New Media and the Challenges of Boko Haram Terrorism: Proposing the Adoption of Human-Wearable Digital Technology

Adamkolo Mohammed Ibrahim, Mohammed Gujbawu, Nassir Abba-Aji


The Boko Haram terrorism, which began in 2009 has had a devastating impact on the society. So far, it has triggered one of the worst humanitarian crises in history and has been responsible for over 30 thousand deaths with over two million others displaced, mostly in the North-east of the country with sizeable spillovers into the neighboring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroon. Boko Haram’s primary goal was to create an Islamic caliphate in the region, and like other terrorist networks, uses the unconventional, hit-and-run guerrilla war tactics. This has rendered the insurgency to be a hard nut to crack, a phenomenon that is cited as one of the main reasons the group is able to continually carry out successful attacks despite being declared “technically defeated”. Hence, this need to seek for alternative, ‘unconventional’ media as a tool for counterterrorism. The media, both new and traditional have been shown to play a critical role toward the de-Bokoharamization campaign of the Nigerian Federal Government in collaboration with its Western partners. However, due to the guerrilla tactics nature of the insurgency, human-wearable digital microchip technology such as radio frequency identification and wireless body area network systems have been suggested as capable of yielding desirable outcomes. Following a critical review of literature and taking from Laswell’s communication model, this review article offers a digital communication counterterrorism model to complement the state’s efforts toward the anti-terrorism campaign.


Keywords: Boko Haram conflict, de-bokoharamization campaign, digital wristband, human-wearable technology, counterterrorism

Full Text:



Abdulazeez, M. A. (2016). The inadequacies of exclusive military action: Countering Boko Haram’s terrorism with alternative approaches. In Selected Papers: Terrorism Experts Conference (TEC) 2016 (pp. 26-60). Brussels: NAT.

Adora, C. U. (2010). Renewing the face of counter terrorism for global peace: The challenges for theater artists in Nigeria. Jos Journal of Humanities, 4(1), 103-114.

Agara, T. (2015). Gendering terrorism: Women, gender, terrorism and suicide bombers. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 5(6/1), 115-125.

Aljazeera (2019). 10 civilians killed in suspected Boko Haram attack in Niger town. Aljazeera, March 27. Retrieved May 31, 2019 from

Anaedozie, F. (2016). Has the emergence of female suicide bombers in Nigeria depicted the exploitation of feminine vulnerability? A critical appraisal of Boko Haram’s female suicide bombers in Nigeria. International Journal of Innovative Research and Development, 15(3), 127-227.

Antwi-Boateng, O. (2017). Boko Haram and the Islamic State: A tale of two terrors. Conflict Studies Quarterly, 18, 20-39.

Arya, S., & Bilandi, N. (2007). A review: Wireless body area networks for health care. Int. J. Innov. Res. Comput. Commun. Eng., 3297(4), 134-167.

Assanvo, W., Abatan, J. E., & Sawadogo, W. A. (2016). Assessing the Multinational Joint Task Force against Boko Haram. West Africa Report, (19). Retrieved December 21, 2016 from

Asogwa, C. E., Iyere, J. I., & Attah, C. O. (2012). The mass media reportage of crimes and terrorists’ activities: The Nigerian experience. Asian Culture and History, 4(2), 175-181.

Awan, J. H., Memon, N. A., & Bhutto, Z. (2017). Conceptual model for WWBAN (wearable wireless body area network). International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications, 8(1), 377-381.

Baran, S. J., & Davis, D. K. (2012). Mass communication theory: Foundations, ferment, and future (6th ed., p. 25). Boston: Cengage Learning.

Barkindo, A. (2013). Join the Caravan: The ideology of political authority in Islam, from Ibn Taimiyya to Boko Haram in North East Nigeria. Perspectives on Terrorism, 7(3), 30-43.

BBC News. (2015, January 30). Boko Haram crisis: African Union backs regional force of 7,500 troops.

Bilgen, A. (2012, July). Terrorism and the media: A dangerous symbiosis. E-International Relations, the George Washington University, USA.

Bloom, M., Horgan, J., & Winter, C. (2016, February). Depictions of children and youth in the Islamic State’s martyrdom propaganda, 2015-2016. CTC Sentinel, 9(2), 29-32.

Bouzar, D. (2016 May). Rescue mission: Freeing young recruits from the grip of ISIS. Scientific American Mind, 27(3), 41-43.

Celso, A. N. (2015). The Islamic State and Boko Haram: Fifth wave jihadist terror groups. Orbis, 59(2), 249-268.

