Nigeria has been suffering the scourge of terrorism, extremism, and violence ever since 2009, with Boko Haram sneaking and snowballing into reality driven by extremist ideology ushered in by Al-Qaeda and was later adopted by affiliated terrorist groups. With such chaos coming into play, the Nigerian army had to engage in bloody confrontations with Boko Haram and successfully controlled huge swaths of territory in Nigeria, bringing the entire country into long-running turmoil and violence. To this effect, BOKO HARAM: SECURITY CONSIDERATIONS AND THE RISE OF AN INSURGENCY by Dr. ONA EKHOMU walks the readership through the history of Boko Haram, including goals and countermeasures. The Book falls into three parts: Part One presents the genealogy, pedigree and lineage of Boko Haram, with special foci on the early stages of Boko Haram, the evolution of terrorism in Nigeria, and financing methods. Part Two addresses Boko Haram strategic goals set to target the army, law enforcement agencies, schools, students, infrastructure, and centers for worship. Part Three stakes out the official solutions and measures adopted by the Nigerian government against Boko Haram, with special foci attached to the military solution, negotiations, and the use of international aid to combat the insurgency staged by Boko Haram.
Part One: Genealogy
Mohammed Yusuf, Leader of the “Jama’atu Ahlus-Sunnah Lidda’Awati Wal Jihad —meaning “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad” in Nigeria, spells out that Secularization yoked together with Westernization of education (BOKO) is illegitimate (HARAM) in Islam as translated into the vernacular, which must be criminalized, fought off and eliminated. The Group was rebranded and nicknamed into Boko Haram, which means WESTERN EDUCATION IS FORBIDDEN.
Boko Haram Ideology
Boko Haram stubbornly insists that secularized and westernized education goes against Islam as it makes coeducation mandatory in schools, while introducing CHARLES DARWIN’S THEORY OF EVOLUTION along with other deviant concepts into curricula, deemed taboos in Islam. Boko Haram does not recognize banking transactions, taxes, along with such modern economic and legal practices forbidden by Islam.
To best stave off and steer clear of such taboos in the big cities, Boko Haram has sought to establish a society isolated from the Nigerian reality; Mohammed Yusuf has disallowed his followers to engage in democracy, civil service, and Westernized education. With this mindset put into force, Boko Haram has soon metamorphosed into such a group that has denounced the Nigerian rulers and society, ballooning into an existential threat to Nigeria. Extremist fighters were not a threat to national security when armed conflict first flared up; however, as the authorities poorly managed the conflict, terrorist fighters successfully pulled off many resounding victories over the Nigerian government. By 2014, they managed to control vast swaths of territory inside Nigeria.
The Ibn Taymiyyah Mosque was the headquarters from which Mohammed Yusuf and his militant successor, Abu Bakr Shekau, spearheaded insurgency. Boko haram had three important organs: Cabinet, Shura Council, Hisbah Commission.
US government officials used NIGERIAN TALIBAN to describe Boko Haram in an interview about the small fundamentalist Islamic Group that migrated in October 2003 from Maiduguri to Yobe State, and how the affiliated members were billeted in camps in a small desert village called ZAGI-BIRIRI in local government area in Tarmuwa.
Shekau, Second Leader
As described by the author, Mohammed Yusuf, First Leader of Boko Haram, is a sagacious and resourceful figure who adopts Salafism. Being well-rounded and well-spoken, Yusuf has assumed a high social status enriched by his fluent English. However, Yusuf sowed the seeds of ideological violence in his leadership of the Boko Haram and set the tone for the organizational structure to feed on terrorism. Following his death, Abu Bakr Shekau assumed the leadership of Boko Haram and fled to the Republic of Niger to be safe from the Nigerian authorities.
Shekau was born in the village of Shekau, located in Yobe; he did not receive any formal education even with no rudimentary English. Like other poor children, he moved to Maiduguri in 1970s in search of Islamic Sharia and food. Later, he managed to receive Islamic Sharia by a local teacher.
Imbibed with such a dark and hardline ideology heart and soul, Shekau became a living example of extremism. Driven by his extremist ideology, Shekau moved up the hierarchy and assumed the leadership of Boko Haram, making it ruthlessly more deadly and notoriously terrorist. With a clear-cut, terse, and laconic message, Shekau hurls accusations against the authorities in Abuja and Borno of corruption, insisting that putting Sharia into force would result in a fair government; Shekau had an ambition to apply Sharia throughout Nigeria. With his violent rhetoric, Shekau lured and decoyed many youth who had grown up as beggars into believing that the real enemy was Nigeria’s corrupt elite being directly responsible for their abject poverty and sheer misery.
When zooming in on the military conflict staged between the government and Boko Haram, the author insists that the Nigerian authorities passed up a favorable opportunity to ease Shekau out of Boko Haram. In July 2009, the authorities heroically arrested Yusuf in Borno, who he was later killed, while Shekau was shot in the leg but managed to escape.
