Boko Haram and Turmoil in Northern Nigeria

Date01 June 2015
Published date01 June 2015
Subject MatterArticles
Associate Professor and Head, Department of Political Science, Yobe State University,
2 Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Yobe State University, Nigeria.
Corresponding author:
Aslam Khan, Department of Political Science, Yobe State University, Nigeria.
Boko Haram and
Turmoil in Northern
Aslam Khan1
Ishaku Hamidu2
Nigeria, especially the northern region, seems to be threatened by multi-
farious internal and possibly external forces. The levels and dimensions
of insecurity range from ethno-religious crisis to abduction of persons,
clashes between herdsmen and farmers, electoral violence, and the
most conspicuous one, the Boko Haram activities. The latter has caused
serious socioeconomic and political turmoil in the region, in the nation,
and in the neighboring states at large. Cross-border terrorism is also a
serious factor of destabilization as after every attack, insurgents succeed
to take shelter in the neighboring countries. The other financial and
logistic support by the neighboring countries with the help of external
powers seems to be a planned design of instability. The capture of many
parts by the Boko Haram in Yobe and Borno is the pointer to the fact
that Nigeria’s north is passing through a danger of falling into the hands
of the dreaded Boko Haram. Establishing control over the oil and natural
resources of Lake Chad Basin constituted the crux of the problem. The
economic turmoil due to insurgency is also a major factor of violence
and the turbulent situation. There is a need of economic overhaul by
promoting the traditional sources of economy, such as, development of
agriculture products and checkmating of the activities of aliens along the
Jadavpur Journal of
International Relations
19(1) 22–42
2015 Jadavpur University
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0973598415599884
Khan and Hamidu 23
border region. The article will discuss the said discourse critically and
suggest the measures to overcome these challenges.
Turmoil, insurgents, backward, killings and insecurity
Nigeria is a country in sub-Saharan Africa with thirty-six states and 774
local government areas. There are nineteen states in northern Nigeria and
most of the states in the northern region share international boundary
with countries, such as, the Republic of Chad, Niger, and Cameroun.
Since independence in 1960, northern Nigeria has produced seven out of
the eleven presidents/heads of states who ruled Nigeria coming from
both military and civilian backgrounds. Economically, the region seems
to be the livewire of the nation’s economy as most of the nation’s food
crops came from this area, prior to the discovery of oil on a commercial
scale. This was however affected by the oil boom of the 1970s when the
entire nation became dependent on oil for foreign exchange earnings,
while the military institutions continued to exercise complete domina-
tion over the nation’s political affairs. The region also suffered repeated
ethno-religious and political turmoil: The Nigerian Civil War of 1967,
which reflected deep ethnic cleavages with Igbo and Hausa people
fighting for survival, supremacy, and secession, claimed more than three
million victims. Overlapping these ethnic divergences is the north–south
hiatus in terms of socioeconomic development and control over natural
resources and other means of production with the south constituting the
“haves” and north, the “have-nots.” But the most perilous threat at
present comes from the Boko Haram insurgency. The operational aspect
of the Boko Haram has shattered the socioeconomic and political devel-
opment of the states in northern region and the country at large.
History and Activities of Boko Haram
The term Boko Haram (“Western or non-Islamic education is sin”), a
combination of Hausa and Arabic languages, was coined in 2002 at
Borno, a northern state of Nigeria. This group, born with the objective of

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