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1.1              Introduction


Since the attainment of statehood in 1914, Nigeria has been engulfed in different ethno-religious and political crisis resulting in substantial casualties (Aborisade and Mundt, 2002; Isichei, 1987; Ojie and Ehwhrujakpor, 2009; Suberu, 1996). Prior to the year 2000, several lives and properties were lost to ethno-religious crisis. The post-2000 era has witnessed other forms of violent confrontations; the most devastating has been terrorism, perpetrated by the Islamic group, Fulani herdsmen. Successive Nigerian administrations, since 2009, have had to deal with the menace of terrorism.

After decades of military rule, Nigeria returned to civil rule and the fourth democratically elected president was sworn in on May 29th, 1999 (Nkechi, 2013). Despite the advent of democratic rule, the inability of political leaders at all levels to address germane developmental issues has led to the emergence of ethnic militias from different regions in Nigeria which have in turn threatened the nation’s security architecture (Ahokegh, 2012; Isyaku, 2013). According to Omitola (2012), the state’s inability to effectively perform its functions resulted in the gradual loss of interest in the national project and a shift in the people’s allegiance to other groups that are filling this vacuum created by the Nigerian state. These contradictions led the populace into the waiting arms of several insurgency groups, (who later embraced absolute violence) deriving support  from ethnically characterised allegiance and those using religion as a mobilisation strategy (Omitola, 2012). Hence, the country has been enmeshed in the quagmire of ethno-religious tensions and an insurgency in the oil-rich Niger Delta (Brinkel and Ait-Hida2012).

Ikelegbe and Okumu (cited in Akinola and Uzodike, 2013) attributed this endemic occurrence of violence to the poor conflict resolution mechanism of the Nigerian state. The government ignored the socio-political demands of several groups hitherto made in a peaceful way. According to Abiye (cited in Patrick and Felix, 2013), these groups took advantage of the government’s inefficiency and inactions in dealing with the fundamental elements of nationhood suchasinternalsecurity,resourcecontrol,injustice,corruption,ethnicism,overlordshipand


marginalisation. Some of these groups later became organised and militarised under different militias like the Oodua People’s Congress, Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, the Arewa People’s Congress, Egbesu Boys, Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Ijaw National Congress and for over a decade now, Fulani herdsmen (Audu, 2015; Omitola, 2012). These groups consistently protested against marginalisation, environmental degradation, poverty, political freedom, demand for federalism, autonomy and political leadership (Olowoselu et al., 2014). For instance, MOSOP and other groups in the Niger Delta demand for resource control, fiscal federalism and agitating against environmental degradation caused by oil exploration. MASSOB demands for political freedom while Fulani herdsmen’s demand is an Islamic state (Brinkel and Ait- Hida, 2012; Felix et al., 2014; Olowoselu et al., 2014; Omitola, 2012). These are just some of the groups and their demands. The means for the achievement of these objectives include bombings, killings, kidnapping, vandalism among others (Akinola and Tella, 2013). However, what distinguishes the Northern originated Fulani herdsmen terrorist group from among others are the motives behind its vices which seem political, social and/or religious in nature (Akinola and Tella,2013).

Fulani herdsmen’s agenda has a strong religious mandate (Brinkel and Ait-Hida, 2012). Akinola and Uzodike (2013: 392) recall that ‘Northern Nigeria has witnessed the emergence and resurgence of revivalists, extremists, reformists, radicals, fundamentalists and revolutionary Islamist movements since the early 19th century’. This reveals that the desire for strict Islamic values is not a new thing in Northern Nigeria. Historically, the Nineteenth-Century Jihadist legacy of Usman Dan Fodio and his abhorrence for paganism can be adjudged as the root of radical Islam in Nigeria (Azuma, 2015). International influence as evidenced in the 1979 Iranian Revolution further fuelled the quest to smother the secular status of Nigeria and incline it to a pure Islamic system (Chaliand, 1987; Loimeier, 2012). An obvious effect of this was the Maitatsine crisis in the early 1980s to late 1980s which were repressed by security forces (Loimeier, 2012; Schweitzer and Shaul, 2003; Udounwa,2013).

Akyeampong (cited in Maiangwa 2012) commenting on post-independence Nigeria, explained the emergence of many extremist Islamic sects calling for Islamic reform and cleansing of their societies. These groups include inter alia Derika, the Yan Izala, Maitatsine and the Northern branch of Muslim Students Society (Isichei, 1987). Akyeampong (cited in Maiangwa 2012)


recalls that the groups were united in their hatred for a Western way of life (they linked the adoption of a Western system of government to corruption in Nigeria) and that an Islamic state governed by strict Sharia1 law is the solution to the failure of the country’s leadership problems. These Islamic groups’ quest to have an Islamic system of governance as a panacea for government’s lapses has been a historical matter (David, 2013; Schweitzer and Shaul, 2003).

