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1.1     Background of the Study

The Boko Haram is an Islamic religious sect and a terrorist group in Northern Nigeria that believes that Nigeria is ruled by non-believers, even when Nigeria had a Muslim President. The sect opposes Western education and democracy and uses violence, killings and bombings to achieve its goal of establishing a fully Islamic Nigerian State driven by the ideology of a fanatical Islamic practice. For Boko Haram insurgents, Nigeria should be a fully Islamic state where drinking of alcohol, prostitution, drug dealing, etc. will be forbidden. The Boko Haram sect believes that a secular government is wrong and that anything pertaining to westernization is wrong and against the teachings of Islam. The war against federal government and society is believed to be a holy Jihad by the deadly sect. According to Aghedo (2013), ‘it pursues the Islamisation of Nigeria, notwithstanding the nation’s secularity, and it repudiates democracy and Western education, especially the Darwinian theory of evolution.’ The sect is officially known as Ahlulsu nna wai’jama’ah hijra or “people committed to the propagation of the Prophet’s teachings and Jihad”. The name Boko Haram was given to the group by the residents of Maiduguri in Bornu State where it originated in Nigeria and it literally means ‘Western education is evil’ in the Hausa language. The terrorist group, according to Aghedo (2013), claims to have over 40,000 members in Nigeria and some neighboring African countries, such as the Republics of Chad and Benin, and Niger Republic, as well as in faraway Somalia and Mauritania. The members of this sect include students of tertiary institutions in Bornu, Yobe and Damaturu, Islamic clerics, professionals and some drop-outs, many of whom are unemployed. Some members of the state security agencies, according to Aghedo, are also members of the sect that help the group with training. Members of this terrorist group pay daily levies of One Hundred Naira each which approximated to 400,000 Naira daily to their leaders. The Almajiri system, it is believed, facilitated this mobilization. This daily levy, as Aghedo also notes, provides Boko Haram’s basic source of funding in addition to loot from attacks on banks and donations from politicians, government officials and organizations within Nigeria. It has also been alleged that the sect secures financial support from outside the country. For instance, in 2007 Mohammed Yusuf (The group’s leader) and Mohammed Bello Damagun (a Muslim cleric who supposedly belonged to the ‘Nigerian Taliban’) were arraigned in Abuja Federal High Court for receiving monies from al-Qaeda operatives to recruit and train terrorists in Nigeria. There have also been allegations that two former military Heads of State and an ex-civilian Vice president from the North sponsor the group. The origin of Boko Haram can be traced to the teachings of Maitatsine Mohammed Marwa who also opposed Western education system by the colonial masters when the Sokoto caliphate was conquered in 1903. Mohammed Marwa, who died in 1980 following Maitatsine disturbances, left literatures that give deadly backing to the Boko Haram sect. The Boko Haram group was, however, founded in Nigeria in 2002, in Maiduguri by Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf, a radical Islamic cleric who was killed in controversial circumstances in July 2009 riot by men of the Nigeria Police Force. After his demise, Mallam Sanni Umaru became the acting leader. Since then, according to Zenn and Pearson (2014), several persons have claimed to be the leader of the group at various times. Currently, Mallam Abu-Bakr Shekau is the spiritual head of the sect, while its spokesman is Mallam Abul Qaqa who once boasted thus: We have hundreds that are willing to sacrifice their lives in this crusade. The unfortunate incident of Saturday will not discourage us; if anything it will encourage us to strategize and diversify our techniques because we are not afraid of death.

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