1.1       Background to the Study

Nigeria has been described as the most populous African country with more than three hundred (300) ethnic nationalities. The nation is also described as one of the greatest Islamo – Christian nations of the World (Opeloye, 2011, p.1). Ever since her return to civil rule in May 1999, the country has continued to face severe internal threats and security challenges that have constituted serious danger to national integration and development. According to Opeloye (2011, p.1), “the multi-ethnic and multi-religious configuration of Nigeria largely accounts for the incessant ethno-religious imbroglio experienced in the nation for over three decades since the Second Republic in 1979.” The country has hardly survived the ethno-religious crises and Niger Delta Youth militancy that confronted it, before the Boko Haram insurgency erupted. Cross border terrorism in Nigeria with all its destabilizing propensities has remained a serious challenge for which the Federal Government is yet to find a lasting solution.

The menace of cross border terrorism in Nigeria has resulted in uncountable loss of lives and property especially in the Niger Delta regions and North Eastern part of Nigeria from where Nigeria’s form of terrorism (Boko Haram) emerged in 2002. In other words, the rise of ethnic militia groups across the country and the seeming weakness of the state to effectively contain their violent activities have posed severe security threat. The state of insecurity occasioned by Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria especially in the North-East Nigeria has remained worrisome, disheartening and alarming (Akinbi, 2015, p.12). Terrorist attacks meted by Boko Haram insurgency especially in the North East Nigeria and its environs have resulted in the killing of countless number of innocent people as well as wanton destruction of items of property worth billions of naira.

The British Army counter insurgency manual, Army Field Manual (AFM) defined insurgency as:

The actions of a minority group within a state, who are intent on forcing political change by a means of a mixture of subversion, propaganda and military pressure, aiming to persuade or intimidate the broad mass of the people to accept such a change. It is an organized armed political struggle, the goals of which might be diverse, (Army Field Manual, 2001).


Similarly, insurgency connotes an integral uprising, sometimes outside the confines of state’s laws, often characterized by socio-economic and political goals as well as military or guerilla tactics. In other words, it is a protracted struggle carefully and methodologically carried out to achieve certain goals with the ultimate aim of replacing the existing power structure. To actualize their anger on the state, insurgents often target civilians and infrastructures (Samson, 2013, p. 33).

For years, Northern Nigeria (especially the North East) has become the most dangerous region to live in the country. The dynamics and sophistication of the operations of Boko Haram as well as the apparent invincibility of the sect have generated great concern about national security, issues on governance as well as Nigeria’s corporate existence. As Akinbi (2015, p. 32 – 45) further contend:

The dangerous nature of the insurgency launched by the group has pitched christians and muslims against each other owing to the incessant bombings of churches in the north, particularly the most affected states of Bornu, Yobe and Adamawa. The violent activities of the sect have also assumed international dimension with the kidnapping and brutal killings of some Europeans.


The nature of the dastardly acts of Boko Haram include bombings  (including suicide) kidnapping of innocent people especially women and students, shooting of victims at close ranges, throat-slighting, day light  and noctunal attacks. The intensified attacks of the sect even with the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari, a fellow muslim and  Northerner as Nigeria Head of State has debunked the notion or belief in certain quarters that Boko Haram emerged to frustrate former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration or resist southern domination.

The election of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 led to greater ethnic agitations and formation of militant groups, either to press home their long standing political demands or deter other groups from outrunning them. The most volatile of the militant groups existed in the Niger Delta areas.

Before 2009, Nigeria witnessed several forms of terror activities which became a deliberate and systematic use of violence to destroy, kill, maim and intimidate the innocent in order to achieve a goal or draw national or international attention to demands which ordinarily may be impossible or difficult to achieve under normal political atmosphere or on the battle field against a government army (Oladunjoye & Omemu, 2013, p. 1-9). Before the declaration of amnesty for the Niger Delta militants by the administration of late President Yar’Adua in 2009, the Niger Delta region had militant groups such as the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP); Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND); Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF); the Egbesu Boys; and Niger Delta Vigilantee with a long history dating back to the Adaka Boro Movement in the 1960’s (Ayangese, 2010, p. 17). The above militant groups launched agitations against environmental degradation, unemployment, poverty, deprivation, and marginalization in the Niger Delta areas of Nigeria. In the South-East, the Bakassi Boys and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) existed and pressed for equal rights and security of Ndigbo through federalism, autonomy and political relevance of the Igbo people in Nigeria, as the people were devastated by the civil war of 1967-1970 and abandoned thereafter.

The Odua People’s Congress (OPC) arose in the South-West as the militant wing and mouthpiece of the Egbe Omo Oduduwa for the Yoruba. It was used by the dominant political parties in the west to advance their course and achieve sanity. The Arewa People’s Congress (APC) and the Afenifere also arose as socio-cultural organizations for defending and advancing the interest of their regions. Some other militant groups also existed in places like the Jos Plateau area, Igala, Idoma, Zakibiam, etc. They arose mainly to seek interest over land acquisition, boundary adjustment and grazing rights (Oladunjoye & Omemu, 2013, p. 1-9).

