TERRORISM AND ITS EFFECT TO THE SOCIOECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA. A CASE STUDY OF BOKO HARAM IN BORNO STATE
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Terrorism and insurgency is globally becoming a household word as there is no nation that is completely absolved from its effect. This is the reason why Rourke (2008) observes that war, terrorism and other forms of transnational political violence are in many ways more threatening today than ever before as civilian casualty has been on increase. It is however difficult to evolve a single definition for the term “terrorism”. The difficulty emanates from the lack of consensus or unified perspective among nations or scholars as to what could be regarded as terrorist act. Hence, terrorism has been described variously as both a tactic and strategy; a crime and a holy duty; a justified reaction to oppression and inexcusable abomination since it is a function of whose point of view is being represented.
Indeed, the worldwide manifestation of terrorism and insurgency has been evident in Africa, but also in Nigeria. With particular reference to Nigeria, the phenomenon has found expression in the emergence of Boko Haram insurgency (2001-date). Since its advent, the sectarian insurgency has wrecked immense havoc in the country, especially by “using explosives and firearms with gruesome, fatal” consequences (Awake, 2006).
The alarming level of terrorists attacks in different parts of the country, leaving unpalatable consequences for the nation’s economy and its growth. To address the threat to national security and combat the increasing waves of crime the federal government of Nigeria in the 2013 budget made a huge allocation to security, and the national assembly passed the Anti-Terrorism Act in 2011(Ewetan, 2013). Despite these efforts, the level of terrorism and insecurity in the country is still high, and a confirmation of this is the low ranking of Nigeria in the Global Peace Index (GPI, 2012). Despite the plethora of security measures taken to address the daunting challenges of terrorism and insecurity in Nigeria, government efforts have not produced the desired positive result. This has compelled the Nigerian government in recent time to request for foreign assistance from countries such as USA, Israel, and EU countries to combat the rising waves of terrorism and insecurity. Amidst the deteriorating security situation in the country, Nigeria is also confronted with daunting developmental challenges which pose serious threat to socio-economic development. These developmental challenges include endemic rural and urban poverty, high rate of unemployment, debilitating youth unemployment, low industrial output, unstable and deteriorating exchange rate, high inflation rate, inadequate physical and social infrastructure, very large domestic debt, and rising stock of external debt (Ewetan, 2013)
Some scholars in conceptualizing security placed emphasis on the absence of threats to peace, stability, national cohesion, political and socio-economic objectives of a country (Igbuzor, 2011; Oche, 2001; Nwanegbo and Odigbo, 2013). Thus there is a general consensus in the contemporary literature that security is vital for national cohesion, peace and sustainable development. It is therefore apparent that national security is a desideratum, sine qua non for economic growth and development of any country (Oladeji and Folorunso, 2007). The areas affected by the Boko Haram insurgency have been devoid of virtually all economic activities. In the intelligence community there is a consensus that security is not the absence of threats or security issues, but the existence of a robust mechanism to respond proactively to the challenges posed by these threats with expediency, expertise, and in real time.