Terrorism and Insurgency in Northern Nigeria: A Study of the Origins and Nature of Boko Haram

Omobuwajo Olufemi Ajibola


This study attempts to unravel the characteristics of the Boko Haram sect in northern Nigeria. The activities of the group became profound in 2009; terrorism and insurgency were identified as its major strategies. This paper engaged qualitative methods and made broad use of secondary sources. The group made greater impact in Nigeria than previous extremist groups such as Maitatsine and Shiite group, hence the need to understand its evolution, ideology and motivation. The group was discovered to have expansionist tendencies with foreign support of other Islamic fundamentalist organizations. Three motivations of the sect were pointed out to include religious extremism, resentment over the killing of their members and poverty. Among its famous attacks were the bombing of Nigeria Police Force Headquarters and the UN House both in Abuja and in 2011. It also carried out the Christmas day bombing at St Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla near Abuja on 25 December, 2011. The federal government, the international community and other stakeholders took initiatives to end the onslaught through coercion, sanctions, offers of dialogue, negotiation and amnesty but all these have so far failed to bring an end to the hostilities. This study gave a number of recommendations to mitigate this prolonged crisis and concluded by underlining the importance of addressing the root causes of the problems such as poor governance, poverty among others.

KEY WORDS: Boko Haram, Terrorism, Insurgency, Northern Nigeria

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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