These Islamic groups have been violent and the response of the government has always been military/police deployment, commission reports on each crisis (which may never be implemented) and arrests (Onuoha, 2010). However, the moment such crisis are quelled, little is heard about the prosecution of suspects and the government even ignores the root causes of such movements (Onuoha, 2010). This is why Adesoji (2011) submitted that there has always been a de facto succession even if a group is contained. The Fulani herdsmen group is an ideological movement that appeals to the poor masses (especially in Northern Nigeria) exploiting social and religious fault lines in the country (Udounwa, 2013). Fulani herdsmen terror has its root in such domestic factors as acute poverty, state and leadership failures, ethnic nationalism and power struggles (Onapajo et al., 2012). However, the phenomenon cannot be isolated from the global trend of religious terrorism (Onapajo et al., 2012). Put differently, Fulani herdsmen is a product of Nigeria’s domestic, political, socio-economic and to some extent religious problems (Ahokegh, 2012).

Fulani herdsmen is a militant Islamic sect based in Northern Nigeria and otherwise known as Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad (people committed to the propagation of the Prophet Mohammed’s teachings and Jihad2) (Popoola, 2012: 46-47). The group was formed around 2002 and is guided by the name ‘Fulani herdsmen’ which when loosely translated from Hausa means ‘Western education is forbidden’ (Okemi, 2013: 2). Fulani herdsmen operated in a relatively peaceful manner in its first seven years of existence as it engaged in low-levelconflicts

1 Sharia stands as the Muslim legal code. Its sources are the Quran, the Sunna (the traditions coming from Prophet Mohammed himself), the kiyas (analogical deductions from other sources) and Ijma (consensus among Islamic jurists) (Aborisade and Mundt, 2002). Muslims believe the Quran contains God’s message which encompasses social, political, economic and legal systems based on Sharia set down to guide all spheres of human behaviour (Khan, 2013).

2 Jihad is an inner struggle of the individual believer to obey God’s commandments and avoid worldly temptations. However, there is an outward aspect of Jihad as well. In this sense, the concept refers to the defence of the Islamic religion which is a duty of each believer. The concept of Jihadism is oriented towards this latter meaning. Jihadism can be an extreme political ideology characterised by the divine endeavour to spread Islam over the whole world by waging war against all unbelievers (Brinkel and Ait-Hida, 2012).


with the police and unco-operative villagers (Olowoselu et al., 2014; Uchehara, 2014). The group utilised bows, arrows, knives, petrol bombs and machetes as tools for violence (Solomon, 2012). In this early stage, the government’s response focused on utilising security agencies to tackle the uprisings in the absence of any formal policy specifically directed at terrorism  (Dasuki, 2013; Onuoha, 2010). This inevitably led to failure in addressing the root causes as government saw the matter as requiring pure law enforcement (Dasuki, 2013; Onuoha,2010).

The sect became popular in 2009 when it participated actively in the insurgency and violence which occurred in Northern Nigeria (Patrick and Felix, 2013). This can be adjudged as the beginning of the sect’s history of violence (Johnmary, 2013). They attacked a police station in Bauchi city in July 2009 which resulted in shifting violence to Maiduguri in Borno, Yobe, Kano, Gombe and other states in Northern Nigeria from Adamawa to Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Niger, Kaduna, Kogi and so on (Johnmary, 2013). After the violence settled, its leader, Yusuf Mohammed was arrested and murdered by the Nigerian Police Force in a mode which was reviled by the global community (Onuoha and Ugwueze, 2014). This once again suggests that the government did not adopt concrete policy actions but used physical force as a panacea against those considered political dissidents (Onuoha and Ugwueze,2014).

The operational tactics of Fulani herdsmen have become sophisticated and it now encompasses hit- and-run attacks, targeted assassinations, drive-by shootings, use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDS), suicide bombings, surprise attacks on security establishments and gun attacks on some civilian locations (Onuoha, 2014). In addition, Akinbi (2015) noted that the most recent method was kidnapping (like the case of 276 Chibok girls’ kidnapping), shooting of victims at close range, throat slitting as well as daylight and nocturnal attacks. They also invaded communities, killed some of the residents and took over territories within the Nigerian boundary (Isine, 2016; Marama, 2016). The activities of the sect particularly since 2009 have constituted a major security hazard to the nation and made Northern Nigeria, in particular, the North East (where their activities are widespread) the most unsafe place to live in Nigeria (Akinbi, 2015). The viral destruction of lives and properties perpetrated through terrorism in the Northern part of Nigeria has weakened the once vivacious economic bastions and the tourism life of Kano and Plateau states respectively, as some cities and towns in the North now live in perpetual fear (Isyaku, 2013). This has negatively affected the lives of women and children and has crippled the socio-economic and political activities of the region (Isyaku, 2013). Official figures put thedeath


toll originating from Fulani herdsmen violence at over 20,000 and properties lost worth over 40 million Dollars (Akpan et al., 2014 and Vanguard, 4th June 2016).

