BOKO HARAM INSURGENCY AND GENDER BASED VIOLENCE IN NORTH EAST NIGERIA (2007-2015)
Since the dawn of this millennium, terrorism has been on a steady rise worldwide. In fact, terrorism, arguably, is the biggest threat to global peace and security in this era. In Nigeria, the dynamics and manifestation of Boko Haram insurgency have led to the death of thousands of Nigerians. The worst hit among the causalities and fatalities of the attacks by this group that is riding on the back of Islamic revivalism and fundamentalism is women and girls, particularly in north east Nigeria. Therefore, the study examined the nexus between Boko Haram Insurgency and Gender Based Violence in north east Nigeria. Meanwhile, scholars have examined the linkages between Boko Haram Insurgency and Gender Based Violence in north east Nigeria, yet little attention has been paid on how the regionalization of the violence to north east Nigeria is tied to the poverty level in the region, also, how the abduction Boko Haram’s member’s wives by the Federal Government enhanced the targeting of women and girls in north eastern Nigeria and finally, how the abduction of women and girls by the sect increase the spate of female suicide bombing in the region. Therefore, in order to fill these gaps in the literature, the study adopted the qualitative method of data collection and analysis while predicating its theoretical framework
on the Instrumental Theory of terrorism. Moreover, the study noted that the regionalization of Boko haram in north is rooted in the high level of poverty in the region, also, that the arrest and detention of Boko member’s wives by the Nigerian government fueled the targeting of women and girls by Boko Haram in the region, and finally, the abduction of women and girls by the group in the region is tied to the increase in the spate of female suicide bombing in the country.
All these are manifestations of Gender Based Violence. The study recommended among others, improvement in governance in the region in terms of the socio-economic conditions, the protection of Christian women and girls in north east Nigeria, the training of Nigeria security forces to conform to international best standards when handling terror suspects and to take into cognizance that females are not just target but means of terror as regards their use by the group in suicide bombing.
1.1 Background to the Study
Since the dawn of this millennium, terrorism has been on a steady rise worldwide. In fact, terrorism, arguably, is the biggest threat to global peace and security in this era. Hitherto, terrorism was more or less a national or regional affair because it was restricted to a few isolated places, such as Northern Ireland, the Basque Country in Northern Spain, and some areas of the Middle East (Okoli & Philip, 2014). However, since September 11, 2001, specifically with the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York, it has mushroomed and snowballed into a worldwide phenomenon. Similarly, Finemann (2001:29) noted that:
The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon building near Washington, D.C by the Al- Qaeda signified the rise of terrorism as an instrument of hegemonic and/ or civilizational struggles.
Indeed, the worldwide manifestation of terrorism has been evident not just in Africa, but also in Nigeria. With particular reference to Nigeria, the phenomenon has found expression in the emergence of Boko Haram insurgency. Thus, Awake (2006) noted that since its advent around 2001, the sectarian insurgency has wrecked immense havoc in the country, especially by using explosives and firearms with gruesome, fatal consequences. Although, the Nigeria state, since it legal conception in October 1, 1960, has been bedeviled with plethora of ethno-religious, political as well as economic conflicts. Sadly, apart from the Nigerian Civil war, no other conflicts have threatened the existence and sanctity of the Nigerian state like the Boko Haram insurgency. As corroborated by Okoli (2013:14) that:
Apart from the Nigerian Civil War (1967 – 1970), no other single event of complex emergency in the
country has been as debilitating as the Boko Haram insurgency in terms of devastating impacts.
Granted, the Niger Delta crisis (1999 – 2009) occasioned dire outcomes that threaten the national
security of Nigeria. Nonetheless, its devastating consequences could not compare that of the Boko
Haram insurgency in terms of scope, degree and diversity.
Since the sect violent emergence in 2001 and its virulent manifestations in Northeast Nigeria, the Nigerian state have known no peace. In short, it has become a metaphor for insecurity in Nigeria
because the dreaded sect emergence, continuous existence and manifestations threaten Nigeria’s precarious political balance. According to Nwozor (2013) the sect has targeted and bombed state institutions, international organizations, churches, mosques, barracks, schools, mass media, among others in furtherance of its avowed objective of deploying terror to achieve the islamazation of the Nigerian state.
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