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NIGERIA AT 60 AND NATIONAL SECURITY CHALLENGES: INSIGHTS FROM BOKO HARAM INSURGENCY
Nigeria is one of the relatively secured nations in West African sub-region. In recent times, this endowed nation suddenly metamorphosed into an abode of serial bombing, hostage taking, armed robbery, cold-blooded killings and ethno-religious conflicts especially in Northern Nigeria, traceable to insurgent groups with conflicting ideological, political and religious agenda. This has created deep fear and sense of insecurity in the polity. It is a fact that the development of any country in the world is dependent on many factors, which may fast-track or retards its growth, among which security is central. Security of lives and property plays a major role in the development of any country, as investors in any economy want to be assured of the safety of their investments. Since the risk of doing business increases when there is insecurity in the polity, investors who are to facilitate industrial growth and employment generation, try as much as possible to avoid such an unfavourable business environment. Boko Haram currently poses existential threats to the Nigerian state and its citizens. But defeating the group has proved very challenging for the Nigerian government. This is partly due to lack of understanding about the contributing factors relating to the emergence and continued existence of Boko Haram. The objective of this study is to examine the threats of Boko Haram insurgency on Nigerian national security. The study revealed that poverty and misconception of religion were the major factors that facilitated the emergence and development of Boko Haram. Also, Boko Haram group is not a political movement, nor a religious one, but an evil group. The study recommend that government as a matter of priority must do everything possible to put an end to Boko Haram terrorism, and also reduce youths‟ unemployment to the barest minimum to prevent further easy recruitment into terrorist and other criminal gangs. Security agencies should be effectively motivated and mobilized as critical stakeholders.
Keywords: Boko Haram, Insurgency, Threat, Nigerian, National Security