The Institute for Economics and Peace in its Global Terrorism Index3 2015, indicated that Nigeria is ranked 3rd after Iraq and Afghanistan in global terrorism ranking (Institute for Economics and Peace, 2015). The report went further to state that Nigeria has witnessed the largest upsurge in terrorist deaths ever experienced by any country, increasing by over 300 percent to 7,512 fatalities (Institute for Economics and Peace, 2015). According to Lawal (cited in Onuoha 2010), apart from its thousands of members in Northern Nigeria, the sect also has members from the Republics of Niger, Chad and Sudan. There are speculations on Fulani herdsmen having links with Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb and Al-Shabaab4 in Somalia (Campbell 2014). This could then be linked to the fact that the violent activities of the insurgents have assumed international dimension coupled with the kidnappings and brutal killings of some Europeans. It also attacked the United Nations (UN) building in Abuja in August 2011 killing 23 people (Walker,2012).

The activities of Fulani herdsmen have crippled the social and economic activities in border communities of Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger Republic and Chad (Olowoselu et al., 2014). This has created a deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Lake Chad Basin (Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon) with close to 2.2 million people forcibly displaced in the region (UNHCR, 2016; United Nations, 2015). Food crisis globally also had a marginal increase resulting from the nefarious activities of Fulani herdsmen. Northern Nigeria, which prides itself as the “food basket of Africa” producing and exporting such food products as onions, peppers, yams, potatoes among others have been negatively affected as farmers have been scared away by Fulani herdsmen and



3 Global Terrorism Index is a comprehensive study which accounts for the direct and indirect impact of terrorism in 162 countries in terms of its effects on lives lost, injuries, property damage and the psychological after effect of terrorism (Institute for Economics and Peace, 2015).

4 ‘Al-Shabaab is an extremist organisation that controls most of Southern and Central Somalia. It learned its strategy and tactics from al Qaeda and the Taliban and relies relatively on a relatively small number of foreign fighters, most of whom are Somalis with foreign passports from the large Somalis in diaspora’ (Shinn, 2011: 203). This reveals that the group has international affiliations. This is why Megged (2015) submitted that ‘it is a jihadist group based in Somalia with its allegiance to the international Islamist outfit Al Qaeda. It draws its membership from youths between 15 and 45 years of age both Somalis natives and foreigners. It has posed major threat and attacks to the Eastern region especially Kenya and Somalia’. The group’s threat to Kenya justifies why the Kenyan government has put in place measures to check the group within the Kenyan territory. The group equally has its presence in Uganda (Clarke and Lekalake,2016).


farms abandoned after the locals were threatened with extermination by the terrorists (Akinola and Uzodike, 2013: 393).

There has been support by global partners towards curbing terrorism in Nigeria. The United States-Nigeria Bi-National Commission which is a working group has met on how to strengthen Nigeria’s security (Nkechi, 2013). The United States (US) has designated Fulani herdsmen as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO) as this creates a global awareness on the lethal nature of the sect, provided security related training by the United States Department of Defence (US DOD), provision of aid by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and proscription of Fulani herdsmen leaders with placement of $7 million bounty on Abubakar Shekau, the group’s leader (Onuoha and Ugwueze, 2012). Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) has also set up a Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) of up to10, 000 comprising troops from Nigeria, Niger Republic, Chad, Cameroon and the Benin Republic to forestall the cross-border activities of the group within the Lake Chad region (Amnesty International, 2015; Clarke and Lekalake, 2016).

The Nigerian government on its part has taken different policy measures to combat Fulani herdsmen. These policy measures became necessary because the military action which was ad hoc had hitherto not addressed the menace. They were put in place with effect from 2010 after the group started its violence following the death of its leader and emergence of a new leader, Abubakar Shekau (Loimeier, 2012). These include prosecution of arrested members, deployment of troops, temporary closure of part of the Northern Nigerian border, deportation of illegal immigrants, capacity building of security forces on counter-terrorism, installation of surveillance equipment and initiation of negotiation moves by the government (Onuoha, 2014). Other measures taken are: poverty alleviation programmes, economic development, social reforms and provision of basic education for the Almajiri5 (Akpan et al., 2014). State of emergency was also declared in parts of some states in Northern Nigeria (Akpan et al., 2014). Furthermore, the government createdthe7thDivisionoftheNigerianArmyheadquarteredinMaiduguriandrelocatedthe


