Criminology Project Topics

Foreign Aid and the Fight Against Terrorism in Nigeria: 2013—2023

Foreign Aid and the Fight Against Terrorism in Nigeria 2013—2023

Foreign Aid and the Fight Against Terrorism in Nigeria: 2013—2023


Objectives of the Study

This study has the following objectives:

  1. To examine the extent of the impacts of foreign aid to the Nigerian government in fighting terrorism in Nigeria.
  2. To analyze the strategies adopted by the Nigerian government in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria.
  3. To examine the challenges encountered by the Nigerian government in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria.



This chapter delves into the existing body of knowledge related to the study’s research objectives. It provides a critical overview of relevant literature, theories, and concepts. The literature review is organized into sections corresponding to each research objective.

The Evolution of Terrorism

Terrorism has a long and intricate historical perspective that stretches back over centuries. Throughout history, acts of terrorism have been employed by various actors to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives. For example, the Sicarii, a Jewish extremist group in the first century CE, engaged in a campaign of assassination and terrorism in Roman-occupied Judea (Kilcullen, 2013). The emergence of terrorism can be traced through various periods, including the actions of the Irish Republican Brotherhood in the 19th century during their struggle for Irish independence (Kumar, 2016).

The end of the Cold War, marked by the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, had a significant impact on the landscape of terrorism. During the Cold War, the competition between the two superpowers often overshadowed local conflicts, with the superpowers supporting opposing sides. The post-Cold War era saw the emergence of a vacuum in which these suppressed regional conflicts came to the forefront, often escalating into violence and, in some instances, terrorism (Bacevich, 2018). Moreover, the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the subsequent weakening of its control over satellite states presented a dual challenge. It allowed some state-sponsored terrorist groups to lose their state sponsors and pursue their agendas independently. Simultaneously, it raised concerns about the potential leakage of Soviet-era weapons and nuclear materials into the black market (Willett, 2019).

The shift from a bipolar global power structure to a unipolar one, with the United States as the sole superpower, also significantly impacted how the international community addressed terrorism (Charmaz & Mitchell, 2021). The United States, as a global superpower, became a central focus for terrorist groups with anti-American ideologies. This is exemplified by the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and, most notably, the tragic September 11, 2001 attacks, which resulted in nearly 3,000 casualties and dramatically reshaped U.S. foreign policy (Sändig, 2015).

The African continent also experienced terrorist attacks in the late ’90s, notably in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as evidenced by the bombings in these cities in 1998 (Garb & Malešič, 2016). Today, over six terrorist groups are operating not only within Nigerian territories but also in neighbouring countries like Cameroon, Chad, and Niger (Amao & Maiangwa, 2017).

With the emergence of the Boko Haram sect in the northern part of Nigeria, terrorism became one of the greatest security concerns of the Nigerian state (Fadare, 2021). Boko Haram’s terrorist activities, such as suicide bombings, explosive device deployments, kidnappings for ransom, and hostage-taking (Abdulazeez & Oriola, 2018), have resulted in over 100,000 deaths (Amao & Maiangwa, 2017). Furthermore, these attacks have displaced 400,000 people and caused property damage estimated at over $9 billion (Betts, 2021). The impact of these attacks includes disrupted education (Iwuoha, 2019), economic instability (Pyman et al., 2019), and a humanitarian crisis (Onapajo, 2020), particularly in the Northeast region (Iyekekpolo, 2020).




The methodology employed in this study is crucial for achieving the research objectives and addressing the research questions. This chapter outlines the research design, population of the study, sampling technique and sample size, sources and method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical considerations.

Research Design

The research design functions as the foundational framework guiding the study’s execution, and in this investigation, a quantitative survey research design was utilized. This design specifically entails the systematic collection of numerical data through structured questionnaires, aiming to provide a comprehensive understanding of the effects of foreign aid on Nigeria’s counterterrorism initiatives. The selection of a quantitative approach is in direct alignment with the primary objective of the study, which is to scrutinize the magnitude of the impacts stemming from foreign aid (Saunders et al., 2019).