As from 2009, militancy in Nigeria took an entirely new and much violent dimension giving way to what is now known within the Nigerian context as  terrorism. This development is as a result of the emergence of a violent Islamic sect known as Boko Haram which arose in Maiduguri, Borno State under the leadership of late Uztaz Mohammed Yusuf. The activities of the sect had really constituted a serious threat to national security and development. The sect’s series of bombings and violent attacks since 2009 in North Eastern Nigeria and beyond on Churches, Mosques, Banks, Parks, Police stations and military barracks and other strategic locations have resulted to untold hardship, incalculable losses in both men and material as well as other valued resources. Former President Goodluck Jonathan in July 2014, described Boko Haram insurgency as worse than a civil war given the guerilla and “faceless” nature of the terrorists.

The heightening of terrorist operations and the global threat posed by it in the 21st century has led scholars such as Urdal (2007, p. 90-100); Don (2013, p.96-103); and Collier & Hoeffler (2004, p.563-595) to develop some theoretical explanations on cross border terrorism. These theories focus on issues relating to greed, selfish ambitions, political and socio-economic marginalization, horizontal inequalities and psychologically related factors.

Cross border terrorism arose in Nigeria because emergent militant groups took advantage of the failure of government in dealing with the fundamental elements of nationhood such as internal security, resource control, injustice, corruption, ethnicity, sycophancy, favouritism, over lordship and marginalization. These factors as Abiye (2011, p. 20) argues, have led to the ethnicization of terrorism in Nigeria.

Musa (2011, p. 18-20) notes that Boko Haram had existed since 2001 but did not become popular until 2009 when they participated actively in the sectarian violence which occurred in Northern Nigeria. The name, “Boko Haram” is an Hausa statement which translates in English as “western education is sinful”. In other words, the sect is opposed to everything that is of western origin, more especially modern science, Western education, culture, ideologies and systems.

Given the intensity of terrorism in the 21st century, it has globally become a household word as there is hardly any nation that is completely absolved from its effect (Alao & Atere, 2012, p. 1-15). Globalization has been seen to have had a significant influence on terrorism as events in one part of the globe have a direct or indirect effect on others.  The International Terrorism and Security Research (I.T.S.R), allude to the fact that cross border terrorism is not new, and that it can be described variously as both a tactics and strategy, a crime and a holy duty; a justified reaction to oppression and an inexcusable abomination. Terrorism has become a term used to describe violence or other harmful acts. Walter Laqueur in 1999 counted over 100 definitions of terrorism and concluded that the only characteristics generally agreed upon are that terrorism involves violence and the threat of violence (Laquer, 2003). As a form of unconventional warfare, terrorism is often times used when attempting to force socio-political change by convincing a government or population to agree to demands to avoid future harm or fear of harm, destabilization of existing government; motivating discontented population to join a mutiny; escalating a conflict in the hope of upsetting the status quo; expressing an injustice; or drawing attention to a cause (Eke, 2013, p, 265-272)

The United States Department of Defense (USDD) defines terrorism as “the calculated use of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious or ideological.” Three key elements in this definition are violence, fear and intimidation and each of these produces terror on the target or victim. According to Alao & Atere (2012, p. 1-15) the term “terrorism” was coined from terror; derived from a latin verb “terrere” which means to “frighten”. For Juliet (1981) terrorism is the resort to violence for political ends by unauthorized and non-governmental actors in breach of accepted codes of behaviour regarding the expression of dissatisfaction with descent from; or opposition to the pursuit of political goals by the legitimate authorities of the State whom they regard as unresponsive to the needs of certain group of people.

Since 2009 Boko Haram has been noted to have killed about 13,000 people, creating more than one million refugees, and internally Displaced Persons and attempting to impose Sharia law in Northern Nigeria. The weakness of the Nigerian military to effectively checkmate the insurgency despite the support from the multinational Joint Military Task Force against terrorism and the assistance from Western States and European Union has allowed Boko Haram to prosper and extend its sphere of influence.

Scholars such as Star & Most (1976, p. 581-620) argue that the porous nature of Nigeria’s borders and weak border monitoring or enforcement mechanism has a correlation with cross border terrorism in Nigeria. In their analysis, the writers contend that there is a strong correlation between border and war at one level of analysis and at the other between border and alliance formation. This corroborates the assertion that “geographic proximity” deserves to be rated among the topmost factors of interaction among nations. To buttress this point further, Star & Most (1976) contend that:

To the extent that nations are close to each other physically, they are likely to interact and perceive their mutual importance. If a nation is ‘close’ to a large number of other nations, if it is faced with a potentially high risk that it may be threatened or attacked by at least one of its neighbours, proximity thus creates risk situations. Of course, it may also provide potential opportunities for international interactions. If two nations are distant from each other (for example Nigeria and Australia) it is probable that they will have a low level of trade. Finally, to the extent that two nations share no common frontier, it is unlikely that they will have the chance to become involved in a border dispute.


