n Law, Democracy & Development - Boko Haram : an enquiry into the socio-political context of Nigeria's counter-terrorism response

Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1028-1053
  • E-ISSN: 2077-4907



In more ways than one, Boko Haram ramifies the national security threats that confront Nigeria. Since its resurgence in 2009, the sect has waged a war of terror on Nigeria, exploiting ethno-religious differences in the country to advance its brand of religion. The sect's capacity to threaten peace, security and political stability has been felt by some countries that share borders with Nigeria, and the human fatalities that have resulted from its violent activities are disturbingly high. A recent report by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court claimed the sect's egregious "large-scale attacks" provide a reasonable basis for believing that it has committed crimes against humanity. Such fatalities are not new in Nigeria. Indeed, Boko Haram merely perpetuates a long narrative of violent clashes over ethnic, regional and religious differences in Nigeria. In the early 1980s, a Muslim sect called the Yan Tatsine instigated a wave of violence that claimed several hundred lives in several states in Northern Nigeria. Like Boko Haram, Yan Tatsine was vehemently opposed to Western civilization. Both sects drew large followings that had one thing in common - an obsession with rigid creed.

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