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1.1        Background of the study

1.2        Statement of problem

1.3        Objective of the study

1.4        Research Hypotheses

1.5        Significance of the study

1.6        Scope and limitation of the study

1.7       Definition of terms

1.8       Organization of the study







3.0        Research methodology

3.1    sources of data collection

3.3        Population of the study

3.4        Sampling and sampling distribution

3.5        Validation of research instrument

3.6        Method of data analysis



4.1 Introductions

4.2 Data analysis


5.1 Introduction

5.2 Summary

5.3 Conclusion

5.4 Recommendation




This study is on counterinsurgency in Northern Eastern Nigeria 2009 till date. The total population for the study is 200 residents of selected local government of Borno state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made men, women, youths and NGOs was used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies












  • Background of the study

Insecurity in the context of violence has reached generally frightening levels in Nigeria since 2009.  It is a historical fact that human society from time immemorial has been characterized by violence in various forms. In traditional societies violence existed in form of raids, tribal wars, slavery and insurgency among others. These were conducted as individuals and groups sought to enhance their power, status and influence over others or to register their grievances. Insurgency has existed throughout history but ebbed and flowed in strategic significance. Today the world has entered another period when insurgency is common and strategically significant.

Insurgency is a strategy used by groups which cannot realize their political aims through conventional means of seizure of power. Insurgency is characterized by continued, asymmetric violence, ambiguity, the use of complex terrain (jungles, mountains, urban areas), psychological warfare, and political mobilization which are designed to protect the insurgents and eventually affect the balance of power in their favor. Insurgents may attempt to capture power and replace the existing government (revolutionary insurgency) or they may have more limited objectives such as separation, independence or alteration of a specific policy. They avoid battle places where they are weakest and focus on those areas where they can operate on more equal footing. They try to postpone decisive action, avoid defeat, sustain themselves, expand their support, and hope that, over time, the power balance changes in their favor (Metz, 2004: 2). Generally, insurgencies are of two types. The first is what can be referred to as national insurgencies, the main antagonists are the insurgents and a sitting government which has some degree of legitimacy and support among the people. The differences between the insurgents and the government are based on economic class, ideology, identity (ethnicity, race, religion), or some other political factor. The government may have external supporters, but the conflict is clearly between the insurgents and a national government. National insurgencies are triangular in that they involve not only the two antagonists the insurgents and counterinsurgents but also a range of other actors who can shift the relationship between the antagonists by supporting one or the other. The most important of these other actors are the populace of the country but may also include external states, organizations, and groups. The insurgents and counterinsurgents pursue strategies which, in a sense, mirror image the other as they attempt to weaken the other party and simultaneously win over neutrals or those who are not committed to one side or the other (Metz, 2004:2).

The Boko Haram violence which commenced in 2003 in Yobe state was to resurface again in Maiduguri, Borno state on 26 July, 2009. Within a week the crisis spread to other states like Yobe, Kano, and Bauchi. The sect‘s Headquarters was destroyed and the leader of the group was killed alongside other members in an extra judicial manner. Even though the group called for the arrest and trial of the culprits, the government initially took no visible steps towards this direction. This inaction on the part of government was a recipe for several attacks from the sect who adore Mohammed Yusuf even in death due to his profound impact on them economically and spiritually. These are what the Nigerian government failed to do for them in first place. The Northern region of Nigeria particularly the North East has since 2009 not known peace due to the activities of the Boko Haram sect (among other security threats) which has unleashed series of terrorist attacks in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Bauchi, Plateau, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory claiming an estimate of thirteen thousand lives between 2009 and 2013 (Olukolade, 2014), destroying properties not quantifiable in monetary terms and displacing an estimated two (2) million peole (NTA News, 28, October, 2014). The spate of insecurity which has crippled commercial activities in the worst affected areas is so alarming that the citizens now admonish each other and take solace in the saying that the fear of Boko Haram is the beginning of wisdom. The bombing of the Louis Edet house, Headquarters of the Nigerian Police, the United Nations building and similar other bomb blasts in Saint Theresa‘s Catholic Church, Madalla, Bauchi state, Gombe state, Kano as well as recurrent bombings and killings in various parts of Borno state and other parts of the north show that the group can strike anywhere and at any time and that no one can claim to be safe or free from their attacks. Their modus operandi also reveals a clear incapacity on the part of government and its security agencies to effectively and amicably manage the situation. So far virtually every violent approach adopted by government to manage the situation has proved a failure and has only helped in exacerbating the crisis as the group has vowed to continue the wave of attacks until their demands are met

