In efforts to provide safe and conducive environment for citizens as well as foreign nationals conducting businesses on her shores, the Nigerian state have over the years constituted several regular law enforcement and security agencies mandated to maintain law and order as well as prevent and fight insurgencies including the terrorism they characterize. The Yan Tatsine uprising during the second republic and Boko Haram extremism cum attacks of the fourth republic have however raised doubts in certain quarters on the intelligence gathering ability of these state security outfits. While some scholars and policy makers have in this light called for a total overhaul of some if not all of these governmental agencies, this paper opts to take a critical look into the role of local vigilante organizations in assisting the state in her war against terror and other violent crimes such as rape and kidnapping. Focusing on the activities of some vigilante cells in Borno State which aligned in 2013 as ‘Civilian JTF’ to rout-out Boko Haram from their communities, and adopting the group theory approach to political inquiry, this study which assesses and confirms the positive activities of the vigilantes, also calls on the government at various levels to work out a synergy of these vigilantes’ activities and those of the conventional state security forces/services for the enhancement of the entire Nigerian security system.
Terrorism is a globalized phenomenon confronting the international community. It has grown both in strength and trend and its impact felt in different parts of the world including Africa. This impact has lately been felt in northern Nigeria due to the activities of Boko Haram creating growing concern with the level of loss of lives recorded. In Nigeria, the group is usually referred to as a religious sect partly due to uncertainty as to its classification or designation or fear the group has created. When for example, President Obama referred to the group as a terrorist organization, President Jonathan countered his statement by saying its members are not terrorists. The media too refer to the group as a sect probably due to fear especially with the killing of a Television reporter and bombing of media houses. Boko Haram at inception was an Islamic group. With time, it became a sect due to its own beliefs or practices which has separated it from pure Islam. This paper believes that the group at birth in 2001 was a religious sect but has over time, graduated into a terrorist organization especially with its adoption and use of terror tactics. This paper examines the term terrorism and the various tactics employed by terroristвЂ™s organizations worldwide. It will consequently, do a comparative analysis between Boko Haram and well known terrorist organizations in terms of motivation, ideology, existence, grievances, tactics employed to address grievances etc. for proper classification as a terrorist organization, an international one or local terrorist organization. The paper will then attempt to suggest ways by which their activities can be curtailed and eliminated.