The stability of any society depends largely on the ability of its citizens to live together in harmony and peace. However, history has provided us with many instances of occasional uprisings in Nigeria which might have occurred as a result of a political, religious, cultural or tribal misunderstanding. Such squabbles, many a time, have ended up in bloodletting. Presently, Nigeria has not ceased to experience some misguided and misled fellowship in the name of religion. This is because, for some years now, many Nigerians especially in the Northern part of the country have lived in a perpetual fear of the unknown as a result Boko Haram insurgence. Thus, since 2009 till date, the activities of an Islamic sect called “BOKO HARAM” have bedevilled the Nigerian society and threatened the very foundation of her unity and peace. What baffles me is that these insurgents even claim to be fighting for justice in Nigeria.
Also, it is pertinent to remark that while Nigeria is endowed with abundant resources, numerous challenges of insecurity orchestrated by Boko Haram insurgency nowadays within the polity appears to have created porous security condition that engenders violence and retards development. The basic question many Nigerians and foreigners ask is: How has Boko Haram developed or underdeveloped Nigeria? This paper is thus an attempt to address this question posed above. But this paper argues that boko haram activities have not been of any good help to Nigeria; hence, it has contributed to Nigerian underdevelopment especially the Northern part of the country. Before we proceed, it is of utmost necessity to clarify certain terms that will appear within this intellectual exposition. 2.0 CLARIFICATION OF TERMS
According to Aristotle, ab initio disputandis, definitio nominis, (definition of terms is the beginning of any discussion.) hence, it is of paramount importance for us to clarify some of our key words that will frequently occur within the fabrics of this intellectual study. 2.0.1 Definition of Development and Underdevelopment
According to Agbakoba, “development denotes a type of change, a purposeful or goal-oriented change”. While in the words of Walter Rodney, development “implies increased skill and capacity, greater freedom, creativity, self-discipline, responsibility and material well-being….more often than not, the term development is used in an exclusive economic sense-the justification being that the type of economy is itself an index of other social features”. Hence, our definition of development here is from economic perspective. Development therefore, could be defined as the process of empowering people to maximise their potentials and their ability to explore nature in order to meet daily human needs. It is a process by which the quality of human lives and capacity to surmount daily needs are considerably improved. However, according to Rodney, “underdevelopment is not absence of development, because every people have developed in one way or another and to a greater or lesser extent. Underdevelopment makes sense only as a means of comparing levels of development”. So, underdevelopment implies inadequate development, low levels of economic productivity as compared to other developed countries or regions. 2.0.2 BOKO HARAM
Etymologically, the term Boko Haram is made up of two different words namely; Boko and Haram. Boko is the Hausa word meaning “western education” while Haram is the Arabic word figuratively meaning “sin” and literally meaning “forbidden or impermissible”. Thus, the term when loosely translated means “western education is forbidden”. Boko Haram group propagates that western education is forbidden because it sees western education as corrupting the Muslims. However, Boko Haram group seems to me as a destructive political tool with a cosmetic pretension of being religious. Because Boko Haram group attempts not only to sow panic but also to undermine confidence in the government and political leadership of Nigeria, it could also be called a Terrorist Group. Little wonder the US government though belatedly has confirmed Boko Haram as one the Terrorist groups in the world. (cf. Punch Newspaper on Dec; 1, 2013) 3.0 Nigeria and Boko Haram Insurgence: An Exposition
Since independence, Nigeria appears to have been bedevilled with ethno-religious conflicts. With over 400 ethnic groups, belonging to several religious sects, Nigeria since independence has been grappling and trying to cope with the problem of ethnicity and ethno-religious conflicts. Needless to say that, in May 1999, Nigeria returned to civil rule which was accompanied with fresh hopes and latent optimism Regrettably, the worst seems to have occurred due to current rise in Boko Haram uprising. Boko Haram insurgency is a destructive political tool with a cosmetic pretension of being religious. Nigeria does not seem to have suffered only from the economic setbacks caused by Boko Haram bombings but also suffers from the battered image and humanitarian disaster the group inflicted on her. For instance, between July 27, 2009 and February 17, 2012, Boko Haram has launched fifty three (53) attacks in which 1157 people were killed and hundreds of people injured in the Northern Nigeria. This indiscriminate and sporadic bombing seem to make Northern Nigeria increasingly unsafe and has compelled most non-indigenes of the region to relocate especially the Igbos.
