A critical analysis of Nigerian counter-terrorism discourse: constructions of threats, response, and identity

Chukwuma, Kodili (2021) A critical analysis of Nigerian counter-terrorism discourse: constructions of threats, response, and identity. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This PhD thesis offers a critical analysis of Nigeria’s counter-terrorism strategy through engagement with 56 primary texts produced by the Nigerian federal executive between 2009 and 2019. While much has been written about counter-terrorism efforts in Nigeria, very little have been done to closely examine how the Nigerian federal government describes and justifies its counter-terrorism approach and the implications of this for policy, identity, and security in Nigeria. As such the leading research questions at the heart of this thesis are: how do specific constructions of threats make counter-terrorism responses in Nigeria possible? And, how does the state’s counter-terrorism policy contribute to constructing Nigeria’s identity against the threats posed by specific terrorist other?

Drawing upon a critical constructivist framework, this thesis approaches Nigeria’s counter-terrorism strategy as a fundamentally political activity of threats and identity construction. Accordingly, this thesis put forward the following arguments: first, the designation of particular security threats as a new form of terrorism in Nigeria (and beyond) contributes to enabling state counter-terrorism interventions. Second, official articulations of counter-terrorism approaches in Nigeria contribute to producing representations of a unique Nigerian self – hinged upon democratic and progressive ideas – positioned against the threats posed by specific terrorist other. This identity, however, is flexible and entails a range of competing, and indeed contestable, ideas about Nigerian society, state(hood), citizens, and regions. It also poses significant ramifications for policy choices, social and political identity, and security in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin.

This thesis makes three notable contributions to knowledge. First, empirically, it examines a range of relevant primary data, including academically-neglected texts, most of which emerged from fieldwork in Abuja, Nigeria. Second, analytically, it provides a sustained focus on a non-western case study of emerging counter-terrorism policies, through exploring official discourse and its various implications in the Nigerian context, contributing toward decolonising terrorism studies. Third, conceptually, it presents a constructivist alternative to the dominant rationalist tenor of works on counter-terrorism in Nigeria.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
Depositing User: Kitty Laine
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2022 16:30
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2022 16:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/90226

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