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‘The Unique Case of Boko Haram’, Paul Wekem Kotuah, Certified Protection Professional writes



John Campbell, former U.S ambassador to Nigeria, wrote that ”Boko Haram, once an obscure, radical Islamic cult in the North, is evolving into an insurrection with support among the impoverished and alienated Northern population” This one sentence reflects several of the key themes in the current imperatives. It is no coincidence that Boko Haram developed from a base in the North of the country where a combination of socioeconomic isolation, politicized religious and ethnic identity and conspiracy theories driven by fear and reinforced by a heavy -handed security response to protests – all worked together to create an enabling environment for radical Islamist ideologies to resonate into what it is now.

Despite the existence of various conflicting accounts, it is agreed by most observers that in the year 2002-2003, a 32 year old Muslim Mohammed Yusuf established a religious complex with a mosque and an Islamic boarding school in Maiduguri in Borno state along with a prayer group called ”Jamaatul Alhul Sunnah Lidda wati wal Jihad’ which means commitment to the propagation of the prophet’s teachings. It is to be noted that Maiduguri is a city with a population of about one million people and it is located near the border with Cameroon. In short, the name Boko Haram came to be called by locals and the government because of its anti -Western focus which sought to create a better Nigeria through strict adherence to Islamic teachings

Having explored various kinds of enabling factors within the Nigerian context, we now turn to focus on the organization itself and how it has taken advantage of this context to spread an ideology that resonates and leads to recruitment and financial support. Questions that guide the analysis and the subject matter include how has Boko Haram come to be? What is its motivating ideology ? What has it done thus far? Who funds and support it? What are the linkages with other Islamist group? or with Al-Qaeda and the global Salafi -Jihadist movement? After addressing these and other questions, the discussion turns to offer some thoughts about the potential future trajectory of Boko Haram. A detail analysis of the issue and lessons learnt from the existence of this group in some part of Nigerian is being looked into.

By Paul Wekem Kotuah, Certified Protection Professional 

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