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TERRORISM AND NIGERIAN ECONOMY: AN ASSESSMENT OF THE BOKO HARAM INSURGENCY
The impact of the activities of the dreaded Boko Haram has brought physical, psychological and economic damage to Nigeria and has become a threat to the entire nation. It is against this background that the study examined the impact of Boko Haram insurgency on the economy of the affected states in Nigeria. The study was a literature based research and therefore descriptive in structure. Basically secondary data that was used in this research include relevant text books, magazines, archival materials, published and unpublished works, journals, newspapers and internet materials all of which the researcher thoroughly explored for critical examination and analytical insight. The data collected was analysed using a framework of content analysis and simple percentage. Findings from the study indicates that the atrocities of Boko Haram have severe implications on the economy and social lives of the people of the northeast where the activities of the sect is concentrated. The study recommends that anybody that has links with the sect should face the law and government should develop a strong political will to fight the scourge.
1.0 Background of 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 (Oche, 2001).
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 (Awake, 2008). 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, 2008).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 Nigerian government since 2013 has budgeted a huge amount of money on 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).
In spite of the plethora of security measures taken to address the daunting challenges of terrorism and insecurity in Nigeria, government efforts have not completely 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 (Adebayo, 2013). 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).
In reviewing the concept of Nigeria’s economy, we will be able to establish a relationship between Terrorism and Nigeria’s economy. Economy is regarded as the wealth and resources of a country or region especially in terms of population and consumption of goods and services (Anyenwa and Oaikhenar, 2000). It is an entire network of producers, distributors, and consumers of goods and services in a local, regional or national community e.g. Nigeria’s economy. Meanwhile the Nigerian economy especially in the Northern part of the country has been under serious attack due to the activities of the insurgents. Farmers who predominantly engage in subsistence farming in the Northern part of the country (Borno, Yobe, and Bauchi) no longer feel safe to go about their farming activities and by implication this has led to the increased rate of food starvation in that part of the country.
1.1 Statement of the Problem The emergence of Boko Haram insurgency has introduced a terrorist dimension, hitherto unknown, into the criminal space in Nigeria. Series of bombings have been carried out by the sect, as well as taking hostage of innocent citizens. Even the United Nations Building in Abuja was not spared in the bombing spree. In rich as well as poor countries, terrorism exerts a heavy toll on national economies. It is inevitable that the economic impact of terrorism would be more felt in unsophisticated mono-cultural low-income economies than they would be felt in highly advanced, diversified industrial economies. Therefore, the continued rise in terrorism activities in the country, if not checked, may result in greater investor apathy for the country and resulting in low inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and would make institutional investors look for other stable economies to invest their money. On the state of the country, when people feel insecure, their appetite to invest, to buy or rent from the product of investment reduces; and that is why all over the world, any country that radiates an environment of insecurity naturally repels investment initiatives from both the international community and its own local investors. Hence, terrorism is a threat to the economic, political and social security of a nation and a major factor associated with underdevelopment; because it discourages both local and foreign investments, reduces the quality of life, destroys human and social capital, damages relationship between citizens and the states, thus undermining democracy, rule of law and the ability of the country to promote development (Adebayo, 2013). It was on this note that this study seeks to examine the impact of Boko Haram insurgency on the economy of the affected states in Nigeria.
1.2 Objective of the Study
The general objective of this study is to examine terrorism and Nigerian economy; an assessment of the Boko Haram insurgence. While the specific objective is outlined as follows:
i. To assess the correlation between terrorism and economy
ii. To assess ways the Boko Haram crisis poses a threat to Nigeria’s economy
iii. To assess the implications of Boko Haram crisis on Nigerian economy
1.3 Research Question In this light, the study will be guided by the following research question.
i. What is the correlation between terrorism and economy?
ii. In what ways do Boko Haram constitutes challenges to the Nigerian economy?
iii. What are the impacts of Boko Haram insurgency on Nigeria economy?
In accordance with the research question deduced from the research study, I assume this:
i. There is correlation between terrorism and economy
ii. If there is high level of Boko Haram crisis, it is likely to pose a threat to Nigeria’s economy.
iii. If the Boko Haram crisis deepens, it is likely to have an implication on Nigeria’s econo……………………………………………..