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A comparative study of Boko Haram, Niger Delta, IPOB and Fulani militia
Michael Nwankpa

In 2011, Nigeria established its first anti-terrorism legislation and Boko Haram was listed as a terrorist group in 2014. In 2017, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a secessionist movement in the southeast of Nigeria, became the second conflict group or social movement to be proscribed by the anti-terror law. Unlike Boko Haram, IPOB’s struggle is underlined, to a large extent, by genuine grievance and its modus operandi is largely non-violent.

Unsurprisingly, the proscription of IPOB did not generate the same worldwide recognition and support as that of Boko Haram. Rather, it attracted national and international condemnation. Yet, the Nigerian government has not reversed its action. This raises important questions regarding the motivation for proscribing IPOB and the impact on the group’s transformation, as well as on other conflict groups and situations across Nigeria. Interestingly, the current government led by President Buhari, a Fulani, has been noticeably silent or at best has expressed a weak response to the ‘terrorist’ acts committed by the Fulani militia group. Also, the government’s reluctance to proscribe the militant groups in the oil-rich Niger Delta region counteracts any argument regarding fairness in the application of the anti-terrorism law.

This chapter therefore analyses the characteristics of each conflict group and why they are recognised or mis-recognised, and attract a certain kind of labelling, as well as the implications of such on the transformation of the conflict group and the benefits or drawbacks to the government and the conflict actors.

in Armed non-state actors and the politics of recognition
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The growth of terrorism and counterterrorism in Nigeria, 1999–2016
Jennifer Giroux and Michael Nwankpa

Violence in Nigeria has many forms – from crimes like kidnapping and robbery to political violence, including terrorism and insurgency, to police and military brutality. It's necessary to appreciate how each form relates to specific contextual conditions and to other forms of violence, which are often overlapping. Since Nigeria regained civilian rule in 1999, the term ‘terrorism’ is increasingly part of national discourse. The government refers to countering terrorism within the framework of its national security agenda, and insurgent movements have increasingly used terrorism within their violent campaigns. While terrorism in Nigeria has been growing, analysis tends to consider the phenomenon in isolation and ignore its connections to other forms of violence, and how state responses drive violent non-state groups to adopt new tactics and escalate conflict. To fill this gap, this chapter looks at how terrorism is understood and experienced in Nigeria, and how its conceptualization shapes the practice of counterterrorism. It traces how the conceptualization of terrorism and practice of counterterrorism have changed over time by analysing international and domestic factors – including the impact of 9/11 – and the societal impact of Nigeria's transformation from military to democratic rule, plus the recent insurgencies in the Niger Delta and the northeast.

in Non-Western responses to terrorism