Crelinsten, R. (2017). A comprehensive approach to counterterrorism: An overview. In Selected papers: Terrorism Experts Conference (TEC) 2016 (pp. 8-25). Brussels: NATO.

CNN. (2015, January 12). 2,000 feared killed in ‘deadliest’ Boko Haram attack in Nigeria. (Reporters: Amina Abubakar and Faith Karimi). Retrieved August 19, 2017 from

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). (2016a). Nigeria security tracker. Retrieved October 17, 2017 from

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). (2016b). What makes Boko Haram run? (Author: John Campbell). Retrieved May 5, 2018 from

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). (2015). Boko Haram. (Authors: Mohammed Aly Sergie, and Toni Johnson). Retrieved March 5, 2015 from

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). (2012, November 15). Nigeria security tracker: Mapping violence in Nigeria.

Covacio, S. (2003). Technological problems associated with subcutaneous microchips for human identification (SMHId). In InSITE June 2003. Informing Science, 843-853.

Croteau, D., & Hoynes, W. (2019). Media/society: Industries, images and audiences (6th ed.). New Delhi: Sage Publications.

Dyer, G. (2006). The international terrorist conspiracy. Retrieved October 29, 2018 from

Elden, S. (2014). The geopolitics of Boko Haram and Nigeria's ‘war on terror’. The Geographical Journal, 180(4), 414-425.

Forest, J. J. F. (2012). Confronting the terrorism of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Joint special operations university (JSOU) report 12-5. MacDill, Fl.: The JSOU Press.

Fouad, H. (2014). Patient-oriented web telemedicine system for health monitoring. J. Commun. Comput., 11, 168-178.

Golmie, N., Cypher, D., & Rebala, O. (2005). Performance analysis of low rate wireless technologies for medical applications. Comput. Commun., 28(10),1266-275.

Google image. Retrieved 19 February 2018 from

Graaf, J. (1982). Violence as communication: Insurgent terrorism and the Western news media (pp. 178). London: Sage.

GTI. (2017). Global terrorism index: Measuring and understanding the impact of terrorism (pp. 85). New York: Institute for Economics and Peace.

GTI. (2016). Global terrorism index: Measuring and understanding the impact of terrorism (pp. 3 & 17). New York: Institute for Economics and Peace.

Haggerty, K. D., & Trottier, D. (2013). Surveillance and/of nature: Monitoring beyond the human. Society and Animals, 1-20. doi: 10.1163/15685306-12341304

Ibrahim, A. M., & Hassan, M. S. (2017). Media versus Boko Haram: Proposing the adoption and use of cyber technology by terror groups model for counterinsurgency (pp. 32). Beau-Bassin, Mauritius: Lambert Academic Publishers.

Istadiyantha, H. A. (2018). Revealing the propaganda of communication between the Islamic fundamentalism activists of the Middle East and Indonesia. Jurnal Komunikasi: Malaysian Journal of Communication, 34(2), 137-151. doi: 10.17576/JKMJC-2018-3402-09

Iyere, J. (2006). Religious management as a tool for global peace. In D. Stinton (Ed.), The arts, man and globalization: Trends, issues and problems (pp. 377-385). Accra North: Deocraft Communications.

Kaiser, W., & Sarrafzadeh, W. (2010). Introduction to special issue on wireless health. ACM Trans. Embed. Comput. Syst., 10(1), 1-1.

Khawaja, M. A. (2010, April). Terrorism originates from the Western colonial powers. Global Research. Retrieved December 1, 2017 from

Kingsley, K. M., Johnson-Rokosu, S. F., & Olanrewaju, R. A. (2015). Combating Boko Haram terrorism financing: Case of Nigeria and Lake-Chad Basin. International Journal of Current Research, 7(11), 22849-22861.

Landt, J. (2005). The history of RFID. IEEE Potentials, October – November. Retieved June 6,


Laswell, H. (1948). The structure and function of communication in society. In L. Bryson (Ed.), The communication of ideas. New York: harper.

Lin, Y.-H., Jan, I.-C., Ko, P. C.-I., Chen, Y.-Y., Wong, J.-M., & Jan, G.-J. (2004). A wireless PDA-based physiological monitoring system for patient transport. IEEE Trans. Inf. Technol. Biomed., 8(4), 439-447.

Michael, K., Michael, M. G., & Ip, R. (2008). Microchip implants for humans as unique identifiers: A case study on VeriChip. In N. Manders-Huits (Ed.), Conference on ethics, technology and identity (ETI) (pp. 81-84). Delft: Delft University of Technology.

