Socio-economic context of Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria.
Olofinbiyi, Sogo Angel.
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There have been widespread assumptions across the globe that the root cause of Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria is religious rather than socio-economic. An investigation into this dichotomy allowed this study to fully demonstrate the root cause of Boko Haram’s terrorist actions as a twin phenomenon that emanated from religious injunctions and the non-fulfilment of socio-economic goals that are prompted by the violation of fundamental human rights, corruption, poverty, unconstitutional and undemocratic practices in the northern part of the Nigerian state. To achieve its aim of examining the root cause of the terrorism crisis in the latter country, the study critically appraised the public perceptions on the socio-economic context of the insurgency by investigating the pattern of its maintenance from 2009 to 2017, examining the socio-economic consequences of the crisis, and identifying possible techniques for resolving the problem. The study adopted a qualitative methodological approach using in-depth interviews involving forty (40) participants to interrogate the phenomenon of the insurgency by Boko Haram in Nigeria. The study advanced a theoretical integration of the social exchange, social conflict and rational choice theories to explain a combination of the factors that were found to produce, reproduce and sustain the crisis in Nigeria. Empirical evidence from the study demonstrated that the evolution of Boko Haram terrorism was not only religiously inclined but also subject to socio-economic phlebotomy, political and moral putrescence, and the dehumanization of people that stemmed from a combination of decades of mismanagement and pervasive corruption by various Nigerian leaders. The study concludes that, as long as the endemic socio-economic problems caused by global capitalism vis-a-vis unequal hegemonic power exchange as expressed in socio-political, ethno-religious and cultural forms persist in the Nigerian society, the terrorism insurgency will recur and remain an inevitable enterprise and indeed a normal social reaction to every undesirable state of affairs. Based on the findings, the study urges the need for the amelioration of the conditions of the vast majority of the Nigerian populace by making socio-economic facilities available to them through the political state. The study recommends that the Nigerian state must respond to a new paradigm in counter-terrorism strategies by shifting from a violent military approach to more appropriate culturally acceptable conflict resolution strategies in order to win the war against Boko Haram terrorism and to eradicate this menace from the Nigerian society. This approach can best be accomplished through intelligence gathering, an emancipatory struggle, collaborative efforts, peaceful negotiations and partnerships with local communities.