Cross border terrorism has posed a serious security threat to the corporate existence of Nigeria. Much of the violent attacks and losses are recorded in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria. A number of suggestions have been made by well-meaning individuals, organizations and concerned members of the international community on how to successfully combat terrorism in Nigeria. Series of violent attacks and murder of innocent citizens by Boko Haram sect have continued to be recorded to the extent that Nigeria is now seen by many as entering the list of weak States. This is largely because the Nigerian state has proved incapable of checkmating the rising wave of cross border terrorism in Nigeria despite international assistance. One of the glaring manifestations of incompetence of the Federal Government of Nigeria has been the failure to rescue the over two hundred (200) girls of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State abducted by Boko Haram on April 14, 2014 (Akinbi, 2015, p. 32-45).

In contemporary social discourse, the terms, ‘failed states’, ‘weak states’ and ‘failing states’ have been used to describe the extent of states disintegration or inability to fulfill the responsibilities of statehood to their inhabitants. State weakness is measured by a state’s inability and unwillingness to provide fundamental political goods associated with statehood. Such variables include: physical security, legitimate political institutions, economic management and social welfare. In the security realm, weak states struggle to maintain a monopoly on the use of legitimate force; provision of security from external and internal threats; control of their borders and territory; ensure public order as well as provision of safety from crime (Robert, 1990, p. 3). In addition, weak states are usually unable or unwilling to meet the basic needs of their populations by making minimal investments in health, education and other social services.

State weakness is not just a question of capacity, but also of will (Stewart, 2006, p.8). Compared to other developing countries, Nigeria has more or less been described as a weak state. Weak states are more prone to suffer from low growth, insecurity and developmental crises. In other words, their inhabitants are more likely to be poor and malnourished, live with chronic illness and die young, lack access to education and basic health care, suffer gender discrimination, and lack access to modern technology. They are also disproportionately at risk of violence and humanitarian crisis, both natural and man made (UNHCR, 2004).

The Federal Government has adopted various unsuccessful options to contain cross border terrorism in Nigeria. Some of these options include: the Amnesty or dialogue option (which late president Yar’ Adua’s administration adopted for the Niger Delta militants) but which was rejected by the Boko Haram terrorists; declaration of state of emergency in some parts of the North East Nigeria which is the home base of  the sect; establishment of Almajiri schools; safe school arrangement; formation of internal Joint Military Task Force (JTF); formation of the Multinational Joint Military Task Force against  Boko Haram and the assistance from the Western States and European Union. Against this background, this study examines the link between Boko Haram insurgency and cross border terrorism in Nigeria, 1999 – 2015.


1.2       Statement of the Problem

Since the end of the Nigerian/Biafran civil war in January 1970, there has never been any major issue that threatened the corporate existence of Nigeria as a political entity other than the emergence of cross border terrorism perpetrated by the Islamic fundamentalists known as Boko Haram (Opera, 2012, p.12). While the Federal Government made frantic efforts through its Amnesty programme to contain the security challenge posed by youth militancy in the Niger Delta, the Boko Haram terrorist group arose in  Maiduguri, Borno State in 2002 and has since spread to other parts of Nigeria especially the Northern part (Ogbonnaya & Ehigiamusoe, 2013, p. 3).

Eso (2011,, retrieved, 10/11/2014) has observed that “the root causes of the resort to violence and criminality in order to influence public policy is rather deep – seated and beyond the sectarian”. This argument has been advanced because the attacks by Boko Haram terrorist group in Nigeria have been targeted or directed at the State, its institutions and the civilian population. A good number of police stations, oil installations, the Force Headquarters in Abuja, Army barracks, schools, government establishments, markets, motor parks, and places of worship (churches and Mosques) have been bombed or attacked in several States or Cities of the Federation. The attack on the United Nations Office in Abuja in 2011 was according to Eso (, retrieved, 11/10/2015) “a game – changer replete with new dynamics, far reaching and imponderable reverberations that dramatically altered the scope, intensity and focus of Boko Haram’s violence and mission, as well as any consideration of sect”.

From being an obscure movement confined to North Eastern Nigeria, Boko Haram later emerged as the most palpable threat to Nigeria’s continued peace and development. Not only do the persistent attacks of the sect create widespread insecurity and fear, the prevalent dread of the group has stifled normal processes of trade and investment as well as the performance of routine security functions (The Nation Editorial, Wednesday, May 9, 2012).

According to Ogbonnaya & Ehigimusoe (2013, p.3):

The North – Eastern States of Nigeria (Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, and Yobe) with a population of 18,971, 965 inhabitants and other major Northern cities such as Jos, Kaduna, Kano, and Madalla (Niger State) have become the epicenter of Nigeria’s terrorism related violence. Incidences of suicide bombings, killings and destruction have occurred in these areas since 2009. This has resulted in the loss of thousands of lives, extensive damage to property as the socio- economic development prospects of the region have been set back.


