Miss Joan McDappa

Research project: Exploring the Effectiveness of the Nigerian Government's Counterterrorism Strategy Towards Boko Haram.


Much of Nigeria's history has witnessed numerous violent conflicts caused by political, religious, tribal/ethnic division, and terrorism, which continue to threaten Nigeria's development and security. Globally, the beginning of the twenty-first century saw a dynamic trend of religious extremism and terrorism by non-state actors. The impact of this trend was visible in Nigeria, where the journey of the group which would later be known as Jama'atu Ahlus Sunna Lidda'wati Wal Jihad (People Committed to the Prophet's Teaching for Propagation and Jihad) began in the early 2000s. This group, popularly known as Boko Haram, claims to have links with other foreign terrorist organisations such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS and is one of the deadliest terrorist groups. 

Over the last two decades, the Nigerian government has launched numerous counterterrorism campaigns against the Boko Haram menace. Some scholars, however, argue that these counterterrorism efforts are largely ineffective and often counterproductive because they fail to address the underlying issues that promote terrorism in Nigeria. While not dismissing these arguments, this study observes the tendency to determine the effectiveness of Nigeria's counterterrorism strategies without carrying out a systematic analysis. Following this identified gap, this research aims to understand the impact of each counterterrorism strategy adopted by empirically evaluating them using government-specified indicators. 

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: Exploring the Effectiveness of the Nigerian Government's Counterterrorism Strategy Towards Boko Haram.
  • Research supervisor: Dr Peter Finn
  • Other research supervisor: Dr Atsuko Ichijo


Having gained an undergraduate degree in International Relations; and a Master degree in Terrorism Studies, I have developed a successful career in strategy development, security analysis, risk management, conflict resolution, advocacy and research. My career journey has seen me work across profit and nonprofit organizations.

Resulting from my deep passion for promoting development in Africa, I have (in some instances) collaborated and executed impact-based projects, usually targeted at women, youths and children in system-created disadvantaged situations. These projects are very clearly related to my area of research interest and are often outcomes of my research work.

Fundamental to my decision to fully pursue a career in research is my vision to drive effective development in the African region. I hope that through this research, the government, not just in Nigeria but the entire African region (and even the world), would begin to make better-informed counter-terrorism decisions and strategies.

Areas of research interest

  • Politics and Governance in Africa
  • Corruption and Insecurity
  • Counter-terrorism
  • Terrorism
  • Media and Nation-building


  • MSc in Terrorism Studies, University of East London
  • BSc in International Relations, Covenant University