Radicalisation and deradicalisation in Nigeria: an analysis of what works and what doesn't

Daniya, Nasir Abubakar (2021) Radicalisation and deradicalisation in Nigeria: an analysis of what works and what doesn't. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


Since Nigeria’s independence from Britain in 1960, the country has made some progress while also facing some significant socio-economic challenges. Despite being one of the largest producers of oil in the world, in 2018 and 2019, the Brooking Institution and World Poverty Clock respectively ranked Nigeria amongst top three countries with extreme poverty in the World. Muslims from the north and Christians from the south dominate the country; each part has its peculiar problem. There have been series of agitations by the militants from the south to break the country due to unfair treatments by the Nigerian government. They produced multiple violent groups that killed people and destroyed properties and oil facilities. In the North, an insurgent group called Boko Haram emerges in 2009; they advocated for the establishment of an Islamic state that started with warning that, western education is prohibited. Reports say the group caused death of around 100,000 and displaced over 2 million people. As such, Niger Delta Militancy and Boko Haram Insurgency have been major challenges being faced by Nigeria for about a decade. To address such challenges, the Nigerian government introduced separate counterinsurgency interventions called Presidential Amnesty Program (PAP) and Operation Safe Corridor (OSC) in 2009 and 2016 respectively, which are both aimed at curtailing Militancy and Insurgency respectively. This thesis examines effectiveness of the two counterinsurgency interventions. The research looked at what works and what doesn’t work in the two interventions with a view to evaluate their effectiveness and effects that caused the outcome. The thesis also aimed at providing guide on designing an innovative framework that utilizes the evidence base generated to make better decisions when designing and implementing future deradicalisation programs in Nigeria. On the methodology deployed, the research used mixed method; both qualitative and quantitative techniques used. Stratified sampling method was adopted. Interviews, including focus group and questionnaires were the core primary data collection mechanisms used. Findings shows that although there is limited progress and positive effects after introducing the two interventions, major causes of problems that led to further escalation of violence in the two regions recently include corruption, poverty, illiteracy, and ignorance of religious teachings. Broad conclusions were that the PAP is ineffective because the system currently in place is not working; it is corrupt, lacks clarity and is not backed up by an act of Nigeria’s National Assembly. It was additionally caused by unfair resource allocation and non-clean-up of oil spillage in the region. Similarly, OSC is ineffective because the intervention was so ambiguous with no realistically achievable strategic plan and no timeline of action in place. Illiteracy and poverty affect insurgents. OSC is also not backed by an act of Nigeria’s National Assembly. Meaning that another subsequent government might decide to quash the two interventions in the future due to lack of enabling laws. Despite government’s claim that over 30,000 people enrolled into the two interventions, as at the time of compiling this thesis, the report by the Nigerian Military stated that less than 500 people were reintegrated into the society under OSC. Overall, the thesis found that the two interventions didn’t work, thus making both ineffective. One of the key contributions by the researcher of this research is the introduction of Identify, Prepare, Prevent, Pursue, Protect and Evaluate (IPPPPE) framework, which is designed to guide the Nigerian government and other stakeholders with better options when designing and implementing future counterinsurgency and deradicalisation programs.

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