The emergence of Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria has been viewed from different perspectives (Opeloye, 2012, p. 178). To some, it is considered as another sectarian insurgency for the propagation of heretical doctrines, to some others; it is a manifestation of global terrorists’ organizational networking, whereas others see it as an insurgency brought about by the nation’s flawed political process.  In his further analysis Opeloye (2012, p.179) submits that politics of bitterness is just one of the many negative ingredients of the Nigerian polity that fueled Boko Haram insurgency. According to Opeloye (2012, 179):

…party politics is poisonous; it is politics of war, not of peace; of acrimony and hatred and mudslinging, not of love and brotherhood; it is of anarchy and discord, not of orderliness and concord; it is politics of cleavages, factionalism and disunity and not of cooperation, consensus and unity; it is politics of hypocrisy and charlatanism, not of integrity and patriotism; it is politics of rascality; not of maturity, it is of blackmail and gansterism; not of constructive and honest contribution.


The catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan in 2012 argued that Islamist Boko Haram insurgency is as rooted in bad governance as much as in its push for governance in accordance with shariah dictates. In the view of John Onaiyekan, corruption of the political class which is a manifestation of bad governance, leads to economic and social inequality especially in the Niger Delta and North East Nigeria. Most people of these zones despite their regions control of the oil resources and apparent political advantage remain impoverished.

In 2012, Nigeria’s former President Goodluck Jonathan remarked that the Boko Haram’s insurgency was aimed at truncating his government and making the country ungovernable for him. The President noted that the Boko Haram movement was serving the interest of some politicians. The violent uprisings especially in Northern Nigeria that greeted the outcome of the 2011 Presidential election where a South-South candidate, Dr Goodluck Jonathan was declared the winner was a demonstration of the bitterness of the Northern politicians on a power shift from the North to the South. Besides, it was also a tug of war for the Northern Politicians to accept the constitutional provision that in the event of incapacitation or death of an elected President, the vice shall take over (Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended (2011, p. 90). The Boko Haram sect which became radicalized since 2009 became a ready tool used by some Northern politicians to achieve their selfish agenda of making the country almost ungovernable for Dr Goodluck Jonathan.

Akanji (2013, p. 63) submits that it is “corrupt and ineffective political leadership that often engender poverty and consequently, violent activities.”  In other words, government inactions often precipitate violent acts. As the writer further contends:

As long as government continues to distance the masses from their land and appropriate their rights without due process, government cannot be seen to be egalitarian as it does not take into consideration the principles of corporate governance, which involves freedom of choice, rule of law, transparency, justice and accountability (Akanji, 2013, p. 63).


The level of frustration of some Nigerian youths especially in the North East led to what Akanji (2007), calls “free – lance terrorists’ (soldiers of unemployed youths who do not belong to any fundamentalist or radical group but who are easy tools in the hands of the rich or terrorist organizations).  With a mere financial inducement, they can carry out any terrorist act. These youths are easily available for criminal acts because they have nothing doing and nobody cares about their well being. Government only make over bloated political and economic promises in order to secure their votes, thereafter, such promises are abandoned, only to be recycled during the next election, because they must win their votes. This scenario has contributed to the emergence of militancy and terrorist activities in Nigeria.

Scholars such as Ajayi (1990, p. 55 – 65); and Adenrele (2012, p. 12) argue that total islamization of Nigeria under sharia law has always been the motive behind various religious riots in Northern Nigeria. Farouk (2012,, retrieved 10/9/2014) argues that Boko Haram only belief in the Quranic verse which states that “anyone who is not governed by what Allah has revealed is among the transgressors”. Following a statement purportedly issued by the Nigeria terrorist group (Boko Haram) in Maiduguri on April 24, 2011, Suleiman (2011, p. 50) submits that among the objectives of the sect is to abolish democracy and institute Sharia law as they claimed to be fighting for justice and islamization of Nigeria. One of the spokesmen of the group Alzawahiri stated that the group was contented with preaching islamization of Nigeria until 2009 when it took arms against the state because some muslim clerics and ward heads in the North connived with the government to attack them following the Maiduguri crisis of July 2009. Consequent upon this, the spokesman submitted that:

We would continue to fight until Islam is well established and the muslims regain their freedom all over Nigeria. We would never be ready to compromise and we don’t need amnesty. The only solution to what is happening is for the government to repent, jettison democracy, drop the constitution and adopt the laws in the holy Quran (Suleiman, 2011, p. 50)


Ajayi (1990, p. 55 – 63), Zeon (2012), and Adenrele (2012, p.12), argue that total Islamization of Nigeria under Sharia law has always been the motive behind various religious riots in Northern Nigeria. Adetoro (2012), Bumah and Abimbola (2009, p. 40), and Hodgkin (1975), contend that the Islamization of Nigeria was the motive behind the Jihad of Usman Dan Fodio in 1804. Farouk (2012, www,, retrieved 10/9/2014), argues that Boko Haram insurgents only believe in the Quranic verse which States that “anyone who is not governed by what Allah has revealed is among the transgressors”, although the same Quran also says “to you be your religion and to me my religion.

