation Strategy, 2013.
As part of military and strategic responses to combat terrorism and insurgency, the Federal Government on May 14, 2013 declared State of Emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States. These are States with the highest frequency of terrorist attacks in Nigeria. A fall out of this response was the mobilisation and deployment of a special Joint Military and Police Task Force (JTF) to those States and some other States across Nigeria. The first phase of the State of Emergency ended on April 25, 2014 and on May 21, 2014, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria endorsed the extension of the State of Emergency in the aforementioned States. On May 30, 2014, the Federal Government also adopted the National Counter-Terrorism Strategy (NACTEST). Other military responses taken in the war against terrorism include Nigeria’s deployment of its military contingents and participation in the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA), which sought to dislodge the ethnic Touré rebels and the Islamic terrorist groups seeking to overthrow the government in Mali. According to Ali and Igbonwelundu (2013) and Madike (2013), Nigeria’s participation in AFISMA, among other things, was aimed at routing and completely dislodging the Islamic jihadist groups including Boko Haram, which have their operational and coordinating base in northern Mali.
To ensure effective and efficient implementation of the aforementioned military and strategic responses, budgetary allocations to the security sector in Nigeria has since 2010 been on the increase; from N730.379 billion in 2010 to N777.367 billion as at 2015 (see Appropriation Acts, 2010 to 2015 as passed by the National Assembly).
At the diplomatic level and in line with the UNSC Resolutions 1373, 1377 (both of 2001), 1390 of 2002, 1535 of 2004, and 1624 of 2005, which affirm the imperative of combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations by member states, Nigeria has also ratified various anti-terrorism conventions, entered into bilateral and multilateral agreements with the British, French and the United States governments, among other members of the international community and identified with several international anti-terrorism organisations with a view to effectively combating terrorism and insurgency in all its ramifications.
The country has also stimulated the revival of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), a security framework that was established in 1964 with Cameroon, Chad and Niger, as members. This has led to the formation of a sub-regional security operative, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF).
The foregoing anti-terrorism responses by the government notwithstanding, terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria have remained on the ascendancy. In 2013, the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) listed Nigeria among 10 countries with the highest number of terrorist attacks. According to the Database, there were a total of 341 terrorist attacks in Nigeria in 2013 that resulted in 2003 fatalities. Arising from these data, Boko Haram was listed by GTD as “the 3rd Most Lethal Terrorist Organisation” out of a total of 10, coming behind the Taliban and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (Global Terrorism Database, 2013:15). Again, in 2014, Global Terrorism Index ranked Nigeria as the 4th most affected country with regards to incidence of terrorist attacks out of 162 countries surveyed. According to the Index, 82 per cent of people killed in terrorist attacks across the world were just in five countries namely Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria (Global Terrorism Index, 2014:2). In 2015, the Global Terrorism Index reported that “terrorism remains highly concentrated with most of the activities occurring in just five countries — Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. These countries accounted for 78 per cent of the lives lost in 2015. The report further indicated that Nigeria is the 3rd most impacted country by terrorism out 162 countries profiled, experiencing the largest increase in terrorist activity with 7,512 deaths in 2015, an increase of over 300 per cent since 2013 (Global Terrorism Index, 2015:2). Most fundamentally, between 2009 and December, 2015, it is estimated that the operations of Boko Haram have resulted in the death of over 30 000 persons and the displacement of about 1.6 million people and 17,738 refugees in Nigeria (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 2015). As Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations Secretary General, once described the situation, “terrorist attacks have become an almost daily occurrence in Nigeria” (Daily Independent, 2014).
1.3 Research Questions
The escalation and prevalence of terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria despite government’s anti-terrorism responses have raised the following questions;
1. How adequate are Nigeria’s anti-terrorism legislations in dealing with the escalation and prevalence of terrorism and insurgency in the country?
2. How adequately equipped are the military and security institutions in Nigeria to effectively respond to the escalation and prevalence of terrorism and insurgency in the country?
3. To what extent can it be said that state anti-terrorism campaign in Nigeria is adequately funded to ensure effective responses to terrorism and insurgency in the country?
4. To what extent have the porosity of Nigeria’s national borders and the underdevelopment of the border communities impeded the effectiveness of ant-terrorism responses by the Nigerian state?
