Over the centuries, mankind has searched for the best way of ensuring the security of lives, properties, territories, states and institutions. In all places and countries, security has been considered as a “first order value” that is worth preserving. The concept of security is generally multi-dimensional and it has, in the last century, been the subject of frequent debate among scholars across the world (Olomojobi, 2015). Security can be described as a situation where a person is not exposed to any form of danger or risk of physical or moral aggression, accident, theft or deterioration. Hitherto, the concept of security has always been associated with the safety and survival of the state and its citizens from harm, destruction or dangerous threats (Yaqub, 2004).
Today, the need for national security has become a global concern particularly in the face of terrorism. Braithwaite (1988:9) defines national security as the ability of a nation to protect its internal values from external threat. National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic power, diplomacy, power projection and political power. Efforts have been directed towards safeguarding national security although not much success has been recorded by community of nations. An example is Nigeria. Measures taken to implement the national security policy include the use of diplomacy to isolate threats; marshalling economic power to facilitate or compel cooperation; maintaining effective armed forces; implementing civil defense and emergency preparedness measures (including anti-terrorism legislation); ensuring the resilience and redundancy of critical infrastructure; using intelligence services to detect and defeat or avoid threats and espionage, and to protect classified information; using counterintelligence services or secret police to protect the nation from internal threats (Yaqub, 2004).
Nigeria like many other countries around the world has its foreign policy objectives which focus on peace, development and democracy. The extant literature shows that Nigeria’s foreign policy has inclined towards general discussion rather than specific, covering virtually every conceivable topic. Despite the good motive behind Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives, the policy has been unsystematic, basically idiosyncratic and lacking in theoretical and empirical rigor. Also, foreign policy studies in Nigeria have generally been narrative-inclined; they are not analytical and offer little if any basis for a choice of scientific framework to guide conceptualization, implementation, or study and understanding of Nigeria’s foreign policy.
Nonetheless, the existing structure, processes and machinery of foreign policy formulation and implementation which have served Nigeria relatively well up to the early 1980’s, now leave much to be desired. Henceforward, the urgent need to strengthen and re-evaluate policy in line with requirements of a fast-changing and rapidly globalizing world cannot be overemphasized. Also, the present-day foreign policy decisions and actions need to focus on addressing the challenges of national survival, human security, progress and development.
The definition of terrorism has emerged as a central focus of power politics and propaganda. Differential and ideological posturing, the absence of boundaries of conflict and fixed enemies, messages of fear, legal narratives, and creating, remaking and reconfiguring judicial reality have a profound tendency to make terrorism a never-ending battle. Terrorism is a psychological phenomenon, with criminal acts being used to fight political power or to maintain a political status quo. This particular characteristic of terrorism and the techniques employed to eliminate it, create a narrative, on normative scale, that threatens the potential for global consensus in defining terrorism (Acharya, 2009).
While the old issues of protection of sovereignty, territorial integrity and national security are still relevant, new emerging issues, for example, pertaining to national competitiveness in the globalized economy, promotion and defense of universal rights, protection of the environment and sustainable development, as well as the promotion of peaceful co-existence and democratization have assumed primacy around the world (Jega, 2014). According to Jega, (2014), as Nigeria increasingly comes to terms with these additional concerns in its foreign policy pursuits, there is need for a carefully defined framework to guide decisions and actions. Related studies on Nigeria’s foreign policy have pointed to the incapacity of the structure and processes of conceptualizing and implementing foreign policy decisions to meet the challenges of the rapidly changing reality of the contemporary international system (Akindele, Ojo, & Olusanya, 1990; Adebajo & Mustapha, 2008). According to these scholars, this inadequacy will only worsen unless reforms are introduced and institutionalized to address it. At the conceptual and theoretical levels, as Asobie (1990) has observed, ‘the study of Nigeria’s foreign policy is grossly underdeveloped.
Major issues in Nigeria foreign policy objectives are related to readiness to implement on the part of the implementing agencies such as the Nigerian army and the Office of the National Security Adviser. Lack of readiness to implement occurs when the supposed military officers were unwilling to face the terrorist due to substandard and outdated ammunitions to combat terrorist activities. This is evident in the court-marshaling cases all over Nigeria against the affected officers who refused to report at the battle field. Besides, there is the issue with the lack of political will on the part of the government comprising the legislative and the executive arms. Notable evidence has to do with the executive not willing to identify the sponsors of the terrorists in Nigeria, as evident in the presidential broadcast indicating that the terrorists are known but due to the then political loyalty, the known terrorists’ sponsors are difficult to be dealt with. All these suggest that implementing counter terrorism in Nigeria is complex and multifaceted. On one hand, it may have some financial implications, on the other hand, it is politically motivated and hence has contributed to the country losing a sizeable part to the terrorist. Furthermore, insincerity, indiscipline and corruption among the leadership of counter terrorism agencies and the politicians as published by the current regime as well as the current plea bargaining between the anticorruption agency and top military brass is an indication that more still need to the done to effectively implement counter-terrorism policy in the country.
