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Political thuggery and electoral manipulations have become so prevalent in democratic dispensations in Nigeria. The social, political and economic powers of those involved have made it both national and international concern. These categories of people who possess these powers are the ruling elite or the potential ruling elite and their activities have been institutionalized to the point of subverting the constitution for their selfish and economic gains.

            Subscribingto this assertion, Gboyega (2004) observed that political godfathers are by design placed above the laws of the land including the constitution. They and their thugs can carry arms without hindrance. They are entitled to police escorts and are immune to the crime of abduction, harassment and maiming, most of these thugs are recruited and trained for various political purposes such as intimidation, harassment, violence, assassination, rigging etc. some of them are placed on regular salaries, with allowances accompanying their remuneration. Similarly, some of them are employed as special advisers, special assistants and personal assistants while those who do not fit in for the aforementioned positions are made contractors to the government at Federal, State or local Government Areas.

            Most of these thugs were used to rig elections in 1999,2003,2007 and 2011 general elections in Nigeria, especially in Borno State, where most of the elections were monitored and conducted by political thugs under the cover of INEC’S ad-hoc staff. In fact, the officers who were officially assigned to do the job were overpowered by these political thugs through pointing out gun to them, causing crisis and violence in the voting venues. These thus forced electorates to vote against their wishes forced electorates to vote against their wishes.

The party representatives at the polling booths were threatened to compromise, and INEC officials were forced to change election results in favour of a particular party. Masses who want to participate in politics found it very difficult to penetrate the electoral environment because of money politics.

Therefore, rather than being democratized, the Nigerian state has largely been militarized by the struggle for powered amongst the various contending groups in the polity. The civil disturbances, rise of ethnic militias and politically motivated killings of opponent are pointers to increasing militarism of the Nigeria state, which has further affected socio-economic and political development of the state. These thugs have several names in different places such as in Lagos we have Oduduwa people’s congress (OPC) or popularly the Are boys, in the Niger Delta we have Egbesu boys, in Calabar we have Bakassi Boys, Bauchi has Sara-suka (cut and stab), Yankalare in Gombe, Yandaba (Jungle boys) in Kano and Ecomog in Borno. The current development in Maiduguri city has revealed that most of these thugs have metamorphosed to Boko Haram and their activities have reached an alarming level which is compromising socio-economic and political development in the State.


Over the years the activities of thugs in Nigeria have been recognized and powerfully backed by the political class. Thus, it has gone beyond what is known or seen in the first, second or the aborted third republic as Nda-Isaiah (2004) observed that thuggery has even gone beyond that of the rag-tag hoodlums that it used to be. Today, thuggery has been given new garb of legitimacy by the political class. The presence of energetic (but aggressive) youths can be noticed in the name of body guards. Unfortunately physical realities have shown that violent activities are carried out while political activities like campaigns/elections are going on. The teeming youths who are supposed to have been harnessed or trained towards nation building are used (misused rather) by politicians particularly those in power (and the opposition) to harass and intimidate the opposition including the innocent citizens and at worse maim and kill under the influence of drugs and political power. Thus, their precious energy is misused in  destabilizing the society. The major problem is that instead of stopping such activities it is often regarded as normal way of politics and those in power often provide the platform upon which ugly political thuggery is committed.

            Indeed, over the years the dominant class or simply the elites have failed to leave up to expectation in most part of this country of which Borno is a component of the greater entity with particular reference to curtailing the activities of things. The citizen are gradually losing confidence in the leadership of Borno state since it fail to stop the activities of the thugs in destroying lives, properties and commercial areas. Thus, the question of good governance, socio-economic and political development are being compromised.


The objectives/purposes of this study are to:

–          Identify the socio-economic and political factors that facilitate thuggery in Nigeria as seen in MuritalaSule’sWETIE.

–          Examine the implications of thuggery on socio-economic and political development of Nigeria.

–          Identify various ways of addressing the activities of thugs in Nigeria.


This research centers on the issues of thuggery and hooliganism in Nigerian politics. It is also to investigate and to know the effect of thuggery and hooliganism in Nigerian politics.


            The operation of criminal activities like robbers, recently the upsurge in kidnapping, militants in Nigeria and a host of others have remained a major source of worry. All these constitute a major clog in the wheel of National development. It therefore behalves governments, from the local level to national levels to take necessary steps aimed at curbing any activity found to be capable of branching public peace and constituting a security threat.


            The use of qualitative research method will be used in carrying out this research work. Qualitative research is carried out to understand meanings, describe and understand ideas, experience and beliefs.

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