Causal analysis of radical Islamism in Northern Nigeria's fourth republic

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Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, South Africa and Routledge, Francis & Taylor, London, United Kingdom


This article attempts an agential explanation of the raison d’eˆ tre for Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal Jihad, also known as Boko Haram (meaning Western education is forbidden), an Islamist sect that came to public consciousness in 2009 after the extra-judicial killing of its leader. Conceptualising Nigeria as a weak state, the article identifies the failed prebendal relationship between politicians in northern Nigeria and members of Boko Haram, and the extra-judicial killing on 30 July 2009 of Mohammed Yusuf, as agential causations of the current wave of radical Islamism. The article argues for the need to transcend the orthodox interpretation of the current wave of Islamist terrorism being demonstrated by the Nigerian state to a more nuanced approach that pays attention to the essentialist, psychological, political and economic perspectives of Islamist terrorism at the structural and individual levels.



Sharia, Boko Haram, Fourth Republic, Islamism


Africa Security Review