Boko Haram and Nigerian Terrorism Essay

Total Length: 500 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 2

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Agbiboa, D.E. (2013a). Peace at Daggers Drawn? Boko Haram and the State of Emergency in Nigeria. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 37(1): 41-67.

Boko Haram technically started in 2002 but has been especially active since 2009. Since then, the organization has worked hard to discredit the Nigerian government and replace it with an Islamic state based on Sharia law. Boko Haram is inspired by international radical Islam, and has taken root in northeastern Nigeria. Violence is integral to the Boko Haram methods. More than 3500 people have died so far directly due to Boko Haram.

The Nigerian government has tried negotiations and offers of amnesty in exchange for peace, but mutual mistrust has stalled diplomacy. Both carrot and stick approaches have failed. Moreover, Boko Haram is relatively fragmented, and different cells have different approaches to the Nigerian government and different political philosophies. Ultimately, Boko Haram must be understood within its historical, social, and political context. It is appealing to the poor and disenfranchised, using religion as a direct means of social and political control. Suggestions for state responses include ongoing negotiations, albeit while embedding counterterrorism measures. Counterterrorism should be less about force and more about addressing the root causes such as socioeconomic inequalities and creating a normative culture in which radicalization no longer takes place.


Agbiboa, D.E. (2013b). Why Boko Haram Exists: The Relative Deprivation Perspective. African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review 3(1): 144-157.

Boko Haram did not emerge from a vacuum. Radical Islam has existed in Nigeria for decades, since independence. The insurgency represents something different, and more sinister in nature in that Boko Haram seeks to destabilize the Nigerian government within a jihadist framework. Boko Haram's goal is to overtake the Nigerian government and impose Sharia law upon the entire nation. Boko Haram has a political agenda that appeals to the disenfranchised Muslim citizens in the northeastern region of Nigeria, because it focuses on social justice issues. The Nigerian government has been the target of Boko Haram, particularly after the government-sponsored assassination of Mohammad Yusef. Violence and intimidation are not sensible or effective responses to Boko Haram, but transformational anti-poverty policies are.

Hansen, W.W. & Musa, U.A. (2013). Fanon, the Wretched and Boko Haram. Journal of Asian and African Studies January 15, 2013 0021909612467277.

Frantz Fanon, premier philosopher of post-colonial discourse, would have predicted the emergence of Boko Haram. Fanon would have framed Boko Haram as a….....

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Boko Haram did not emerge from a vacuum. Radical Islam has existed in Nigeria for decades, since independence. The insurgency represents something different, and more sinister in nature in that Boko Haram seeks to destabilize the Nigerian government within a jihadist framework. Boko Haram's goal is to overtake the Nigerian government and impose Sharia law upon the entire nation. Boko Haram has a political agenda that appeals to the disenfranchised Muslim citizens in the northeastern region of Nigeria, because it focuses on social justice issues. The Nigerian government has been the target of Boko Haram, particularly after the government-sponsored assassination of Mohammad Yusef. Violence and intimidation are not sensible or effective responses to Boko Haram, but transformational anti-poverty policies are.

Hansen, W.W. & Musa, U.A. (2013). Fanon, the Wretched and Boko Haram. Journal of Asian and African Studies January 15, 2013 0021909612467277.

Frantz Fanon, premier philosopher of post-colonial discourse, would have predicted the emergence of Boko Haram. Fanon would have framed Boko Haram as a natural and direct response to the policies and programs that have governed Nigerian society. Those policies and programs have marginalized the "wretched," subjugating the "other," the poor, and the non-Christian. Nigerian independence was created as a vestige of colonialism, and still carried with it systematic oppression, social and economic hierarchy, and enabling of rampant poverty and exploitation. The violence of socio-economic and political oppression has now been twisted into the wretched violence of Boko Haram. The best way to understand Boko Haram and prevent future insurgency is to frame the organization within Fanon's discourse, to show that terrorist violence is an expression of genuine anger and pain.

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