A Study Of Public Perception Of The Success Or Failure Achieved In The Fight Against Boko Haram Terrorism In Nigeria: Evidence From Gombe Metropolis 2015-2019
1.1 Background to the Study
It is pertinent to explain further the meaning of Boko Haram. Boko Haram (usually translated as “Western education is a sin”), is a militant Islamist organization based in northeastern Nigeria. The sect was founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002 and seeks to establish Islamic state in Nigeria (Farouk, 2015 and (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boko_Haram). The group’s official name in Arabic is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad, meaning people committed to the propagation of the tradition and jihad. Boko Haram proposes that interaction with the Western world is forbidden, and also opposes the government of Nigeria. It became militant in 2009 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boko_Haram).
It is therefore saying the obvious that Boko Haram is a terrorist organization. This is in view of the fact that they unleash terror anywhere they go. Terrorism has being defined severally and differently by scholars all over the world. According to Eze (2013) cited in Okoli and Iortyer (2014:40), the United States Department of Defense defines terrorism as “unlawful use of force or violence against individuals or property to coerce and intimidate government to accept political, religious or ideological objectives”. This definition rightly captures the manner in which the Boko Haram insurgents carry out their operations in Nigeria.
The North East (NE) Geopolitical Zone of Nigeria covers close to one-third (280,419km2) of Nigeria‘s land area (909,890km2). The zone comprises 6 states: Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe ( National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2011). The six states have not been entirely carved out based on geopolitical location, but rather states with similar cultures, ethnic groups, and common history were classified in the same zone (Eze, Okpala, Cyril, Ogbodo & Joseph, 2014). North-Eastern State is a former administrative division of Nigeria. It was created on 27 May 1967 from parts of the Northern Region, its capital was the city of Maiduguri. Additionally, the Zone shares international borders with three countries: Republic of Cameroon to the East, Republic of Chad to the North East and Niger Republic to the North. NBS (2010) Statistics show that, the North East of Nigeria has the worst socioeconomic conditions in the Country. Its average absolute poverty rate put at sixty-nine percent (69.0%) is above the national average of sixty point nine percent (60.9%). This characterizes the Zone as having the highest rate of poverty in Nigeria which was one among the many causes of insurgency coupled with the rate of unemployment in the country. (James, 2006) (See Figure 1).
Insurgency refers to a violent move by a person or a group of persons to resist or oppose the enforcement of law or running of government or revolt against constituted authorities of the state or of taking part in insurrection. The study looked at the insurgence of Boko Haram and insurgence as an act of terrorism. From the foregoing, is a crime against public order because it is a pattern of internal disturbance and tension that poses serious problems which threatens the nation, the advent of terrorism and insurgency is not just a transitional political and violent phenomena but one that threatens family cohesion
having uprooted and destabilized many families. Terrorism and insurgency have engendered a growing dimension in the political and religious disconnections among groups with adverse effects on a number of families globally. Njoku and Nwachuku (2015) noted that in the North East, Nigeria, especially in Bornu, Yobe and Adamawa states (declared states of emergency), there have been the adverse effects of terrorism and insurgency which have led to complete desertion of villages which are prone to attacks by terrorists and insurgents. Many people have been injured and others have lost their lives due to restiveness and fear of going back to their communities. When insurgents attack on villages, it is not just an issue of family but individual safety. Victims who survive in most cases have to seek for shelter and protection in Internally Displaced Peoples‘ (IDP) Camp. The emergence of Boko Haram insurgency and its impact in the North East has not only increased insecurity but has completely disrupted community life in the North East, Nigeria.
The economic effects of insurgency in Nigeria simply represent a major effect on people and government which can be viewed from two different perspectives. The first is the effect on the states directly affected and individual members of the affected states, and second, residents in the affected communities. The insurgents by their nature are used to crippling the economic activities of any place they spread their tentacles to as well as the result of people migrating from the affected place due to restiveness. Apart from the loss of lives arising from Boko Haram insurgency, communities in the affected towns and villages can no longer have access to means of livelihood because of the systemic deprivation, absence of liberty and freedom of movement which limits the socio-economic pursuits of the families in the affected communities. The adverse economic consequences of the insurgency are so devastating that the social and psychological costs cannot be quantified. Commercial activities in the Northeast have been reduced to an unprecedented level. In some towns banks, markets and shops do not open regularly due to the fear of the coordinated attacks from the insurgents. Okereocha (2012) states that, human capital and investors have been drained thus, hampering economic development in the Northeast and educational activities, due to attacks on banks, markets, parks and government departments and homes of individuals.
Educationally, Schools are not left out as parents are rejecting their children schooling in volatile North East. Many schools have closed down due to Boko Haram activities, talented lecturers; teachers have abandoned their schools for other schools in other peaceful states, leading to brain drain. More than 800 school buildings are affected in the north east leading to some students having lesson under trees and canopies. The numbers of school children have reduced drastically due to the activities of Boko Haram insurgency in the north eastern Nigeria, especially in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States. When there are security crises or threats, it tends to affect the rate of attendance in schools. Nkechi (2013) noted that irrespective of age, sex and nationality, once there is an attack by Boko Haram, the survivors often dread staying in such places and may hesitate sending their children to schools especially when they are not too sure of the security measures that have been put in place. Boko Haram attacks are not restricted to the urban or rural areas. Their attacks cut across boundaries even affecting the socio-culture values and religious obligations that are so important for national development.
