Boko Haram Insurgency and the Widening of Cleavages in Nigeria

Azeez Olaniyan, Lucky Asuelime

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The Boko Haram terrorist group's philosophy and activities have been subjected to different interpretations among the Nigerian populace. Such interpretations follow traditional lines of ethnic, regional, cultural, and religious cleavages in Nigeria. Some perceive it as war by Muslims against Christians, some as a sponsored conspiracy against the Muslim North, and others interpret it as the Northern war against the emergence of President Jonathan from the south-south geopolitical zone. A few regard it as a generic name for criminal gangs in Northern Nigeria. While overwhelming opinions in the south tilt toward a scorched-earth policy to counter Boko Haram, much of the north favors dialogue. One of the implications of these responses is the widening of already existing cleavages in Nigerian society, thereby further undermining efforts at building unity and coexistence among Nigeria's varying nationalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-109
Number of pages19
JournalAfrican Security
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Boko Haram
  • Christians
  • Muslims
  • Nigeria
  • cleavages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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