The Federal Republic of Nigeria has had its fair share of crisis after it gained independence from Britain in 1960. Some of these crises are man-made due to the severe political and economic upheavals the country has been through. Decades of dictatorship followed by a civil war left citizens with raw nerves. In 1999, Nigeria moved into a democracy after several failed attempts. This promising development is however being tested, by severe crisis ranging from kidnapping to having its very own terrorist group known as the Boko Haram.
The Nigerian government is therefore faced with a task of providing its citizenry the needed security and to come up with strategies to curb these crises. ...view middle of the document...
Boko Haram was formed in the northern part of the country in 2002 and was propelled into the international scene after the August 26, 2011 suicide attacks on UN headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria (Cooke, 2011). It was officially established as a “militant group with the technical and doctrinal capacity to produce suicide bombs.”(Walker, 2012, p. 6) Despite counter terrorism measures undertaken by the Nigerian government, the group has continued to unleash mayhem on the citizenry. The sect’s relentless attack on people has shown that the Nigerian government is unprepared to deal with the situation in a “coherent, strategic, and calibrated way.”(Cooke, 2011, p. 2). What is the government doing wrong? Why has the Nigerian government failed in its attempts to stop the Boko Haram crisis? This paper seeks to answer this question.
History of Boko Haram in Nigeria
Boko Haram is an extremist Islamic sect in northern Nigeria that has wrecked and continues to wreck social, economic, cultural and political havoc in the country. It is also known as Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad which means people committed to the propagation of the Prophet Mohammed’s teachings and Jihad. The group come into the limelight in 2002 but is touted to have been in existence since 1980 (Ekwueme & Obayi, 2012). There is a weak link between the Boko Haram and the Maitatsine sect, implicated in the 1980 killings of about 4200 people in Kano State, Nigeria. According to Brinkel and Ait-Hida (2012), Boko Haram started in Maiduguri, which is the Capital of Bornu state in the north-eastern part of Nigeria.
Walter (2012) asserts that Boko Haram was formed by a group of youth, which declared Islam as practiced in Nigeria as corrupt and moved away to form a separate Islam, rooted in core Islamic fundamentals. After a period in which they clashed with local authorities, the group returned to Borno and set up shop. Its founder Mohammed Yusuf, a hardcore Islamic extremist was responsible for the “radicalization” of the group. He recruited members from all parts of the 19 northern states and expanded its coasts. According to Onuoha (2012) , Boko Haram has over 280 000 members across the 19 states of Northern Nigeria. The group draws its members from unemployed disaffected youth, unemployed college graduates, and what is known in Nigeria as the Alhamajiris. Alhamajiris are groups of young people that are usually sent to live and study under Islamic teachers in very unpleasant conditions, thus making them targets for Boko Haram recruitment. Furthermore, there is evidence that the sect also boasts of wealthy and influential people who are touted to be financiers of the sect (Onuoha, 2012). This is however debatable as Walter (2012) argues that there is uncertainty as to where the group gets funding from.
In 2009, the Nigerian police arrested and killed Yusuf during a fatal riot that lasted from 26 to 30 July 2009. The riot reportedly took place in four...