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AN ASSESMENT OF THE BOKO HARAM INSURGENCY IN NIGERIA
This paper will be based on a field research conducted in Nigeria about the Boko Haram crisis. The paper will provide an understanding of the Boko Haram phenomenon, especially from the perspective of its socioeconomic, political and social determinants. It will focus mainly on the Root Cause (RC) theoretical approaches and the relationship between social, economic, political, and demographic changes and Boko Haram terrorist activity that has plagued the country, especially the northern region for more than a decade. Since its emergence in 2002, Boko Haram has perpetrated a series of deadly attacks on key governmental agencies, market areas, schools, religious centers, including Mosques and Churches, kidnappings of politicians, foreigners and young boys and girls, and extension of violence in the neighboring countries of Cameroon, Chad and the Republic of Niger. The philosophy and activities of the group have been subjected to various interpretations alongside ethnic, regional, cultural and religious bifurcation amongst the Nigerian populace. However, this article argues that Nigeria`s longstanding political schism, socioeconomic division, corruption and mismanagement of its resources, from independence to the present, has played an immense role in fueling the conflict. The high population in these areas coupled with lack of education or skilled training has led to a high demand for the country`s resources and increased youth unemployment. Consequently, the inhabitants of the north have become resentful against the government and also on Western influence whom they blamed for their economic plight. The results of such resentment was the formation of the Boko Haram Sect. Factors such as poverty, population explosion, social inequality and exclusion, dispossession and political grievance as well as oppression, security force brutality and human rights abuse are considered as the independent variables on which the emergence of terrorist organizations is dependent.
Keywords: Boko Haram, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger, terrorism, religious cleavages, socioeconomic and political grievance, poverty, unemployment, income inequality, corruption, oppression, police force brutality