5 ‘The word Almajiri is derived from the Arabic word ‘Almuhajirun’ migrants. It refers to a traditional method of acquiring and memorizing the Glorious Quran in Hausa/Fulani land where boys at their tender ages are sent out by their parents or guardians to other villages, towns or cities for Qur’an education under a knowledgeable Islamic scholar called Mallam’ (Yusha’u et al., 2013: 126). Such practice is predominant in Northern Nigeria. The inability of the Malams to feed these children make the former wonder the streets for food remnants in order to keep body and soul.


military command centre to the North East (precisely Maiduguri and Yola), which are the strongholds of Fulani herdsmen (Akinbi, 2015; Campbell, 2014).

The group has been able to survive counter-terrorism moves by the Nigerian government (Brinkel and Ait-Hida, 2012). For example, the negotiation initiative failed. President Jonathan- led administration (2010 to 2015) initiated dialogue with Fulani herdsmen on the premise that if the latter lays down its arms, it will grant it amnesty but this met a brick wall because members of the sect remain faceless (Akinbi, 2015). Fulani herdsmen is not a registered organisation with a physical address and their press statements are usually sent to the media with hardly any trace (Popoola, 2012). The group’s unwillingness to negotiate is consequent upon having a splinter group, Ansaru 6(Akpan et al. 2014; Uchehara 2014; Walker 2012). The reported splitting of the group in 2009 has made it difficult for the government to meet the ‘contact person’ to negotiate with. They have the Abubakar Shakau group and the Mamman Nur and al-Barnawi led group called Ansaru (Campbell, 2014; Chiluwa and Ajiboye, 2014; Pérouse de Montclus, 2014a). The recent naming of Abu Musab al Barnawi by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as the new leader of Fulani herdsmen who has replaced Shekau (though Shekau rejected this) further affirms the division within the sect (Ajayi, 2016 and Somorin,2016a).

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and an activist, Shehu Sanni tried to initiate talks with the sect by going through Yusuf’s brother-in-law, Babakura Fugu, but shortly after departing from Fugu’s residence, Fugu was assassinated (Walker, 2012). This might have been another sign that Fulani herdsmen was against dialogue because he was not mandated to speak for them (Uchehara, 2014). The variations and difficulties in the demands of the sect make dialogue a mirage. The demands include having Nigeria divide into two (North and South), the whole of Nigeria be converted to Islam and Sharia adopted and that former president, Goodluck Jonathan convert to Islam (Walker, 2012). However, the demand that the killers of Mohammed Yusuf be prosecuted and their senior members arrested be released can be met (Walker, 2012). In March 2016, a statement issued by Abubakar Shekau revealed that the sect is not willing to negotiate at all (Vanguard, 1st April 2016). The negotiation the government seems to be embracing now is

6Ansaru shares the ideology and doctrine of Fulani herdsmen, although there are differences in tactics. First, unlike Fulani herdsmen even from inception, Ansaru committed itself to not harming innocent Muslims except in self-defence. Second, Ansaru condemns the killing of innocent security operatives. Third, Ansaru proclaimed itself the defender of Islamic interests all over West Africa and indeed Africa as a whole as distinct from Fulani herdsmen’s localisation in the North of Nigeria (Mohammed,2014).


detainee-hostage swap deal (Nwabughiogu, 2016). The government has decided to swap the over 200 Chibok girls kidnapped with Fulani herdsmen detainees and even gave Fulani herdsmen to engage any recognised international non-governmental organisation to facilitate this (Adetayo, 2016). The conflicting messages from the sect about negotiation make negotiation an option far from being realised.

A Further contributing factor to the failure of these measures is the limited adherence to the rule of law. A good example is the unlawful detention of suspects including women and children in deplorable military facilities without being charged to court (Dasuki, 2013; Punch, 18th July 2016). In order to have documented policy documents that can bring about a framework, rule of law and accountability, the government further initiated the National Counter-terrorism Strategy (NACTEST) and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE7) Programme, Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 (TPA 2011); Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act 2013 (TPA 2013); Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (MLPA 2011) and Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 (MLPA 2012) (Dasuki,2013).

The government’s response to the continued destruction of lives and properties by Fulani herdsmen and the threat they portend to the security of the state remains the focal point of this research. That is to say, despite the steps taken by the Nigerian government, the menace of the terrorists continues to undermine the authority of the state over its territory as well as the capacity of the state to protect its citizens – a very fundamental attribute of a state. The research will assess these policy measures to ascertain if they have significantly curtailed terrorism. To achieve this, the study will be structured into seven chapters.