According to Saunders et al. (2019), a quantitative survey research design is deemed appropriate when the objective is to measure relationships between variables. In the context of this study, the utilization of a quantitative approach is particularly suitable for evaluating the impact of foreign aid on counterterrorism efforts in Nigeria. This research design enables a systematic and structured exploration of numerical data, facilitating a rigorous examination of the intricate relationships between the variables under consideration (Saunders et al., 2019).

 Population of the Study

The target population for this study comprised individuals with relevant knowledge and experience in counterterrorism efforts in Nigeria. Given the expansive nature of this population, the study focused on a subset of 1200 respondents, ensuring a representative sample for meaningful analysis.

The justification for this target population lies in the need to capture diverse perspectives and experiences related to the impact of foreign aid on counterterrorism. Anderson et al. (2020) stress the importance of selecting a population that reflects the characteristics of the broader group under investigation, and in this case, the 1200 respondents are deemed sufficient for a comprehensive understanding.



Data Presentation




Summary of Findings

The findings of this study reveal a nuanced and multifaceted landscape in Nigeria’s fight against terrorism. The examination of the impacts of foreign aid on counterterrorism efforts illuminated a positive trajectory. Participants overwhelmingly agreed that foreign aid has significantly contributed to reducing terrorist activities in Nigeria. This consensus suggests that the financial support and collaborative efforts from the international community have played a crucial role in mitigating the threats posed by terrorist groups, fostering a more secure environment in the country.

Moreover, the study delved into the strategies employed by the Nigerian government in its counterterrorism endeavours. The results indicate a favourable perception among respondents, with a majority agreeing that the implemented strategies have effectively reduced the frequency of terrorist attacks. This positive sentiment extends further, as participants also agreed that the utilization of foreign aid has improved Nigeria’s capacity to counter terrorist threats. These findings underscore the importance of a comprehensive and coordinated approach, combining both domestic strategies and international support to enhance the overall efficacy of counterterrorism efforts.

However, amidst these positive trajectories, the study shed light on the significant challenges faced by the Nigerian government in combating terrorism. Participants overwhelmingly agreed that challenges, such as a lack of adequate resources and corruption within security agencies, have hindered the effectiveness of counterterrorism efforts. This illuminates the complex and multifaceted nature of the security landscape, where internal factors pose substantial obstacles to the government’s endeavours. The study’s results suggest a critical need for internal reforms and resource mobilization to strengthen the resilience of the counterterrorism apparatus.

In assessing the public’s perception of security, the study uncovered a positive trend. Respondents largely agreed that the strategies adopted by the government have enhanced the public’s perception of security in Nigeria. This finding is crucial as public perception plays a vital role in shaping confidence in government institutions and fostering a sense of security among the populace. The alignment between governmental strategies and positive public perception indicates a degree of success in building trust and confidence in the government’s ability to address security challenges effectively.

Furthermore, the capture of key terrorist leaders was perceived positively, with a majority of respondents agreeing that the strategies adopted by the government have resulted in such outcomes. This suggests that the government’s efforts in intelligence gathering and targeted operations have achieved tangible successes in neutralizing key figures within terrorist organizations, contributing to the overall disruption of their activities.


In conclusion, the results of the hypotheses testing shed light on crucial aspects of Nigeria’s counterterrorism efforts. The first hypothesis, asserting that the Nigerian government did not receive sufficient foreign aid needed to fight terrorism, was decisively rejected. The overwhelming agreement among participants that foreign aid significantly contributed to reducing terrorist activities in Nigeria contradicts this hypothesis. The tangible impact of foreign aid, as perceived by the respondents, underscores the importance of international collaboration in bolstering the nation’s capacity to counter the menace of terrorism effectively.

The second hypothesis, suggesting that the strategies adopted by the Nigerian government in the fight against terrorism were ineffective, was firmly contradicted by the study’s findings. Participants agreed that the implemented strategies have effectively reduced the frequency of terrorist attacks and improved the country’s capacity to counter terrorist threats. This positive evaluation of governmental strategies emphasizes the importance of a multifaceted approach combining both domestic initiatives and international support.

The third hypothesis, proposing that the challenges encountered by the Nigerian government in combating terrorism had serious negative effects, found substantial support among participants. The consensus on challenges such as a lack of adequate resources and corruption within security agencies highlights the pressing need for internal reforms to enhance the effectiveness of counterterrorism efforts. In sum, these hypothesis test results collectively contribute to a nuanced understanding of the dynamics within Nigeria’s fight against terrorism, offering valuable insights for policymakers and stakeholders aiming to address these complex security challenges.