The terrorists had in 2012 called on the government to prosecute the police Officials involved in the extra-judicial killing of their leader, Mohammed Yusuf and some other of their members. They also called for the arrest and trial of some former Northern Nigeria governors for what they described as acts of “betrayal” because they had all along being their Political thugs funded by them. To re-echo their interest over the Islamization of Nigeria, Usigbe (2012), notes that the group threatened former President Goodluck Jonathan to embrace Islam or resign. A statement credited to the sect leader, Abubakar Shekau submitted on the Youtube (Hausa Language) video held thus: “I call on you President Goodluck Jonathan, you should abandon this ungodly power, you should repent and forsake Christianity including Obama, who said I have business interest in the United States” (usigbe, 2011, p. 1)

Muhammed Yusuf, the earlier founder of the group had insisted that the law enforcement agents were fighting him because of his faith in Islam and belief that Western education is a sin (Adesote, 2011). The North felt short changed over the outcome of the 2011 presidential election. Agitations of Political discomfort and imbalance from the Nigerian Northern elites have remained fervent especially since the death of former president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (Adetoro, 2012). Many Northern elites considered the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian as illegitimate, arguing  that it ignored the ruling peoples Democratic party’s (PDP) informed power rotation which should have kept a Northern Muslim as president till 2015 (Johnson, 2011,, retrieved, 10/10/2013). This was also attested to by the former national security adviser, Rtd General Andrew Owoye Azazi, who Stated that the Policies of the country’s ruling Party paved way for the rise of terrorism in the North East Nigeria. The consequence of the Statement led to the removal of General Azazi from Office and his consequent replacement with another Northerner, Sambo Dasuki (Odebode, et al 2012, p. 8).

Some seditious statements that revealed the Political discomfort of the Northern Nigeria elites were carried out in the Nigeria media. A former Head of State, Rtd General Buhari who lost in the 2011 presidential election to President Goodluck Jonathan was said to be under fire over threat of bloodshed in Nigeria over possible future election rigging (Alechenu, et al., 2012, p. 2), Binniyat, 2012, p. 5). Following the failure of the North to clinch the presidential seat after the 2011 presidential elections, some prominent Politicians from the area were noted to have openly threatened that they would make Nigeria ungovernable for president Goodluck Jonathan and the emergence of Boko Haram terrorist group has been seen by some scholars as a way some sections of the North have made good their threat. In all, writers on the actualization, of religious objective as one of the major basis for the rise of cross border terrorism in Nigeria focus on the religious dimensions of Boko Haram terrorist activities as a strategy aimed at addressing their claimed Political alienation, marginalization and bid towards total Islamization of Nigeria.

In sum, writers on the link between socio-economic contradictions in North East Nigeria and how this account for the emergence of  Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria focus on corruption, political alienation, frustration, bad governance, Islamization of Nigeria and politics of bitterness.

The link between the impact of the support from the multinational coalition against cross border terrorism in Nigeria and the war against Boko Haram insurgency has also drawn the attention of scholars. Andrew (2012), and Jacob (2012) have examined the regional aspect of Boko Haram’s internationalism which has become the most immediate and infectious threat. It is of note that most of the Boko Haram’s activities take place within the boundaries of the 19th century Bornu Empire which cover North Eastern Nigeria, the Northern tip of Cameroun, South Western Chad and North Eastern Niger. According to the scholars, “after the 2009 attacks in Maiduguri, documents found on the bodies of the dead militants indicated that many of them had come from Niger and Chad.” Leaders of neighbouring countries such as Presidents Biya of Cameroun, Derby of Chad, and Jonathan of Nigeria among other leaders in the sub region decided to devise regional mechanisms to contain terrorist activities in the region having recognized that Boko Haram had become an international issue.

The ability of Boko Haram terrorists to escape into other countries especially in the sub region has greatly frustrated Nigeria. A Borno State official alleged that Camerounian authorities refused to arrest or chase Boko Haram militants fleeing across the border after carrying out attacks in Nigeria. According to Zachary (2013, htt://www./ongwarjournalorgarchives, retrieved, 13/11/2014). “Some Nigeria security sources have complained that Cameroun had shown little interest in the fight against Boko Haram, while Niger and Chad do not have adequate resources to help.” Nigeria is often perceived by its neighbours as a rich country that should be able to resolve its domestic security issues by itself, and hence cooperation between neighbouring countries has subsequently been poor (Oliver & Robin, 2014, p.14).

Congolese President, Denis Sassou Nguesso in 2014 stated that the solution to the Boko Haram insurgency should be African-led, unfortunately, the African Union’s response in this regard has been grossly inadequate. Abimbola (2010, p. 2) revealed that several summits and conferences have been held including in Paris on 17 May and in London on 12 June, 2014 respectively under the auspices of President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister David Cameroun. The summits brought together the Heads of State of Nigeria, Cameroun, Chad and Niger as well as other regional players with a vested interest in containing Boko Haram terrorist operations. The outcome of the Paris Summit was a joint declaration of war on Boko Haram and strategies for better information sharing and cross border cooperation. This declared cooperation advanced further in July 2014 when Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroun committed 700 troops each to create for the first time a joint regional force to tackle the insurgency.

