Terrorism in Nigeria and Boko Haram Essay

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Ending Terrorism in Africa: Diverging Approaches for Fighting Boko Haram Insurgency
Boko Haram insurgency has been a plague to peace and prosperity in Nigeria. In recent years, the organization has become increasingly more violent and connected with transnational terrorist organizations. Boko Haram threatens to destabilize Nigeria, as the group has carried out attacks on Nigerian infrastructure in addition to high-profile events like the abduction of school children in 2014 (Blanchard, 2014). Although the roots of Boko Haram can be traced to global Islamic fundamentalism, in Nigeria there are a host of more salient political, social, and economic problems that have made it possible for Boko Haram to become increasingly powerful and relevant. The responses to Boko Haram have failed to address these underlying causes, instead relying on reactionary tactics including violence or simply remaining indifferent to the situation Anyadike (2013). A sensible and workable strategy is needed to eliminate Boko Haram, or at least quell the insurgency and bring peace, stability, and prosperity to Nigeria and its neighbors. As Gilbert (2014) points out, Nigeria needs to adopt a "synergistic approach" involving whole region and including Cameroon, Chad and Niger (p. 150).

Approach for the Study

This study is grounded in conflict theory, which shows why Boko Haram has been as successful as they have. Boko Haram has appealed to the poor and unemployed in Northern Nigeria.
The organization has also established itself as an official opposition to the Nigerian government, which is perceived of as corrupt as well as irresponsive to the needs of Northern Nigerians. The rise of global Islamic terrorism provided Boko Haram with tools and resources it used to infiltrate and permeate the religious and social organizations in disenfranchised communities. Boko Haram has offered disenfranchised communities a cohesive, albeit misguided message of self-empowerment.

Far from condoning the violent and tactics and extremist politics of Boko Haram, conflict theory leads to viable solutions to the problem. It is hypothesized that the only real and sustainable way of solving the problem of Boko Haram is to address the root causes, the circumstances that gave rise to support for the group and which entrench the group in Nigeria and across several of its borders as well. The conflict theory approach also includes reference to post-colonial discourse and identity construction. Deprivation theory can also be used to research solutions to the problem (Agbiboa, 2013).

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

Anyadike, N.O. (2013). Boko Haram and National Security Challenges in Nigeria; Causes and Solutions. Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development 4(5): Retrieved: http://rguild.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Boko-Haram-and-National-Security-Challenges-in-Nigeria-Causes.pdf

Aro, O.I. (2013). Boko Haram Insurgency in Nigeria. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications 3(11): 178-185

Blanchard, L.P. (2014). Nigeria's Boko Haram: Frequently Asked Questions. Current Politics and Economics of Africa7(2) (2014): 143-172.

Gilbert, L.D. (2014). Prolongation of Boko Haram Insurgency in Nigeria. Research on Humanities and Social Sciences 4(11): 150-156.

Osumah, O. (2013). Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria and the vicious cycle of internal insecurity. Small Wars and Insurgencies 24(3): 536-560.

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