I therefore set out in this paper to argue with the following points, how the despicable activities of Boko Haram group have underdeveloped Nigeria. 4.0 How Boko Haram Underdeveloped Nigeria: A Critical Analysis The lethal activities of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, are crippling the economy of Nigeria especially the North and has stultified the developmental strategies of the country thereby leaving us in the abysmal state of economic backwardness and underdevelopment. Although some may say that Boko Haram has some developmental characters because it has revealed the ineffectiveness of our force men, ensured checks and balances in government and has increased the rate development in the Southern part of the country. But I stand here to refute such claims saying that Boko Haram (Terrorism) has been of no benefit to Nigeria, rather it has led to the underdevelopment of Nigeria with these points: 4.0.1 Insecurity
No meaningful development will thrive in any environment where people are in constant fear of the unknown due to insecurity. This is the dismal state in which Boko Haram activities in the Northern Nigeria have left us. Needless to say that, the security situation in Nigeria has become so alarming, disturbing, and upsetting nowadays because of the recurrent attacks of these Boko Haram insurgents. The spate of insecurity in the Northern Nigeria has impacted negatively on both the private and public sectors of the economy as many business men and traders have relocated their businesses from the region. This, though pathetically, has led to a massive underdevelopment of the North. This has warranted channelling of the money which would have been used for other developmental strides to security in Nigeria annual budget. Little wonder the federal government spent 950 billion naira in 2013 only to combat insecurity caused by Boko Haram insurgence.
Depopulation of the North and Overpopulation of the South Since current attack by Boko Haram group has become the order of the day in most Northern states, it has led to many Southerners and even some Northerners to relocate to the South for the sake of their life. This has led to the depopulation of the North and Overpopulation of the South; hence decreasing the Internal Revenue (1GR) of most Northern states thereby leaving the government with little or no money to carry out some developmental projects. In the other hand; due to large influx of people to the South, it has led to environmental problems like overpopulation, dilapidation of existing infrastructures, deforestation, cultural breakdown etc. These make life in both regions unbearable; hence pointing out that Boko Haram activities have succeeded in under developing both Northern and Southern part of the country. 4.0.3 Stifling of Economic and Social Development
Boko Haram activities have led to dislocation of people from their business base, hence leading to disruption of economic activities. In Nigeria presently, the fear of Boko Haram is everywhere. Financial and business activities have been paralysed as everyone live in fear. Banks and their customers are also operating under difficult situation and have reduced their business hours to guard against being attacked by members of the sect. In most states in the North, the devastating socio-economic effects of the sect’s sequential killings and bombings, especially in Borno, Yobe, Niger, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Bauchi, Sokoto etc., have destroyed economic and commercial activities with many people relocating to other places. It should then be noted that Boko Haram have not only led to closure and/or abandonment of people’s business activities within affected region but also led to migration of people from the affected Region. It has also led to reduction of people’s patronage of product from the Northern Region.
Also, the Boko Haram insurgence has reduced drastically; government derivation from the affected region (IGR) due to restiveness in those places as well as reduced investment and growth of business in the affected places without excluding government executed project. Little wonder why the 2011 World Investment Report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development reported that stillness in business activities caused by insecurity in Kano State alone has cost the Nigerian economy N1.3trillion. Furthermore, Boko Haram activities have stifled social developmental programmes like; youth employment, housing, health schemes, education, welfare services etc. in the Northern part of the country. In fact, almost all the states under Boko Haram rampage have been completely isolated economically, socially and politically. The resultant effect of these is underdevelopment of the country, especially the affected region. 4.0.4 Scaring Away of Foreign and Local Investors
The inimical uprising of Boko Haram has negatively affected the relationship between Nigeria and other Nations of the world. Incessant bombing coupled with kidnapping and hostage taking with or without demand for ransom by the members of Boko Haram has scared away both foreign and local investors from Nigeria, especially the Northern part of the country. In fact, this terrorist group has paralyzed the diplomatic relation between Nigeria and many countries of the world. The concomitant result of all these are poverty, low per capita income and underdevelopment. 4.0.5 Reduction of Human resources
The crisis occasioned by Boko Haram has led to the death of many ebullient Nigerians thereby reducing the skilled and unskilled labour force of the country. The United Nation affirmed this assertion by saying that about 1,200 people have been killed since May 2013 when a state of emergency was declared in three North Eastern states (Cf. Punch Newspaper Dec; 16, 2013 or Daily Sun of Dec; 17, 2013. Aljazeera TV on September 30, 2013 reports that since 2009, an estimated 3,600 people have been killed through Boko Haram’s disastrous activities. We can even talk of brutal Bama attack, 22 people killed in Catholic Church at Waga Chakawa village in Adamawa just last Sunday and myriads of other attacks perpetuated by Boko Haram insurgents at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014. All these lead to reduction of lives and properties worth over billions of naira and live our nation in the miserable state of underdevelopment. 5.0 EVALUATION AND CONCLUSION
From the above analysis, we can affirm without any fear of equivocation that Boko Haram has really underdeveloped Nigeria especially the Northern part of the country that is why socio-economic activities in the North have drastically been reduced. The implication is that the crisis is rather under-developing Northern region and threatens Nigeria’s prospect of joining the league of highly developed countries come the year 2020. Personally speaking, the impact of the activities of the Boko Haram group in Nigeria cannot be overemphasised. It retards economic growth and distorts socio-cultural equilibrium and leads to environmental deterioration. At the same time, it resurrects the issue of suspicion which led to the Nigerian civil war of 1967-1970 among three major ethic groups in Nigeria. Regrettably, the activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria have paralysed almost all sectors of the country’s life and have distorted peace and stultified progressive development of Nigeria. Boko Haram has really underdeveloped Nigeria.