Barna (2014,p113-124) notes that the African Union (AU) as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have spoken out against the activities of Boko Haram, condemning its activities and calling for greater regional cooperation, especially information-sharing to effectively fight the terrorist group. The increasing interest of the neighbouring countries is a reflection of the spill over effect that becomes increasing visible in the wake of the cross-border population movements.

Historically, Nigeria had remained defensive when it comes to its national sovereignty. However, the nation had to reconsider its stand following the internationalization of terrorism. Nigeria had therefore allowed a regional military force to intervene and fight Boko Haram on its territory. Chadian troops acting within the framework of a bilateral agreement with Nigeria had assisted by launching attacks against Boko Haram. N’Djamena was quick to emphasize that this was neither an incursion, nor an operation but a retaliation to an Islamist attack under the right of hot pursuit. Nigerien, Camerounian or Beninoise soldiers remained hesitant to enter the Nigerian territory to launch attack against Boko Haram. However, the setting up of the regional force against Boko Haram resolved the issue of the right of hot pursuit as soldiers integrated into the regional coalition move freely into Nigeria.

President Jonathan had used the opportunity of his one-day visit to Niger on 18 October 2013 to form a common front with Niger in the fight against Boko Haram and other terrorist groups. The agreement provides for mixed patrols along the border from Gaya to Diffa (1,500km long) and a mixed command. Nigeria also established in November 2011, a defence outpost in Niger (The Guardian Editorial, 20 November 2011 p.9). Nigeria’s immigration service had insisted that even the number of unapproved routes is unknown. In February 2012, for instance, the Nigerian government deported over 7,000 illegal’ immigrants, mostly Chadians and Nigerians. Some were suspected terrorists alleged to have heightened terrorist activities across the borders (ICR, 2014, p. 45-46).

Even though the establishment of the multinational coalition had gained momentum, Thienot (2015, http//, retrieved 5/5/2015) examined the factors that might endanger its effectiveness and extinguish the enthusiasm and determination. For instance, the financial viability of the multinational and regional military force has been noted to be one of the main determinants of its effectiveness. Representatives of the sub-region had therefore opined that the establishment of a UN Trust Fund is needed to ensure the sustainability of their military efforts. In the words of Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo, the Camerounian Minister of Foreign Affairs, “we have been on the front line for eight months to defend ourselves against the attacks of Boko Haram, we support the financial burden by ourselves but our resources are limited, hence the need to get help on a larger scale”.

Given the complicated institutional mechanisms preceding the adoption of a UN Security Council Resolution, doubts were expressed regarding the speed with which such a fund could be set up.  Although the UN Secretary-General, Banki-Moon had welcomed the creation of a regional and multinational force, some diplomats in the corridors of the AU have expressed concern that the enthusiasm of the agreement will quickly fade away if the process takes too long. A long delay addressing the grey areas may lead to unmet expectations and frustrations and might revive animosities between regional or multinational partners (Wuilbereq, 2015, http://www/emonde:fr/afrique articleincerainforce, retrieved 5/5/2013).

Moreover, even though former President Jonathan pledged that Nigeria shall offset the cost of setting up the multinational or regional coalition against Boko Haram, the internal situation in Nigeria was identified as a major factor that further complicated the multinational coalition’s capacity to take on Boko Haram insurgency head on. With the elections and transition to another democratic dispensation concluded, Nigerian politicians have been more concerned with political intrigues and power consolidation than fully investing in the regional or multinational coalition. Besides, unequal access to power, economic opportunities and basic services, along with rampant corruption have alienated the poorest segments of Nigerian society. In the North East Nigeria, for instance, Boko Haram  managed to successfully mobilize and benefit from the resulting widespread discontent. In other words, the weakness of the Nigerian state to address the political and socio-economic disparities and institutional handicaps on fighting Boko Haram insurgency had affected the effectiveness of the multinational coalition against Boko Haram.

Overall, writers on the link between the impact of the support from the multinational coalition against cross border terrorism in Nigeria and the war against Boko Haram insurgency focus essentially on the non-cooperative attitude of some of Nigeria’s neighbouring countries who still permit terrorists to pass through their borders; non-chalant attitude to security or intelligence information sharing, inadequate financial support and weak terrorism fighting mechanisms.

