Conflict and Development in Nigeria
: Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism Strategies towards the Niger Delta and Boko Haram Conflicts

  • Michael Okwuchi Nwankpa

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Nigeria has seen an upsurge in violent conflicts leading to insurgency and terrorism since it returned to civilian government in 1999, following sixteen years of military rule. The Niger Delta and Boko Haram insurgencies stand out among conflict groups in Nigeria as they have produced global consequences, hence provoking domestic and international counter-insurgency efforts. Military responses remain primary, but development responses are being increasingly employed. Addressing issues of poverty, exclusion, injustice and underdevelopment is considered to be more fundamental to solving contemporary conflicts. In this sense, development and security are linked, and human, rather than state security is seen to be prioritised.
    However, the nexus between development and security is fraught with contradictions and the notion of human security is vague. Development intervention appears to be securitized such that it becomes a tool for protecting the strategic interests of external interveners and a tool of control by domestic interveners. Therefore, this thesis explores the prospect of a human rights approach to development as a means of mediating the tension between development and security. It attempts to intellectually consider the triad among the three concepts in relation to the Niger Delta and Boko Haram conflicts. The study explores how the internal and external development interventions towards the Niger Delta and Boko Haram conflicts have been developed and the issues that have arisen concerning their effectiveness.
    The exploratory study uses a triangulation method that includes interviews, focus group, documentary analysis and observation. The thesis finds evidence of a paradigmatic shift towards a rights based approach to development in the internal and external interventions, but one that still yields to securitization and corruption and adversely affects sustainable development. Nonetheless, responses to the Niger Delta and Boko Haram conflicts produce ramifications that justify general as well as specifically targeted responses to individual conflicts. More so, the study shows that the relationship between Nigeria and its external development partners seem to be less vertical.
    Date of Award7 Nov 2017
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorMartin Shaw (Supervisor) & Gregory Kent (Supervisor)


    • Nigeria, Niger Delta, Boko Haram, development, security, human rights, securitization, counter-insurgency

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