5. To what extent can it be said that the initial non-cooperation of Nigeria’s immediate neighbours to its anti-terrorism campaign aided the escalation of terrorist activities, especially within the Lake Chad Basin sub-region?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to assess the adequacy and effectiveness of government’s responses to and policy measures against terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria. The subsidiary objectives include to:
1. Assess the adequacy of Nigeria’s anti-terrorism legislations in dealing with the escalation and prevalence of terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria;
2. Ascertain whether the Nigerian military and other security institutions are adequately equipped to effectively respond to the escalation and prevalence of terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria;
3. Ascertain whether state anti-terrorism campaign is adequately funded to ensure effective response to terrorism and insurgency in the country;
4. Ascertain the extent to which the porous nature of Nigeria’s borders and the underdevelopment of the border communities have impeded the effectiveness of ant-terrorism responses by the state; and
5. Ascertain the extent to which the non-cooperation of Nigeria’s immediate neighbours at the initial stage of its anti-terrorism campaign aided the escalation of terrorist activities within the Lake Chad Basin region.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The prevalence of terrorist activities in Nigeria despite state anti-terrorism responses since 2010 and the challenges posed by terrorism to national security in the country remain some of the most widely contentious issues in contemporary security and policy discourses. It therefore, provides an interesting and important area of scholarly enquiry for students of Political Science in general and International Relations in particular. Thus, this study to examining state responses and policy measures against terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria is considered significant because its outcome would be of immense benefit and assistance to the Nigerian state in the formulation of relevant anti-terrorism legislations and policies in their efforts to contend with the challenges of international terrorism. Secondly, policy and security analysts, researchers, scholars and students with interests in security studies would find this work useful as it will provide detailed and methodological insights into the various dimensions of local and international terrorism and the responses of state and non-state actors against it. Thirdly, the study would make specific and significant contributions to existing pool of body of literature on the Global War on Terror in general and Nigeria’s responses to terrorism in particular. Finally, it is also expected that the study would stimulate further debates, studies and researches in this area with a view to expanding the frontiers and parameters of knowledge in terrorism and insurgency in particular and security studies in general.
1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study
In terms of issue areas of coverage, the study is limited to issues around strategic responses and policy measures adopted by the Nigerian state in its campaign against terrorism and insurgency. Specifically, attention was focused on the effectiveness and adequacy of anti-terrorism legislations, nature and strategic dimensions of counter-terrorism operations, fiscal and logistical provisions for the military and security institutions and Nigeria’s relationship with its immediate neighbours. In addition, the impact of terrorism and insurgency on Nigeria national security and economy were highlighted.
In terms of time frame, the study covered from 2010 to 2015 though references were made to periods before this. The reason for the selection of this period was informed by the fact that the GWoT, which was flagged off in 2001 following UNSC Resolution 1373 of September 28, 2001 among other Resolutions became operational in Nigeria from 2010 after a series of terrorist attacks that started in 2009. Furthermore, being an on-going process, the choice of the period provided enough time for the study to identify important indicators for analysis in order to draw specific and valid inferences from the analysis and make relevant policy recommendations.
The conduct of this study was however, limited by the inability of the researcher to access as much relevant security documents and information on Nigeria’s counter-terrorism policies and strategies, as may have been desired. This is due to the classified nature of such documents and information as well as the degree of secrecy given to security information in Nigeria. Secondly, given that security agencies targeted for administration of questionnaires were reluctant to participate in responding to the questionnaire, the study resorted to the use of secondary data. This limitation however, did not significantly impact on the outcome of the study given that secondary data utilized were valid and in most cases the data were from public institutions.
1.7 Definition of Key Concepts
In this study, except where otherwise stated, the following concepts are used as defined below; Global War on Terror: The term ‘war on terror’ was first used on September 16, 2001 by President George W. Bush of the United States, in a televised address to a joint session of the Congress on military strategies adopted by the United States in response to the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States by the Al-Qaeda terrorist group (Bazinet, 2011). Over time, the concept and the ensuing strategies adopted in the “war” have also been referred to by different names other than the “War on Terror”. It has also been known as, Bush’s War on Terror, the War against Al-Qaeda, and Global War on Terror. This study adopted the term “Global War on Terror.” This refers to the ongoing international military campaign by state and non-state actors against organisations and groups identified as terrorists that. This campaign started after the UNSC adopted Resolution 1373 of September 28, 2001 that formed the Counter-Terrorism Committed pursuant to this Resolution.