1.1 Background to the Study
With an estimated population of over 120 million, Nigeria is Africa’s largest country in terms of demographic size. With a GDP of US$415 billion, it is the largest economy in Africa. Nigeria holds the record for being the largest oil producer on the continent and the sixth in OPEC. The country is well endowed with petroleum, gas and yet-untapped mineral resources. Its agricultural potentials are considerable, although the country remains a net importer of food. Over the last decade growth has averaged 7.4% and is projected to be 6.9% by year’s end 2012.
Nigeria remains a paradox, if not an enigma, to many observers. A country of energetic and highly entrepreneurial peoples and with an embarrassment of natural riches, the bulk of the population remain impoverished. Although per capita income has improved in recent years to about US$2,500 (in PPP terms), more than 60% of the people live below the poverty line while income inequalities are also widening, with an estimated gain coefficient of 43.7 percent. Unemployment stands at a national average of 24%, with an estimated 54% of the youth population without jobs. A recent World Bank study depicts the country’s development trajectory in terms of unemployment growth. Massive revenues from oil earnings have gone into consumption and recurrent expenditure, with little left to finance the yawning gaps in physical infrastructures. Corruption is widespread in public life while capital flight is an endemic feature of the political economy. As a result, the vast majority have no access to electricity, water and basic social services. Life-expectancy stands at 51 years, which is well below the average for sub-Saharan Africa.
Nigeria’s internal security has been significantly undermined by violent activities of armed non-state actors, largely made up of radicalised youth groups as foot soldiers. Prominent among these groups are the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the O’Odua People’s Congress (OPC), the Arewa People’s Congress (APC), Bakassi Boys, Egbesu Boys, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), and more recently, Boko Haram, Ansaru, ‘Kala-Kato’, and Ombatse, among others.
Apart from the challenges of poverty, sectarian, economic and political crises, and Niger Delta Militancy, Nigeria is currently facing a deeper and profound challenge of terrorism, especially in the North-Eastern region of the country. In the past two years, we have witnessed the vulnerability of the Nigerian state to terror, criminality and instability. The list of these disheartening phenomena includes, but is not limited to the bombing of several Churches, Mosques, Police Stations, Schools and Prisons in Bauchi, Bornu, Yobe and Adamawa states. Other parts of the country were not spared, as the sect-bombing activities were witnessed in the Federal capital territory, Abuja, Plateau, Kaduna and Kano states. The bombing of the United Nations office in Abuja is perhaps what the insurgents used to gain global recognition; as they are now listed amongst terrorist organizations by the United States and its allies, (for more details see The Economist, September 3, 2011). be increasingly targeted at Nigeria religious and ethnic fault lines in a bid to hurt the nation’s stability.
The world is fast changing today. Every society is now associated with one terrorist group or the other. The ugly phenomenon of terrorism became known in the world in the 1970s, especially with the 1972 Black septembist kidnapping of Jews athletes during the Munich Olympic, and plane hijacking that led to the Israeli raid on Entebbe Airport in 1976 to free Jewish hostages. However with the end of the cold war and the collapse of the soviet power and other communist party regimes in the Eastern Europe, a new set of terrorism has come to be added to those old ones. Islamic fundamentalist is now been talked about as the source of the terrorist menace troubling today‟s world, and deliberately aimed at filling the void created by the collapse of internal communism. In Nigeria, terrorist organizations can generally be described to have been created as a result of the perceived constant marginalization of a certain group of people. Numerous of these organizations in Nigeria include OOdua People‟s Congress(OPC), The Anambra Vigilance Service(Bakassi Boys),Egbesu Boys of Africa,Arewa People‟s Congress(ACP), Operation Zaki- Zaki and Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra(MASSOB) among others. Of recent, there is the Boko Haram. The name “Boko” was derived from “Boka” or sorcerer-a character associated with shirk which is an automatic act of disbelief and the most repugnant act of Islam. With the foregoing analysis, we have established the fact that terrorism exists in Nigeria. Besides, recently, the United States of America (USA)