Moorthy, R., Benny, G., & Gill, S. (2018). Disaster communication in managing vulnerabilities. Jurnal Komunikasi: Malaysian Journal of Communication, 43(2), 51-66. doi: 10.17576/JKMJC-2018-3402-04

Mu’azu, A. (2015). Media use by insurgents and the application of media to counter Boko Haram. In O. O. Isola & M. Popoola (Eds.), Journalism practice and terrorism in Nigeria: Issues, trends and techniques. Ibadan: John Archers Publishers Limited.

Muhammed, K. (2014). The message and methods of Boko Haram. In P. M. Marc-Antoine, P. M. (Eds.). Boko Haram: Islamism, politics, security and the state in Nigeria. Abuja: African Studies Center.

Nacos, B. L. (2002). Mass-mediated terrorism. New York: Rowman and Littlefield. (2016, 1 July). Hajj pilgrims to get e-bracelete for safety: Media. Retrieved 15 November, 2018 from

Ngige C. V., Badekale, A. F., & HammanJoda I. (2016). The media and Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria: A content analysis and review. International Journal of Peace and Conflict Studies, 3(1), 58-65.

Ogunnubi, O., Onapajo, H., & Isike, C. (2016). A failing regional power? Nigeria’s international status in the age of Boko Haram. Politikon, 44(3), 446-465.

Othman, Z., & Mat, B. (2018). Jaringan komunikasi dan media: Satu analisis dari perspektif keselamatan insan. Jurnal Komunikasi: Malaysian Journal of Communication, 34(3), 21-39. doi: 10.17576/JKMJC-2018-3403-02

Oyeniyi, A. B. (2010). Terrorism in Nigeria: Groups, activities and politics. International Journal of Politics and Good Governance, 1(1), 1-16.

Pate, A. U., & Idris, H. (2017). How journalists survived to report: Professionalism and risk management in the reporting of terror groups and violent extremism in North East Nigeria (159-170). In U. Carlsson & R. Poitra (Eds.), The assault on journalism: Building knowledge to protect freedom of expression (pp. 159-160). Gothenborg: Nordicom.

Premium Times. (2017, August 5). Boko Haram destroyed one million houses, 5,000 classrooms, N1.9 trillion properties in Borno – Official. Retrieved December 23, 2017 from

Premium Times. (2015). We have defeated Boko Haram, December deadline met, Nigeria says. Premium Times Nigeria (Abuja), December 23. Retrieved October 30 2018 from

Ramli, S. N., & Ahmad, R. (2011). Surveying the wireless body area network in the realm of wireless communication. In 2011 7th International Conference on Information Assurance and Security (IAS), 2011, pp. 58-61.

Reuters. (2011, August 29). Islamist sect Boko Haram claims Nigerian UN bombing. (Reporter: Ibrahim Mshelizza). Retrieved January 11, 2015 from

Rodriguez, D. A. (2019). Chipping in at work: Privacy concerns related to the use of body microchip (“RFID”) implants in the employer–employee context. Iowa Law Review, 104, 1581-1611.

Salaam, A. O. (2012). Boko Haram: Beyond religious fanaticism. Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, 7(2), 147-162.

Schmid, A., & de Graaf, J. (1982). Violence as communication: Insurgent terrorism and the Western news media (pp. 178). London: Sage.

Siapera, E. (2018). Understanding new media (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publications.

Stephens, K. R. (2010). Colonial history, modernization and terrorism: The effect of colonialism and modernization on transnational ethnoseparatist terrorism, 1968-2002 (Published Master’s thesis, the Graduate School of The Ohio State University, USA, pp. 56).

United Nations Security Council (UNSC). (2014). Security Council Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee adds Boko Haram to its sanctions list. Retrieved May 22, 2014 from

US Department of State (USDS). (2016). Foreign terrorist organizations (Chapter 6). Retrieved October 21, 2016 from

Warner, J., & Matfess, H. (2017). Exploding stereotypes: The unexpected operational and demographic characteristics of Boko Haram’s suicide bombers (pp. 1-44). Washington DC: Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.

Washington Post. (2016, April 14). Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls two years ago. What happened to them? (Reporter: Kevin Sieff). Retrieved December 27, 2017 from

Wikipedia. (2017). Dabiq magazine. Retrieved December 23, 2017 from

Yao, J., Schmitz, R., & Warren, S. (2005). A wearable point-of-care system for home use that incorporates plug-and-play and wireless standards. IEEE Trans. Inf. Technol. Biomed., 9(3), 363-371.

Zenn, J. (Ed.). (2018 May). Boko Haram beyond the headlines: Analyses of Africa’s enduring insurgency. Washington, DC: Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

e-ISSN: 2289-1528