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Boko Haram in Nigeria: Historical and Political-Economic Exploration

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Book Title: Boko Haram in Nigeria: Historical and Political-Economic Exploration, by Kola Ibrahim, 2015

As a testament to Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilisation theory, which is also manifesting in what Mary Kaldor describes as ‘new wars’, a new dimension of conflicts has established itself in International politics. These conflicts now come in form of armed insurgency, violent secessionist, ethno-religious conflicts etc. Africa, no doubt occupies an important seat in the theatre of war.

In Nigeria, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’ Awati Wal-Jihad popularly called Boko Haram has been responsible for the death of over 14,000 people (both combatants and civilians), displacement of over 1.5 million persons, destruction and loot of properties worth billions of naira, abduction of over 220 school girls from Chibok secondary school, bombings of several high profile institutions amongst others. With the Nigerian government and their International principals bereft of any practical solution on how to curb the menace, Kola Ibrahim’s work ‘Boko Haram in Nigeria: Historical and Political-Economic Exploration’ comes to their rescue.

The book provides a scientific analysis of the causes, escalatory factors, response efforts targeted at the conflict and chart a way forward out of this seemingly hopeless state. In what appears to be a complete departure from the conventional method of analysing the conflict, he contends that any investigation into the conflict should not be done outside of the political economy of the society. In total conformity to his hypothesis, Boko Haram and other various ethno-religious terrorist groups are offspring of capitalism and imperialism, the current socioeconomic system embraced by Nigeria and their international principals and not until this system is overthrown all efforts at combating terrorism will only be tantamount to enclosing water in a basket. Even if the government manages to defeat Boko Haram under this current arrangement, it will only enthrone negative peace if the underlining causes of the conflict are not addressed.

However, it is my view that any effort at understanding the trajectory of religious fundamentalism in Nigeria should not ignore the rise and fall of the Maitatsine movement. In the same manner that Boko Haram rise was traced in scientific details to the Uthman dan Fodio Jihad, a detailed analysis of the Maitatsine movement should be done while drawing out similarities with Boko Haram. This work provides little insight into the movement. Of course, this is compensated for by the deep and detailed analyses from various angles, of the rise of terrorism, religious fundamentalism and terrorism, and Boko Haram in particular. This gives a general understanding of various strands of religious fundamentalism and terrorism, including Maitatsine movement.

Also, the use of the word tribe in describing the uniqueness of our culture and relations may not be accurate. Of course, the author used ‘tribe’ and ‘ethnic groups’ interchangeably, which may seem simple and easy to use, especially when writing for general and varied readers, it is…