The link between the impact of the assistance from the Western States and European Union to Nigeria on the war against Boko Haram insurgency has equally drawn the attention of scholars.  According to Ham (2011, p.20) “the United States security assistance to Nigeria was suspended briefly from 2003-2006 while the state Department restarted its international military education and training programme.” Since then, the U.S security assistance to Nigeria has steadily increased. As Ham (2011, p. 20) further explained, the U.S military currently enjoys a very long standing and very helpful, very useful naval and air military relationship with Nigeria (centre for strategic and International Studies, Supra note, 89). In 2007, the U.S Navy started the African partnership station as part of a larger effort to enhance security in the Gulf of Guinea. This programme included visits to Nigerian ports and regional naval exercises with Nigerian and European counterparts. The United States also provides military training with an emphasis on respect for human rights and civilian authority. The State Department which also engaged Nigeria through its African Coastal  and Border Security (ACBS) programme, has focused its assistance on peacekeeping, support training, border and   maritime security  and increasing military professionalism (Ploch, Supra note, 90 at 30).

As Ham (2011, p. 20) revealed, limited cooperation exist between the U.S. and Nigerian armies. However, the Nigerian Army had received counter-terrorism funding from the Department of Defence to the tone of  $2.2 million for the development of a counter-terrorism infantry unit, and another $6.2 million designated to the tactical communications and interoperability within its counter terrorism (Ploch, Supra note 90, at 30).  In his further submission, Ham (2011, p. 20) stated thus:

… in my visit to Abuja I had a great meeting with the chief of the army staff following president Jonathan’s visit here with president Obama. And I think, we’re now starting to find ways in which we can cooperate more closely. Very clearly Boko Haram has altered that relationship somewhat. And so we’re looking for ways in which we can help, ways that Nigeria would like us to give help in developing their counter terrorist capabilities… (Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Supra note, 89).


As at May 2014, the U.S military has trained only small numbers of Nigerians to participate in international peacekeeping forces. The U.S Department of state’s budget request for International Military Education and training for Nigeria in the fiscal year 2015 is only $700.000. Nigerian reluctance to accept further U.S training with its requirements for fiscal accountability and transparency has inhibited the programme’s expansion in the past (John, 2014, p.17). Besides, the Leahy amendment prohibits U.S. military training of foreign units that violate human rights with impunity. The United States embassies and relevant bureaus in the Departments of state vet units for eligibility. If they are found ineligible, American training is suspended until the host government brings to justice those responsible for human rights violations.

As John (2014, p. 17) further contends, the number of Nigerian units that can pass Leahy vetting has remained small and shrinking. Military units are rotated through the North, making them vulnerable to credible charges of human rights violations. Before the ending of 2014 there was no public indication that significant number of military perpetrators of human rights violations have been brought to justice in Nigeria.

In May 2014 (one month after the abduction of the Chibok girls), the U.S Department of Defence deployed twelve active-duty U.S. soldiers to Nigeria to train a 650-man Nigeria ranger battalion for combat operations that would presumably be free of the taint of human rights violations. This was the first time in years that the United States trained Nigerian military units for operations other than peacekeeping missions. Nigeria’s stance toward security cooperation with the United States continues to be unenthusiastic, despite President Jonathan’s request for assistance in the aftermath of the Chibok kidnappings (John, 2014, p.18). At the request of the Nigerian government, the United States deployed drones and surveillance aircraft concentrated on finding the Chibok school girls. However, the U.S political response to Boko Haram continues to be hobbled by a lack of understanding about the latter’s methods and goals.

Barna (2014, p.13) contended that the biggest concern of the international community especially the Western States and the European Union is the large number of violations of human rights and international law that the Nigerian military is alleged to have perpetrated in its fight against  Boko Haram insurgency and which have largely been denied. The Nigeria military is accused of massive retaliations and brutality, including burning down villages and conducting extra judicial killings. In the case of the 2014 attack on the Maiduguri barracks, Amnesty international reported that over 600 detainees were killed. Due to lack of intelligence, the military tends to enter hide-outs with all guns blazing; killing civilians in cross fire (Walker, 2013). Other allegations include corruption, torture and extortion.

In this vein, Los Angeles Times (2014) reports that the U.S. government has been unable to work closely with the Nigerian security forces as doing so would violate the 1997 Leahy laws which prevents the U.S. Defence and state Departments from providing assistance if there is “credible information that a foreign security force has committed a gross violation of human rights”. The sale of lethal weapons from the UK to Nigeria is also prohibited for the same reason  (BBC News, 2014). According to Alice Friend, “such issues have resulted in a persistent and very troubling limitation on our assistance” (Washington Post, 2014).

Emma (2014, p. 16) examines the counter insurgency efforts of Britain to Nigeria. Following the internationalization of terrorism in Nigeria as a result of Boko Haram insurgency, the British government dispatched security experts to Nigeria and also promised offering longer term counter terrorism solutions to prevent future attacks by Boko Haram. In addition, the British government was noted to have renewed its pledge to assist Nigeria in her counter insurgency efforts in her reaction against the abduction of workers of a Lebanese construction firm (Setraco) by Boko Haram Splinter group, the Ansaru in March, 2013.

