Money talks: a key reason youths join Boko Haram

Financial incentives, not religion, is a main driver for individuals who are recruited to Boko Haram.

This policy brief is an overview of key findings from a study aimed at understanding violent extremism in northern Nigeria, and identifying factors that are key in Boko Haram recruitment and membership. This analysis contributes to knowledge about the political and socio-economic preferences of the individuals involved in the group. This policy brief highlights one of the major findings of the study, namely the perception that fi nancial incentives, not religion, are a key motivator for individuals who join Boko Haram.

About the authors

Martin Ewi joined the ISS in July 2010 as a senior researcher. He served as a political affairs offi cer at Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) from 2005 to 2010. Before joining the OPCW, he was in charge of the African Union Commission’s counter-terrorism programme in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He holds a master’s degree in international peace studies from the University of Notre Dame, Southbend, Indiana, USA.

Uyo Salifu is a researcher in the Transnational Threats and International Crime Division of the ISS. Her focus areas are counterterrorism and countering violent extremism in West Africa, witness protection, and children and gender in terrorism.

Development partners
This policy brief 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 also grateful for support the government of the Netherlands, for making this publication possible, and also for the support of 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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