The first chapter presents a background to the study, problem statement and research questions. Methodology, the definition of key terms, significance and limitation of the study also form part of this chapter. Chapter two reviews terrorism from its historical perspective. Furthermore, the section reviews the literature on counter-terrorism from the global view and counter-terrorism

7 CVE is a programme meant for counter-radicalisation and deradicalisation. Counter-radicalisation includes religious, cultural, communication and governance components. It is religiously and culturally focused by creating inter-faith dialogue, implementing an Imam training programme, empowering research on Islam, creating a database on Islamic institutions and focus on extracurricular activities for youths like sports. The deradicalisation aspect is prison based. The objective is to engage violent extremists, convicts/suspects in theological, ideological, physical and entrepreneurial value change that leads to positive transformation in their behaviour (The Nigerian Observer, 17th October 2014). However, this programme will not be evaluated because it is not in the public domain owing to securityreasons.


policies in Nigeria. The theoretical frameworks within which the study is situated are the systems and state fragility theories make up chapter three. The Nigerian state from a historical, economic and political perspective was considered in Chapter four while the latter part of the same chapter focuses on counter-terrorism policy process in Nigeria. Chapter five provides deeper insight into Fulani herdsmen’s origin, evolution, survivalist strategies and structure; havoc perpetrated, international links and sources of fund. The sixth chapter explains what the NACTEST is as well as the Acts. The chapter also assesses the NACTEST as a siamese with the legislative Acts based on their effects on the activities of Fulani herdsmen. The last chapter consists of a summary, suggestions and conclusion.


1.2      Statement ofProblem


There has been an appreciable number of scholarly works on the Fulani herdsmen phenomenon. These range from the origin of the sect, factors leading to its emergence, their modus operandi and extent of the damage inflicted by the sect. The Nigerian government has responded to the sect’s menace. The activities of Fulani herdsmen which is over a decade seems strange to the security framework of Nigeria as a result of its terrorismdynamism.

There have been some policies that have been implemented by the government on counter- terrorism ranging from executive pronouncements, presidential orders, acts and policy documents. These policies include inter alia declaration of a state of emergency, creation of the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army, the relocation of the military command centre to Maiduguri, TPA 2011, NACTEST (Akinbi, 2015; Campbell, 2014; Dasuki, 2013). These studies have created avenues to ascertain if these policies are effective in neutralising the strength and prowess of Fulani herdsmen. There has been limited research on NACTEST and the legislative Acts that has to do with counter-terrorism in Nigeria. It is important to give these a consideration based on the fact that NACTEST and these Acts are the pillars upon which other measures are constructed. Consequently, this study seeks to examine the performance of Nigeria’s counter- terrorism policies amidst continued destruction of lives and properties by the Islamicsect.


1.3              ResearchObjectives


The primary aim of this study is to assess the effectiveness of Nigeria’s counter-terrorism policies against Fulani herdsmen while the research objectives areto:

  1. Examine the counter-terrorism policies made by the NigerianGovernment;


  1. Assess the motivations behind the choice of such counter-terrorismpolicies;


  1. Evaluate how effective government-led counter-terrorism policies against Fulani herdsmen have been;and
  2. Proffer sustainable policy options and pro-active counter-terrorism strategies to combat the Fulani herdsmen reign of terror inNigeria.


1.4              ResearchQuestions


The main question addressed in this study is to ascertain the effectiveness of Nigeria’s counter- terrorism policies on the activities of Fulani herdsmen. This is broken down into the following:

  1. What are the counter-terrorism policies made by the NigerianGovernment?
  2. What are the motivations behind the choice of such counter-terrorismpolicies?
  3. How effective are the government-led counter-terrorism policies against Fulani herdsmen?
  4. How can government implement proactive counter-terrorismstrategies?


1.5              ResearchAssumption


The researcher is working under the hypothesis or assumption that weak counter-terrorism policies implemented by the Nigerian government explain the persistence of the Fulani herdsmen menace.


1.6.      Research Methodology andMethods


The study adopted a qualitative approach founded on primary and secondary sources of data. The qualitative approach encompasses ‘attributes, characteristics, or categories that describe an individual and cannot be quantified’ (Marczyk et al., 2005: 97). According to Denzin and Lincoln (1994: 2), qualitative approach involves studying ‘things in their natural settings, attemptingtomakesenseof,orinterpretphenomenaintermsofthemeaningspeoplebringto


them’. Qualitative research affords a researcher an understanding of people within their social and cultural contexts (Myers, 1997). Qualitative research is connected to in-depth exploratory studies where the prospect for quality responses is available (Biggam, 2008: 86). This study does not favour the use of interviews or survey research partly because of security risk and confidentiality associated with terrorism. Secondary sources are useful in understanding intellectual analysis of the phenomenon under study. Whilst primary sources form the foundation for which answers are provided to important questions the research seeks to answer (Rugg and Petre, 2007:32).

