Understanding Nigerian citizens’ perspectives on Boko Haram

A comprehensive study sheds light on how those most affected by Boko Haram view the terrorist group.

This monograph presents the findings of a study aimed at understanding Boko Haram from the perspective of ordinary Nigerian citizens. Using field and desktop research, the study analyses a cross section of perspectives on the political context of Boko Haram and the dynamics surrounding the group’s existence. The study identifies complex factors, including financial incentives, that motivate individuals to join the group, and underscores the need for multifaceted and multi-layered responses.

About the authors

Anneli Botha is a senior researcher at the ISS in Pretoria. After completing a degree in international politics, she joined the South African Police Service’s Crime Intelligence Unit in 1993, focusing, among other things, on terrorism and religious extremism. She has a master’s degree in political studies from the University of Johannesburg and a PhD from the University of the Free State. Her specific areas of interest are counterterrorism strategies and the underlying causes of terrorism and radicalisation.

Martin Ewi is a senior researcher at the ISS International Crime in Africa Programme. He previously served as a political affairs officer at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons based in The Hague. Before that he was in charge of the AU Commission’s counterterrorism programme and security strategic issues from 2002 to 2005. Ewi holds an MA in international peace studies from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, US. His research focus is counterterrorism and African regional organisations’ strategic security issues.

Uyo Salifu joined the ISS International Crime in Africa Programme in 2012. She previously worked at the Institute for Global Dialogue as a research assistant. She has also worked at the University of Pretoria as an assistant lecturer and as programme assistant for the Master of Diplomatic Studies Programme. She holds a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Pretoria. Her research currently focuses on terrorism and violent extremism.

Mahdi Abdile is Finn Church Aid’s deputy regional representative for the East and Southern Africa regional office. He is completing his PhD in the Department of Political and Economic Studies at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He has participated in several EU and Academy of Finland research projects on diaspora involvement in peacebuilding in the Horn of Africa. For the past five years he has worked for a number of international organisations and as a consultant for the UN.

Development partners
This monograph was commissioned by the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers, the International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID) and Finn Church Aid with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland. The ISS is grateful for the support from the government of the Netherlands that has made this monograph possible. The ISS is also grateful for support from the other members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the USA.
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