The British government through her foreign secretary William Hague revealed that the British government will work with Nigeria and other affected countries to bring Boko Haram insurgents to justice and tackle acts of terrorism in the region. As the British Foreign Secretary further expressed:

We are utterly determined to work with them (Nigerian military) to hold the perpetrators of this heinous act to account, and to combat the terrorism which so blights the lives of people in northern Nigeria and in the wider region. (Emma, 2014, p. 16)


Yusuf (2014, p.56) examines the limitations on the extent of support from the U.S., U.K and the western coalition against Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. According to the writer, the battle by the troops to reclaim Barma and Gwoza both in Borno State from the insurgents led to a shift of focus in the military operations in the North East Nigeria. The new dimension taken by the insurgents therefore affected counter terrorism efforts following their occupation of some towns and villages such as Barna, Gwoza, and Dambo, all in Borno State. Hence, the troops made a refocus of their priority as attention was directed to reclaiming the captured towns in order to restore normalcy and put in appropriate measures in place to avert reoccurrence.

Akinloye (2014, p.8) examines the stance of the British government over her insistence on limited assistance to Nigeria on the fight against Boko Haram insurgency while acknowledging the complex nature of the insurgency. Although the British government pledged to be in constant touch with Nigeria on how to track down the insurgents, the British minister of state. Foreign and commonwealth office, Joyce Anelay stated that the British government was cautions on the form of assistance it could render to Nigeria in order for her to win the fight against Boko Haram insurgency. The British minister noted that Boko Haram deliberately targets the weak and vulnerable, inflicting suffering on communities of differing faiths and ethnicities. The minister insisted that the British government had remained in continual discussion with the Nigerian authorities and were ready to give necessary support on intelligence matters.

Boyle and Gimba (2015,, retrieved 13th March 2016) examined the European Union aid to Nigeria on the internationalization of Boko Haram insurgency which had deriled Nigeria’s development. The writers revealed that “during the period, 2009-2013, the 10th European Development Fund gave 700 million euro to the Nigerian government; 11th European Development Fund allocated a further 500 million euro to be disbursed over the period 2014-2020. The European union external action service was also noted to have intervened in rendering assistance to Nigeria’s South-South region to contain youth militancy especially, checkmating the activities of the movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND). Two hundred million euro  (200m euro) was stated to have been earmarked for this project.

In the light of the European union’s multi-faceted commitment across the globe as a “contributor to peace,” a “responsible neighbour” as well as a “human rights defender”, the European Union’s genuine concern on the fight against  Boko Haram insurgency has generated diverse interpretations among scholars since after the internationalization of the insurgency. For instance, on June 26, 2014 (two months after the purported  abduction of over two hundred female students of Government Secondary School Chibok, Borno State the European Union issued a statement expressing regret and condemned the bombing of a shopping centre at Abuja during which 21 people died.

The link between Boko Haram insurgency and cross border terrorism in Nigeria has attracted an intellectual discourse and scholars have made  frantic efforts to examine the rationale for the emergence of the Boko Haram Islamist Sect; the impact of the regional coalition and assistance from Western states and European union on the war against Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. Opeloye (2011), and Akanji (2013), focus on politics of bitterness, acrimony, factionalism, hypocrisy, gangsterism, political alienation, corruption, frustration and ineffective political leadership. Ajayi (1990), Adenrele (2012), Suleiman (2011) Abimbola & Adesote (2012), Hoffman (2006), Juergens Meyer (2008) and Matthew (2004) allude to actualization of religious objectives of Islamization of Nigeria as accounting for the emergence of Boko Haram terrorist group.

On the other hand, Andrew (2012), Jacob (2012), Thienot (2013), and Wuilbereg (2013) focus on regional aspect of Boko Haram internationalism, establishment of regional coalition (Anti-Terrorism Task Force) and efforts being made by Nigeria regional partners on the war against Boko Haram insurgency. Limited cooperation of Nigeria’s neighbouring countries have been addressed by scholars such as Oliver & Robin (2014), Zachary (2013), Barna (2014) and Taiwo (2014).

Similarly, writers on the impact of the Western states and European Union’s assistance to Nigeria on the war against Boko Haram insurgency focus on the U.S. Security assistance (Ham, 2011). John (2014) focus on fiscal accountability and transparency. Barna (2014), Adelania & Kayode (2014) emphasize on human rights violations. Moreover, Yusuf (2014) and Akinloye (2014) harp on the limitations of Western States and European Union’s support to Nigeria on the war against Boko Haram insurgency. Osuji (2014),  Sewall (2014) and Juliana (2014) focus an arms embargo. The European Union’s (EU) financial support is addressed by Boyle and Gimba (2015)




1.3 Objective of the Paper


The main concern of this study  is to examine Cross Border Crimes And Socio-Economic Development Of Ecowas Development Of Ecowas Members States: The Nigeria Experience


Specifically, the paper is concerned with the fol- lowing objectives:

  1. Analyze the nature and scale of trans-border crime in the West African sub-region.
  2. Assess the social and economic effects of drug trafficking and money laundering on developing economies.
  3. Recommend appropriate strategies for deal- ing with issues of trans-border crime and enhanced socio-economic development of the sub-region.
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