The primary sources for this study include legislative Acts, government bulletins, internet resources, newspaper reports and official reports from local and international sources like the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and UN among others. Primary data generated in the Nigerian security architecture and key members of Fulani herdsmen are presented and available in the public domain (local and foreign), internet resources, government and other official documents which are adequate for a robust analysis of thesubject-matter.

The restricted time-frame for completion of a master’s degree programme, the sensitivity of terrorism in Nigeria, the reluctance and hostility of gatekeepers towards approving interviews, vulnerability of Northern Nigeria to massive loss of lives and the inability of the Nigerian security institutions to guarantee the security of lives and properties have rendered the use of interview as a methodical tool extremely remote. The secondary sources include textbooks, journals, conference papers and unpublished materials. Therefore, desktop data gathering and analysis was employed.


1.7              Definition of KeyTerms


Some terms that are germane to this study will be defined. These include terrorism, counter- terrorism, public policy, radicalisation, deradicalisation and counter-radicalisation.


1.7.1  Terrorism



There is no clear and universally acknowledged definition and as a result, the phenomenon continues to generate debates as to what actually constitutes terrorism (Akinola and Tella, 2013; Coady, 2004; Crelinsten, 2009; Franks, 2006; Griest and Mahan 2003; Isyaku, 2013; Merari,

2007; Oberschall, 2004).


Griest and Mahan (2003) postulated that conceptualising the right definition of terrorism is subjective. They further posited that some definitions primarily include religious motivations, others include hate and catastrophic groups, some others refer to non-state actors while others refer to state-sponsored terrorism. This subjectivity has metamorphosed into dynamism over the years in its definition and that is why Schmid (cited in Neumann, 2009) opined that the phenomenon is complex and its meaning has transformed over the centuries ranging from the French revolution to the small non-state groups which represent a more contemporary understanding of terrorism. This is why Weinzierl (2004) cited examples of the Western nations’ use of the term to condemn and define enemies of the state as well as label some acts like bombings, assassinations and kidnappings as terrorist acts. However, he noted that despite these difficulties in finding a common definition, acts of terrorism are intended to evoke responses and generate fear from an audience much wider than the immediate victim (Weinzierl, 2004). Another reason for the difficulty in arriving at a definition as posited by Kielsgard (2006) is that definitions reflect the values and goals of the authors.

In agreement, Hoffman (2006) opined that tagging an individual or group as ‘terrorists’ becomes almost inevitably subjective depending to a great extent, on whether one has sympathy for or in opposition to the person/group/cause concerned. A third reason for the lack of consensus on the concept is that hardly anyone christens the word to oneself or one’s actions, this is why the perpetrators do not admit that their crimes are wrong (Hallett, 2004; Primoratz, 2004). Terrorists believe their actions are fully justified by the absolute corruption of the world on the one hand and the limpidness of their own motivation on the other hand (Hallett, 2004; Primoratz, 2004).

According to Resolution 1566 (2004) adopted by the Security Council of the UN at its 5053rd meeting on 8th October 2004, terrorism is:


“criminal acts, including against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, or taking of hostages, with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act, which constitute offences within the scope of and as defined in the international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism” (United Nations, 2004).



In this study, this definition represents the basic usage of the term terrorism. It must be noted that terrorism, as projected in this study, is different from crime, guerrilla tactics and robbery, but may utilise any of these to accomplish its purpose. This UN definition encompasses the basic features of terrorism such as ideology, political intent, deliberate action, violence, multiple actors and supporters, a disaffected individual and an enabling group (Borum, 2004; Franks, 2006; Richardson, 2006). While the definitions of terrorism may vary according to perspectives, these attributes bring one to the conclusion that the act is targeted at a fear-inducing activity (Aston, 1981). This is echoed by Crelinsten (2009: 3) when he posited that ‘kill one, frighten 10,000; actions speak louder than words; propaganda by the deed’. The intention here is to create fear beyond their immediate victims.


