Boko Haram and its opposition to Nigeria’s ‘westernisation’

Nigeria is a diverse religious society being Islam and Christianity the most professed religions: 50% of the population is Muslin, while Christianity is practised by 48% of the population. Islam dominates the north and so does Boko Haram. Boko Haram was pointed out as a terrorist organisation by USA in 2013 as its ‘insurgency has led to violation of human rights and commission of war crimes by both the insurgents and the government forces.’[1] It advocates a strict form of sharia law, the establishment of an Islamic state in Nigeria, and opposes the ‘westernisation’ of Nigeria, mainly in the Christian south. Actually, according to Farouk Chotia, it ‘is fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state.’[2]  Moreover, Boko Haram kidnapped and killed people who practised un-Islamic actions (non-combatant population) and the government has proved to be ineffective in countering the terrorist insurgency. The state of emergency declared in 2012 which has triggered measures such as closing the borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger, and the militants’ control over the state of Borno (where 234 girls were kidnapped in April 2014) is evidence of Nigeria being at the edge of becoming a failed state, the security apparatus not working properly.

[1] Okoli, Al Chukwuma and Iortyer. Terrorism and Humanitarian Crisis in Nigeria: Insights from Boko Haram Insurgency. Federal University Lafia, Nigeria, 2014. Available in:

[2] Farouk Cothia, Who are Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists?. BBC News, 2014. Available in:

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