Socio-cultural life of people in the affected communities have been hampered. The churches, schools, markets, social festivities, clinics and mosques are potential targets of the insurgents. For example, in 2014, Federal Government Girls‘ College in Chibok, Borno State was attacked subsequently leading to the abduction of over 250 female students, some students have stopped going to school, others have been transferred to the southern parts of the country to continue their education. Series of events connected with a particular period that can foster unity and coexistence among the communities has being destabilized because of the attacks by the sect. Christians and Muslims are afraid to go to their places of worship due to the fear of being attacked. The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) created to foster unity among Nigerians is under threat in the North East area due to insurgency. A case in point is the 1041 corps members who abandoned their national duty due to the precarious security situation in Adamawa State in 2011. As a result of the domestic activities of women and children, they may be attacked and injured which may result to ill-health to members of the community.
Health of families/communities as in insurgency activities within the psychological trauma often have an adverse influence upon the health of individuals due to injuries inflicted on them sometimes lead to the death of affected individuals. Ihiegbulem (2005), further stated that, most of the people within the affected communities by insurgents are physically ill while others are constantly troubled with nervous complaints and others slaughtered, insufficient, drugs, water and food, scarcity and, poor beddings and malnutrition at camps are common problems. This is because unpleasant emotions bring about great changes within the body. Dauda (2014) comments that if these problems continue uncontrolled, there will be no economic, education, socio-cultural and health development within family members and this will affect national development and certainly crises will escalate with more destruction. Therefore, it is against this background the researcher wants to assess the Public Perception Of The Success Or Failure Achieved In The Fight Against Boko Haram Terrorism In Nigeria with a special interest in Gombe state spanning from 2015-2019
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There are many unanswered questions on the mission and vision of Boko Haram in Nigeria. When it was started in the year 2002 under President Obasanjo‟s regime, it was non militant. The widespread current then in the core northern states of Nigeria was the implementation of Sharia law. It is necessary to state that the people who introduced Sharia law in northern Nigeria were not responsible for the emergence of Boko haram. It is a mere coincidence. It is necessary to point out that after the Maitatsine riots of the early 80s; Islamic fundamentalism was almost nonexistent or less functional in Nigeria. The introduction of Sharia and emergence of fundamentalism coincided with the establishment of democratic rule in Nigeria. Corruption and pauperization of the Nigerian populace never started with the return to democratic rule in Nigeria. It is a known fact that Nigerian economy was seriously battered during the military regimes due to massive corruption.
Zumve, Ingyoroko and Akuva (2013) examined the interconnections between endemic poverty created by official corruption, state neglect of the needs of the masses and terrorism in contemporary Nigeria and concluded that economic deprivation, frustration and desperation are the underlying causes of terrorism in Nigeria. If terrorism is actually caused by poverty as a result of corruption and state neglect, why have other sections of the country not taken to terrorist act? It is in the opinion of this paper that Boko Haram insurgency has religious, ethnic, political and others factors responsible for its formation. The first suicide bomber, Mohammed Manga was fairly well to do. According to Salkida (2011), Manga was involved in importation of goods from Dubai and was a financier of the sect. It was alleged that he willed four million naira to his family before embarking on the suicide bombing mission. Even Abdulmutallab, the young Nigerian who would have bombed an American bound flight could not be classified as coming from poor parental background. Abdulmutallab is the son of a multi billionaire in Nigeria. It is necessary to state at this juncture that poverty per se is just a necessary condition for the emergence of terrorist group but not a sufficient condition. Poverty existed in the military era and people did not take to suicide bombing. Why was suicide bombing never noticed in Nigeria until June 16, 2011 after the April 2011 general elections? Book Haram insurgents became more daring after the 2011 general election. It is imperative to clarify that the first bomb blast in Nigeria under President Jonathans‟ regime was carried out by the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) on October 1, 2010 at Eagle Square in Abuja.
There are more to Boko Haram insurgency than the terrorists are willing to admit. It is possible that the emergence of Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria has political, religious and ethnic undertones. For instance, after the abduction of over 200 secondary school girls from Chibok, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram on 4th May, 2014 said:
is a war against Christians and democracy and their constitution (The Nigerian Tribune Newspaper, 14th May, 2014).
With this kind of statement coming from the leader of the sect, one is forced to wonder why these terrorists are committing all these atrocities against their fellow humans. The group has consistently maintained that it is against democracy and Christianity.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The study sought the following objectives:
To examine government extend in the fight against Boko Haram Insurgency in Gombe State
To analyze on the ways of stopping the activities of Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria
To investigate whether or not insurgency could be eradicated in Gombe
To examine public perception of Boko Haram activities in Gombe
To investigate on the factors responsible for the formation of Boko Haram
1.4 Research Questions
To what extend has government succeded in the campaign against Boko Haram Insurgency in Gombe State?
- What are the ways of stopping the activities of Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria and Gombe in particular?Do you believe that insurgency could be eradicated in Gombe?
What are the public perception of Boko Haram activities in Gombe?
What are the factors responsible for the formation of Boko Haram
1.5 Scope of the Study
This study is on Public Perception Of The Success Or Failure Achieved In The Fight Against Boko Haram Terrorism In Nigeria. It were restricted to Gombe state.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The significance of this study is at two levels: theoretical and practical. Theoretically, the study will examine international terrorism and national security in Nigeria with focus on the Boko Haram sect. explores the origins and future trajectory of Boko Haram, and especially why its ideology of violence has found resonance among a small number of young Nigerians. Furthermore, the study will bring to the fore the challenges that Boko Haram poses to Nigeria.
Practically, the study will provided guide to policy makers, government officials and the general public in dealing with the Boko Haram insurgency. It will also contribute to the body of literature on terrorism in Nigeria and Boko Haram in particular. The study is also expected to spur more studies in this regard.