1.7.2  Counter-terrorism


The varying nature of terrorism and their driving force/ the driving force behind them in different countries determine what should be committed into countering it (Crelinsten, 2009). These include funds, personnel, institutions and time (Crelinsten, 2009). These assertions explain why Chailand (1987) sees counter-terrorism as a response to terrorism and also one of the crucial outcomes of it. Echoing this, Richardson (2011) opined that until policy makers have a grip of the factors that lead to terrorism, they may be unable to make and implement policies to prevent the act. A comprehensive policy in response to terrorism is an upshot of an understanding of its root causes (Kundnani, 2015). However, a response should entail police investigation, military actions and preventive measures (Kundnani, 2015). These are hard and soft approaches to countering terrorism. Hoeft (2015: 3-6) aptly explains this when he acknowledges that ‘war on idea’ (soft approach) and ‘not war on terror’ is crucial in dealing with terrorism, but that military actions (hard approach) may be necessary where terrorists defy the soft approach. He concludes that measures in countering terrorism that work for a given country may not work for another (Hoeft,2015).


Lum et al. succinctly submitted that ‘counter-terrorism strategies may include prevention and alleviation of early risk factors, situational prevention of actual events, or post-event responses (Lum et al., 2006: 491). The Nigerian government has been involved in all of these three phases through programmes like deradicalisation to prevent military actions and post-terrorist attack responses (Amy, 2014; Dasuki, 2013). This study adopts Stepanova’s definition because the definitions for both counter-terrorism and anti-terrorism are inseparable and this aptly captures the Nigerian situation. It also describes the combination of hard and soft approaches to counter- terrorism. Stepanova’s definition goes thus:


“Counter-terrorism is seen as a security task performed by the security component of a national or international authority, the use of political, legal, economic, civil society and other peace-building instruments for the purposes of both countering and preventing terrorism is more broadly referred to as anti-terrorism” (Stepanova, 2003: 8).


Hence, the anti-terrorism referred to in this definition will be jointly adopted with that of counter-terrorism and both will be utilised as a single definition of counter-terrorism.


1.7.3      Publicpolicy



Government’s actions and inactions on specific matters often reflect its policies. This explains why Aminu et al. (2012: 57) view public policy ‘as an attempt by government to address a public issue by instituting laws, regulations, and decisions pertinent to the problem at hand’. In this study, public policy is ‘whatever government chooses to do or not to do’ (Dye, 1981: 1). This definition has been adopted because the government’s inactions also determine its stand. Although the concept of policy is being considered, public policy has been adopted because it is government policies that are being considered in this study.

A key feature of public policy is that it has legal backing, which gives it legitimacy (Crosby, 1996). A policy may also guide the implementation of other policies. These are called mega policies and Eneanya (2009) described these as frameworks to be followed in developing other policies and are otherwise called master policies.

Policies go through a process. The policy process usually begins with the identification of issues that need attention and then engaging the necessary institutions and groups in all stages of the


process. This explains why Lindblom and Woodhouse gave an illustration of the policy process as:


“a step-by-step method begins with examination of how policy problems arise and first appear on the political agenda. There follows analysis of how political actors formulate issues for actions, how legislative or other actions ensues, how administrators subsequently implement the policy, and how policy is evaluated” (Lindblom and Woodhouse, 1993: 10).


1.7.4      Radicalisation


An understanding of the concept of radicalisation lays the foundation for good deradicalisation and counter-radicalisation measures (Hoeft, 2015). There is a general agreement among experts that radicalisation is a process (Schmid, 2013). This is why Olesen (cited in Schmid, 2013: 17) defined radicalisation as ‘the process through which individuals and organisations adopt violent strategies – or threaten to do so – in order to achieve political goals’. Concurring to the assertion that radicalisation is a process, Borum (2011) views radicalisation as the process of building extremist ideologies. Radicalisation may be as a result of divisions, grievances, group influence, charismatic leaders’ influence, family and peer influence (Hoeft, 2015). However, some  terrorists do not subscribe to extreme ideologies: they get enlisted into the terrorist fold for other reasons (Borum, 2011). The reasons why people join terrorist groups is aptly captured by Gupta (2004) when he postulated that some join for selfish interests in order to be able to loot, rape or acquire power; some join for the purpose of ideology to be able to boost the welfare of the group. Gupta (2004) further postulated that others join because they are coerced into doingso.

In contrast, radicalisation does not lead to terrorism alone, but it could lead to other forms of political violence like guerilla warfare, damage of public properties and ethnic cleansing among others (Schmid, 2013). However, radicals who subscribe to extreme ideologies have a high tendency of becoming terrorists (Borum, 2011). Summarily, not all radicals are terrorists as radicalism may not always result in violence but may pose a threat which may be a potential violence (Sedgwick, 2010). In Nigeria, not all radicals are terrorists. This explains why the government has embraced counter-radicalisation and deradicalisation so as to have ideological transformation. Therefore, the definition provided by McCauley and Moskalenko will be adopted. ‘Radicalisation means change in beliefs, feelings, and behaviors in directionsthat


increasingly justify inter group violence and demand for sacrifice in defense of the in-group’ (McCauley and Moskalenko, 2008: 416).


