Since 2009, Nigeria has been witnessing large-scale destruction of lives and properties in the northeastern part of Nigeria as a result of Boko Haram terrorism. It is estimated that the sect has killed over fifteen thousand people, displaced over two million residents of the northeast and has rendered the three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe desolate. The activities of the sect have disrupted and dislodged the already inadequate infrastructural facilities in the region and had impaired governance processes. Confusion and dislocation have pervaded the general societal life of the region. This study examined the relationship between governance failure and terrorism in the area, using religion as a platform for radicalism. It investigated various factors accounting for radicalisation, indoctrination and enlistment of the youth into terrorism and Government’s response to address religious extremism and terrorism in the northeast Nigeria. The study adopted primary and secondary sources of data collection. The primary data were sourced, using in-depth interviews in the three most affected states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. Interviews were conducted with major stakeholders in governance in the area including government official and some selected civil society organisations. Secondary data were sourced through government defence publications, books and journals government that are relevant to the study. Using Frustration-Aggression Theory, the work found out that governance failure reproduced itself in form of excruciating poverty, pervasive unemployment, high illiteracy rate and extreme economic deprivation, which provided the impetus for anger and frustration that, in turn, breeds religious extremism and terrorism. The work concluded that despite the military approach currently deployed to defeat Boko Haram terrorism and religious extremism, such efforts might be ephemeral if governance is not properly deepened to address the issues of poverty, hunger, illiteracy and deprivation in the region.
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