‘Forcing the Horse to Drink or Making it Realise its Thirst’? Understanding the Enactment of Anti-Terrorism Legislation (ATL) in Nigeria

Isaac Terwase Sampson, Freedom C. Onuoha


Attempts by the Nigerian government to enact a comprehensive anti-terrorism legislation (ATL) since 2006 had suffered several setbacks. However, the failed Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. airliner by a Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and subsequent acts of domestic terrorism have induced the National Assembly (NASS) to revive deliberation on the ATL. Adopting a historical approach, this article critically engages with the complexities surrounding renewed efforts at enacting a comprehensive ATL in Nigeria and further highlights the contentious debates on its necessity. It argues that the litany of domestic imperatives that led to a lethargic approach to counter-terrorism legislation between 2006 and late 2009 by the NASS have been overwhelmed by more serious domestic and international terrorist acts, which have made the enactment of a comprehensive ATL in Nigeria a matter of necessity rather than choice. 

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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