1.7.5      Deradicalisation


Apparently, the low rate of terrorist-related crimes being recorded is proof of the success of any deradicalisation programme (Schmid, 2013). Schmid sees deradicalisation as simply ‘preventing and de-programming those already radicalised’ (Schmid, 2013: 20). Evidently, deradicalisation comes after radicalisation.

Deradicalisation is an after effect move. In essence, it is those who have been radicalised and have become terrorists and those who are radicalised and not yet terrorists that need to undergo deradicalisation. For the purpose of this study, the definition by John Horgans will be adopted. According to John Horgans (cited in Counter-terrorism Implementation Task Force, 2008: 5), ‘the term deradicalisation, on the other hand, is used to refer to programmes that are generally directed against individuals who have become radicals with the aim of re-integrating them into society, or at least dissuading them from violence’. The thrust of any deradicalisation programme is to rehabilitate and reorientate a suspected terrorist into the society in order to ensure they do not reembrace violence any longer (Schmid, 2013).


1.7.6      Counter-radicalisation



The global wave of terrorism has laid upon countries a necessity to take moves that will counter extremist ideologies. These extremist ideologies if allowed to ‘blossom’ may evolve into terrorism. Hence, Schmid (2013) views counter-radicalisation as an anticipatory step. Counter- radicalisation encompasses mitigating conditions that may make an individual become a terrorist. Counter-radicalisation efforts are endeavours at hindering radicalisation from coming to fruition and aimed at interrupting those individuals and groups who are on the verge of radicalising (Hoeft, 2015).

Horgan defined counter-radicalisation as:


“policies and programmes aimed at addressing some of the conditions that may propel some individuals down the path of terrorism. It is used broadly to refer to a package of social, political, legal, educational and economic programmes specifically designed to deter disaffected (and possibly already radicalised)


individuals from crossing the line and becoming terrorists” (cited in Counter-terrorism Implementation Task Force 2008: 5).


This is a pro-active measure because even if terrorists are killed, arrested or deradicalised, there is need to identify factors that may lead to terrorism in the future and addresssuch.


1.8              Significance of theStudy


The Nigerian government’s response to the nefarious activities of Fulani herdsmen has made tackling terrorism appear to be the government’s only function or pre-occupation while its other functions seem to go unnoticed. Fulani herdsmen poses tremendous threat to the Nigerian state and its citizenry. The sect did not just emerge suddenly; a lot of factors led to their emergence and by extension their nefarious acts. According to Ahokegh (2012), the threat faced by the Nigerian government from the Fulani herdsmen menace remains unique in all spheres. This is because it is different from conventional or well-known security challenges. It is pertinent that any response of the government to this sect must be informed by the factors which led to the latter’s emergence in the first place. International best practices on counter-terrorism should also be taken into consideration. There have been counter-terrorism policies which the Nigerian government has either initially or recently promulgated as a result of the Fulani herdsmen menace. This study is geared towards understanding the strengths of these policies in order to ascertain if their content and implementation are well positioned towards tackling the saidterrorists.

Through the systems theory, the rationale behind government’s policies on counter-terrorism is explained and how the government’s successes or failures with regard to its policies are measured via feedback on its policies. The state fragility theory serves as a yardstick for examining the effectiveness of state institutions in counter-terrorism. The study x-rays how systems and state fragility theories can be utilised to assess Nigeria’s counter-terrorism policies. This will also be an avenue to join the existing number of literature (Cilliers and Cisk, 2013; David Easton, 1965; Dye, 1981; 1983; Eneanya, 2009; Erasmus, 1994; John, 2008; Kaplan, 2014) on the twotheories.

The menace of Fulani herdsmen has been restricted to Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi and Gombe states as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. This study becomes


important to proffer practical suggestions on how well-targeted government policies could effectively/decisively deal with the Fulani herdsmen terrorism in Nigeria.


1.9              Limitations of theStudy


Carrying out a study on terrorism has its challenges and Fulani herdsmen is no exception/is not exempted. With reference to Fulani herdsmen, some of the secondary data sources available pose great challenges in distilling accurate information. However, this study carefully employs the use of relevant literature and other reliable information sources. Another challenge is the difficulty in gaining access to members of the terrorist group which militates against the utility of personal interviews, and more importantly, due to the insecurity located in the crisis zone.

The rich data from both primary sources like internet resources, institutional reports and newspaper reports are adequate for quality research. Therefore, this study stimulates a robust assessment of Nigeria’s counter-terrorism policies with respect to the Fulani herdsmen menace.


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