Convergence of Terror
: Boko Haram Insurgency, Fulani Militancy, Armed Banditry, and Separatist Movement in Nigeria

  • John Sunday Ojo

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis examines the social and political drivers of political violence in Nigeria. It explores interconnected variables that explain non-state armed groups (NSAGs) and separatist movements in Nigeria. It focuses on Boko Haram terrorism, armed banditry, Fulani militancy, Biafra’s separatist group, and the Yoruba nation’s freedom movement. Diversion of defence procurement funds and ungoverned spaces prolonged Boko Haram terrorism. However, many factors explain the armed banditry conflict, involving three components: existing conditions, triggers, and enablers. ’Existing conditions’ include poverty, weak border management, ungoverned spaces, and fragile security. The second component, ‘triggers’, refers to climate change, ethno-communal factors, criminality, informal security, resource competition, religious intolerance, and ‘jungle justice’. The third component considers ‘enablers’ in terms of armed bandits’ collaborating with traditional rulers, foreign powers, political office-holders, informants, negotiators, weapon and food suppliers. Proscription, repression, and labelling are used as weapons of state policy rather than addressing governance-related challenges that triggered the resurgence of separatism. The sub-national government's lack of constitutional power to handle security challenges exacerbates the NSAG threat. These variables are classified as ‘governance deficits’, defined as the ineffectiveness of the state in exercising its responsibility to the governed. It emphasizes the centralization of the security architecture that constitutionally disempowers the sub-national authorities to realistically offer community policing that empowers NSAGs. This thesis argues that the government should restructure the security governance system to enable sub-national control of the policing system, effective management of natural resources and border governance, adequate state presence and provisioning of public goods in ungoverned and less governed spaces. All eight published works uniquely contribute to understanding how governance deficits accelerate the diverse security threats in the country. This work constitutes both single-authored and collaborative papers based on interdisciplinary perspectives and using mixed methods, including discourse analysis. The Council on Foreign Relations’ Nigerian Security Tracker dataset was analysed using graphs, spatial network analysis, and Geographical Information System.
Date of Award4 Jul 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorAngela Crack (Supervisor) & David Norman (Supervisor)

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