A Nation under Siege: A Cursory Look at the State of Insecurity in Nigeria with Special Emphasis on Boko Haram and the Niger Delta Avengers Phenomena
Violent conflict within multiethnic and multi-religious countries is almost as given, although not all multiethnic or multi-religious societies are violent. The gamut of those riddled with violent conflict ranges from Yugoslavia and USSR to Northern Ireland and the Basque country, from Rwanda to Darfur, and Indonesia to Fiji. Numerous bitter and deadly conflicts have been fought along ethnic and religious lines. However, apart from Nigeria, there is hardly any one country today that has been faced with conflicts all due to the conflation of so many factors at a time. Nigeria appears to be the only of such country today. The raging conflicts in Nigeria today are engendered by a combination of religious, ethnic and political factors. This has heightened the state and nature of insecurity in the country. Using social movements and protracted social conflict as theoretical frameworks, this paper seeks to argue along the trajectory that Nigeria is presently experiencing two types of terrorist insurgency – the political (perpetuated by the Niger Delta Avengers) and religious (perpetuated by the Boko Haram Sect). The paper argues that the conflicts in Nigeria are products of existential and identity crisis; a product of how people see themselves in different ways that constitute fluid, short-lived and insignificant identity on one hand and a more permanent and more significant identity on the other hand.Violent conflicts erupt when a group of people ascribe a special identity to themselves in relation to other groups within the society. Where violent conflicts are hinged on the identity of a people, such identity is considered sufficient enough to motivate and prepare a people to deploy violence to propagate and defend their cause. People now find themselves taking armsbased on their identity. The paper x-rays the activities of two groups in Nigeria – The Niger Delta Avengers and the Boko Haram sect, and explores how the phenomenon of group identity has resulted in permanent state of insecurity in Nigeria.