The following recommendations were proposed for this study:

  1. Enhanced International Collaboration: Building on the positive perception of foreign aid, the Nigerian government should continue fostering and expanding international collaborations. Strengthening partnerships with foreign entities, particularly those that have been actively supporting counterterrorism efforts, can bring about sustained positive impacts on the nation’s security landscape.
  2. Optimization of Strategies: While the study indicates a favourable perception of the strategies employed by the Nigerian government, a continuous review and optimization process should be in place. Regular evaluations of the effectiveness of implemented strategies will ensure adaptability to the evolving nature of terrorist threats and enable the government to stay ahead in the fight against terrorism.
  3. Resource Mobilization: Acknowledging the identified challenges, particularly the lack of adequate resources, the government should prioritize resource mobilization efforts. This may involve exploring innovative financing mechanisms, engaging with the private sector, and ensuring optimal allocation of existing resources to counterterrorism initiatives.
  4. Anti-corruption Measures: Addressing corruption within security agencies is imperative for the success of counterterrorism efforts. The government should implement and enforce stringent anti-corruption measures, fostering a culture of transparency and accountability within security institutions.
  5. Capacity Building: The study highlights the positive impact of foreign aid on Nigeria’s capacity to counter terrorist threats. To build on this, the government should invest in continuous training and capacity-building programs for security forces. This includes the acquisition of modern technology and intelligence capabilities to enhance the overall effectiveness of counterterrorism operations.
  6. Public Awareness and Involvement: Engaging the public in the fight against terrorism is crucial. The government should invest in public awareness campaigns to educate citizens on the role they can play in supporting security initiatives. Additionally, fostering community involvement and cooperation can contribute to intelligence gathering and early detection of potential threats.
  7. International Cooperation on Intelligence Sharing: Given the perceived challenges related to intelligence sharing, the Nigerian government should intensify efforts to enhance collaboration with international partners in this domain. Establishing secure and efficient channels for intelligence sharing can significantly improve the country’s ability to address terrorist threats effectively.
  8. Continued Research and Evaluation: The findings of this study underscore the importance of ongoing research and evaluation in the field of counterterrorism. The government should support and commission regular studies to assess the evolving nature of terrorist threats, the effectiveness of implemented strategies, and the impact of international collaborations. This commitment to research will inform evidence-based policymaking and ensure the country remains resilient in the face of emerging security challenges.

Contribution to Knowledge

This study contributes significantly to the existing body of knowledge in the field of counterterrorism and international relations. The findings offer valuable insights into the multifaceted dynamics of the fight against terrorism in Nigeria, shedding light on key factors that influence the effectiveness of counterterrorism efforts. Several notable contributions emerge from the study:

Firstly, the research provides a nuanced understanding of the impact of foreign aid on Nigeria’s fight against terrorism. By exploring the perceptions of individuals actively involved in counterterrorism operations, the study adds depth to the discourse on the role of international assistance in addressing security challenges. The positive perceptions identified underscore the potential of foreign aid not only in providing financial support but also in bolstering the overall capacity of security forces and infrastructure.

Secondly, the study contributes to the evaluation of government strategies for countering terrorism. The favourable perceptions regarding the effectiveness of these strategies highlight the importance of a comprehensive and well-coordinated approach. This insight is crucial for policymakers and security experts, emphasizing the need for a continual review and adaptation of strategies to align with the evolving nature of terrorist threats.

Furthermore, the research highlights the challenges encountered by the Nigerian government in its counterterrorism efforts. The identified issues, such as a lack of adequate resources and corruption within security agencies, contribute to a broader understanding of the obstacles hindering effective counterterrorism. This knowledge is valuable for policymakers and international partners seeking to address the root causes of security challenges in the region.

The study also emphasizes the importance of international cooperation and intelligence sharing in combating terrorism. The perceived challenges in these areas underscore the need for a concerted effort to enhance collaboration between Nigeria and its international partners. This insight contributes to the ongoing discourse on the significance of global cooperation in addressing transnational security threats.


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