Framing and Perspectives: Exploring the Rhetorical Functions of Thematic Choices in Nigerian Editorials on Terrorism in Nigeria

Main Article Content

Bukola Alfred
Rotimi Taiwo


This paper explores Nigerian media’s choices of Themes in editorials on terrorism in Nigeria. The study relates to how well Nigerian newspaper organisations attempted to reveal or mask security cases across different regions of the country through thematic choices. The editorials were sourced from The Punch and The Guardian (South-Western region), Vanguard and The Sun (East Region) and Leadership and Daily Trust (Northern Region) between 2014 and 2016. Our findings show that preposition-headed adjuncts occurred the most in thematic positions. Marked adjuncts were used to substantiate claims, inject prejudices and mark varying degrees of commitments. Marked complements were thematised to project the sufferers/victims of violence, thus achieve emotive effects on the readers. The multiple Themes were made to function as adversatives, correctives, emphases and stance markers on security measures in the editorials. All the newspapers employed thematic relations that explicitly projected negative disposition to the violent activities of cattle herders, Boko Haram insurgents and Niger Delta militant in Nigeria. 

Article Details

How to Cite
Alfred, B. ., & Taiwo, R. . (2018). Framing and Perspectives: Exploring the Rhetorical Functions of Thematic Choices in Nigerian Editorials on Terrorism in Nigeria. Journal of The Linguistic Association of Nigeria, 21(1), 160–173. Retrieved from
Author Biographies

Bukola Alfred, Department of English

 Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria

Rotimi Taiwo, Department of English

Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria


Ayoola, K. (2010). The presentation of ideological perspectives on Niger-Delta discourse in Nigerian Newspapers. Journal of the Nigeria English Studies Association (JNESA), 13(1), 17-32.

Bloor T., & Bloor M. (1995). The fundamental analysis of English. London: Edward Arnold.

Chinwokwu, E. (2012). History and dynamics of terrorism in Nigeria: Socio-political dimension. International Journal of Innovative Research and Development, 1(11), 419-449.

Daily Trust Newspaper, Nigeria.

Dankano, S. (2010). U.S listing of Nigeria as terror state: matters arising. Retrieved from

Downing, A., & Locke, P. (2006). English grammar – A university course. New York: Routledge.

Ekeanyanwu, N., & Jokodola, O. (2009). Analysis of the content of Nigeria’s newspaper editorials. Oko Journal of Communication and Information Science, 1(2), 73-103.

Fries, P. (1995). Personal view of theme: Thematic development in English text. In Ghadessy, M. (ed.), Register Analysis, 335-359. London: Pinter.

Halliday, M., & Mathiessen, C. (2004). An introduction to functional grammar. London: Hodder Education.

Halliday, M., & Mathiessen, C. (2014). Halliday’s introduction to functional grammar. New York: Routledge.

Huddleston, R.(1988). English grammar – An outline. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Igwebuike, E., & Taiwo, R. (2015). Representation of Bakassi Peninsula conflict in Nigeria and Cameroon print media: A critical discourse approach. Linguistik online 73, 4(15), 29-45.

Lafrue, G. & Dugan, L. (2007). Introducing the global terrorism database. Terrorism and political violence, 19: 181-204 DOI: 10.1080/09546550701246817 Leadership Newspaper, Nigeria.

Ojeme, V. (2011). Nigeria still on European terror watch list. Vanguard. Retrieved from watch_list/

Osisanwo, A. (2016). Discursive representation of Boko Haram terrorism in selected Nigerian newspapers. Discourse and Communication, 1-22.

Osisanwo, W. (2001). Textuality and Nigerian newspaper editorials: The example of The Guardian. Ife Studies in English Language, 5, 1-9.

Owolabi, D. (2016). Perception of English usage in expressing validity on products and services. Papers in English and Linguistics (PEL), 17, 241-254.

Taiwo, R. (2001). Thematic structure in English-medium Nigerian newspaper Reports. Ife Studies in English Language, 5(1), 58-67.

The Guardian Newspaper, Nigeria.

The Punch Newspaper, Nigeria.

The Sun Newspaper, Nigeria.

Vanguard Newspaper, Nigeria.