Every insurgency draws a response known as counterinsurgency (COIN), which is usually focused on defeating it. Such a response comes primarily and directly from the state against which the insurgency is directed, with the state usually getting support from the international community as the insurgency escalates. The scaling up of the counter-insurgency operation by the Nigerian military in north-east Nigeria since May 2013 especially in Borno and parts of Yobe appears to have dislodged Boko Haram fighters from areas they had ‘captured’. The Boko Haram muj?hid?n had by that stage acquired sophisticated weapons including heavy machine guns and, according to the Nigerian army, anti-aircraft guns from attacks on police and military installations and through the regional arms trade. Nonetheless, substantive information on what is currently happening on the ground in Borno and Yobe is far from comprehensive. Attacks by Boko Haram and the Nigerian military’s deployment against the group are presently more concentrated in Borno and Yobe than anywhere else. But the insurgents are mobile and the border areas remain porous, so even when they are put under pressure by the military they may still be able to regroup. Boko Haram have regional links with militant groups in the Sahara and there have been incidents of violence attributed to them in southern Niger and border areas of the far north of Cameroun. At present, the threat posed by Boko Haram to neighbouring states does not seem to be acute, but more research is needed in the Francophone countries to assess this and the extent of regional state co-operation that currently exists. The larger difficulty for the populations of north-east Nigeria and the border areas of Cameroun, Niger and Chad in the short-term may not be violence per se, but rather disruptions to farming, pastoralism, trade, markets, and legitimate travel caused by the insecurity and by the security measures taken by governments and militaries in the region. It will be necessary for the Nigerian state and neighbouring countries to obtain more local popular support and co-operation than Boko Haram if the insurgency is to be brought under control (


In a bid to countering insurgency, over two thousand civilians have died from government operations.  The Nigerian military for instance has been accused of killing and torturing innocent civilians in a bid to defeating Boko Haram and only on October 2012, thirty (unarmed) civilians were shot dead by the Nigerian military in pursuit of Boko Haram in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri. Three weeks later, the Nigerian military carried out another operation in Maiduguri that killed seventy people whose connection with Boko Haram were not established. In this order, the notion of a “war” on terrorists or countering insurgency has somewhat been over-exploited by the Nigerian state, thus reducing civil liberties as well as infringing upon fundamental human rights issues. It is thus unlikely that Boko Haram or any other international terrorism can be brought to an end by military means.

The wave of violence unleashed by the Boko Haram sect in northern Nigeria has revealed the extent of the failure of governance in the country, the abysmally poor crisis management tradition by the Nigerian state and its embarrassing inability to provide security to its citizens. It has also brought to the fore the necessity on the part of government to make concerted and intensified efforts to evolve lasting solutions to intractable crisis in the country.


The objectives of the study are;

  1. To identify and discuss the major issues leading to the outbreak of the Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria.
  2. To examine the Nigerian state‘s response to the Boko Haram insurgency with a view to determining its efficacy and suitability.
  3. To suggest possible measures for effectively counterinsurgency in Northern eastern Nigeria.

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

H0: there are no major issues leading to the outbreak of the Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria.

H1: there are major issues leading to the outbreak of the Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria.

H02: there are no possible measures for effectively counterinsurgency in Northern eastern Nigeria.

H2: there are possible measures for effectively counterinsurgency in Northern eastern Nigeria




This study is timely because it provides measures to tackle or avoid insurgency, which is still an on-going challenge for Nigeria as well as other countries of the world. Similarly, this study presents facts about the possible counterproductive outcome of countering an insurgency. Drawing from this, it provides an opportunity for governments of all countries to invest heavily in human development and eradicate societal vices as poverty, illiteracy or unemployment as measures to help avert insurgency and terrorism. Admittedly, the collective responsibility espoused in this thesis is not just for the security of Nigerians but also for the wellbeing of all humans regardless of their respective country. So if various governments become very much aware that the prevalence of insurgencies and terrorisms in various parts of the world is heavily connected to governmental lapses or bad governance and work tirelessly to adopt some of the measures suggested in this thesis, the scourge of insurgencies and terrorism would be immensely reduced.


The scope of the study covers Counterinsurgency in northern eastern Nigeria 2009-till date. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

  1. a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
  2. b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.



A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency (COIN) is defined by the United States Department of State as “comprehensive civilian and military efforts taken to simultaneously defeat and contain insurgency and address its root causes

INSURGENCY:  is a rebellion against authority when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents


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