From the foregoing, it is clear that counter terrorism strategies are to a large extent missing from Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives. The reason however is not farfetched as the policy was developed at the birth of Nigeria as an independent state in 1960, when serious domestic and international terrorism attacks in the country were not known or full blown as they are today. Therefore, there is an urgent need for the review of the country’s foreign policy objectives so that defeating a terrorist group that emerges as a result of political and socioeconomic grievances can be achieved. The situation requires urgent attention because it is the major factor that has caused the nation dearly since 2009 when Boko Haram insurgents unleashed terror especially in the North-East area of Nigeria.
In recent years, the terrorist activities in different dimensions have constituted a major menace to the Nigerian society and the global community at large (Yusif, 2008). Scholars have established a relationship between terrorist activities and national development globally (Akpan, Akpan & Lofu-Adeoye, 2014). Hitherto, the Nigerian government has made concerted efforts towards eradicating terrorism activities in the country but this has yielded little success even with the support of different foreign counterparts. The reason for the little success so far is due to the fact that terrorism has reached a high degree both at home and abroad. Besides, the spread and availability of guns and ammunition in the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, occasioned by numerous porous borders, past military experiences, corruptions, repressive attacks by government against communities and leading spokes persons, have resulted in the significant spread of terror in the North eastern part of Nigeria witnessed today. This reality constitutes a major motivation for the current study. Hence, this study seeks to evaluate the counter-terrorism efforts and Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives with a view to strengthening the areas of weaknesses and suggest strategies for effective counter-terrorism and sustainable development.
The main objective of this study is to examine counter terrorism strategies and Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives. The specific objectives are to:
- examine Nigeria’s foreign policy in relation to current terrorist activities plaguing the country;
- evaluate Nigeria’s counter-terrorism policies
- compare the components of Nigeria’s and global counter terrorist policies;
- examine the level of implementation of counter terrorism policy in Nigeria;
- explore the barriers to implementation of counter terrorism policy in Nigeria and
- assess the prospect for achieving credible counter terrorism strategies through Nigeria foreign policy.
- What is Nigeria’s foreign policy in relation to current terror activities plaguing the country?
- What are the similarities and differences between Nigeria’s and global counterterrorist policy documents?
- What is the level of implementation of counter terrorism policy in Nigeria?
- What are the barriers militating against implementation of counter terrorist policy in Nigeria?
- What is the prospect of achieving credible counter-terrorism strategies through Nigeria’s dynamic foreign policy?
The following hypotheses were tested at α = 0.05 level of significance
- There is no significant relationship between foreign policy objective and effective management of terrorism activities in Nigeria
- There are no significant barriers militating against effective implementation of foreign policy objectives in Nigeria.
This study examines Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives and how they relate to war against terrorism with particular focus on Boko-Haram and other related security issues in Nigeria. The study was carried out among security agencies including the State Security Services (SSS), the Police, and civil defense corps (NSCDC), the military and agencies involved in foreign policy formulation and implementation in Nigeria.
Theoretically, the study would add to the existing body of knowledge on terrorism plaguing the international community. It is specifically designed to unravel the strategies adopted for combating terrorism and Boko Haram insurgency. The study would also aid and enrich researchers whose interests are on counter terrorism. The outcome of this research would serve as a reference for policymaking and much emphasis was on counter-terrorism policies and knowledge transfer among scholars in the security sector. The outcomes of this study would also be beneficial to policy makers, security agencies and security personnel across sectors of the society with regards to managing terrorism activities for National Sustainable Development.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
The following key terms used in this study are defined as follows:
Boko Haram: An Islamic terrorist group that emerged in the North East, Nigeria with the agenda to Islamize the zone while rejecting that education and its institution are taboo
Foreign policy: The instrument by which a state influences or seeks to influence the external world through diplomacy, and to attain objectives that are in consonance with their perceived national interest.
Security: The preservation and protection of lives and properties in a country through adequate protective strategies.
Terrorism: The use of threat or use of anxiety, induced extra normal violence for political purpose by any individual or group whether acting for or in a position to established governmental authority when such action is intended to influence the attitudes and behaviour of a largest group wider than the immediate victims and through the nationality or foreign ties and its perpetrators.
Counter-terrorism: The practice, military tactics, techniques, and strategy that government, military, law enforcement, business, and intelligence agencies use to combat or prevent terrorism.