Record of Violence
Mixed reports and accounts are narrated about the source of the first terrorist attacks launched in Nigeria; some researchers believe that the attackers were staged by the Yobe Taliban Sect. while others accused the YUSUFIYA Sect (followers of Mohammed Yusuf). The author stakes out that the first attack on the PAN-SHEKARA Police Station is a direct act of terrorism by Shekau. The YUSUFIYA Sect (later Boko Haram) has become at the time one of the few armed groups that favored using violence and had the practical ability to carry out large-scale attacks supported by ammunition, organized fighters, and ubiquitous presence. The author attributes such unawareness of the evolution of terrorism there to the lack of intelligence information available to the Nigerian authorities at the time.
Although Nigeria enjoyed relative political stability in 2000, the political threats facing Nigeria remained unsettled. Many separatist movements, such as the Niger Delta Militants, OODUA PEOPLE’S CONGRESS (OPC), and terrorist fighters were looking for a foothold. In 2008, Boko Haram snowballed into reality as a violent extremist religious fundamentalist group, but the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) brushed it aside, considering it as a less serious threat to the security of Nigeria.
Question marks hover over the financers of Boko Haram in Nigeria; convincing answers have not yet been unambiguously provided. Boko Haram did not have significant financial resources or a clear permanent source of income. Therefore, everyone is almost curious about the source of the explosive devices, bullets, anti-aircraft guns, machine guns, and other expensive munitions of war that Boko Haram stashes away. More so, a sense of intense curiosity is piqued about how much fund Boko Haram pays to the families of the suicide bombers and bears the expenses of producing video propaganda clips to gain the sympathy of the grassroots to decoy new members into involvement. The author lists down four modalities of terrorism financing in Africa:
- Financing by trade and lucrative activities.
- Financing by NGOs, charities, and donations.
- Financing by smuggling weapons, assets and currencies.
- Financing through drug smuggling and trafficking.
Other notorious financing sources include kidnapping for ransom. For instance, in April 2013, Boko Haram received a ransom of $3.15 million from the United States, mediated by France and Cameroon to free a French family of seven members kidnapped in northern Cameroon. In addition to $3.15 million, Boko Haram released some affiliated members detained in Cameroon. Shekau, who personally handled the negotiations, insisted that the ransom offered was almost a pittance; to make it up, some of his arrested men had to be released to complete the deal fair and square.
Part Two: Strategic Objectives
Boko Haram has key explicit strategic goals, including:
Targeting Army and Police
Boko Haram made it a number-one priority to target the army, security and police forces – both individuals and groups – and their terrorist acts have claimed many victims.
In 2015, the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) ranked Boko Haram as the deadliest terrorist organization globally. Boko Haram perpetrated more brutal and savage acts than ISIS did as reported by GTI; Boko Haram killed 6,644 people in 2014, which makes up an increase of 317% vis-à-vis 2013. In contrast, ISIS was responsible for 6,073 deaths in 2014.
Boko Haram seemed adept at targeting entities. In 2009, Boko Haram terrorists successfully liberated 150 inmates, who later joined Boko Haram and fought the government and people of Nigeria. Boko Haram second attack occurred in 2010 on Bauchi Prison, freeing 759 inmates, including leading fighters. The attack resulted in the killing of a soldier, a policeman, two prison guards and one civilian, and six people were injured.
Targeting Military Bases
Boko Haram targets the Nigerian army as a chief enemy. In 2009, the army destroyed the IBN TAYMIYYAH Mosque, which was affiliated with Boko Haram, and killed many Boko Haram affiliates. It arrested Boko Haram Leader and many affiliates were killed. It also arrested Mohammed Yusuf, handed him over to the police authorities, and was eventually killed in mysterious extrajudicial circumstances. When Boko Haram renewed its attacks in 2010 and carried out many criminal bombings, the federal government believed that the killings, sabotage, and vandalism were criminal indiscriminate acts, and did not see such acts as a serious security threat. Only when Boko Haram bombed the police station along with the UN Headquarters in August 2011 did the government of Nigeria realize that it was facing a notorious and stubborn terrorist enemy.
following a protracted struggle with Boko Haram, the Nigerian authorities successfully won the battle, recovering all the buildings that had been once taken over by the terrorists. Today, the Boko Haram flag does not fly over any Nigerian territory. As is the case in all conflicts, the cost of victory was too costly, and the Nigerian forces paid a heavy price in many battles; for instance, Boko Haram shot down a warplane, arrested the pilot, beheaded him, and streamed live a video clip of the execution online.
Targeting Schools and Students
If Westernized and Secularized education is forbidden as deemed by Boko Haram, what must be done is to eradicate its roots and fight off associated institutions. Therefore, such schools, students and teachers were targets for extremists. In the early stages of the conflict, Shekau pledged to avoid targeting school students, but in 2012 Shekau justified the attacks on primary and secondary schools, claiming that government security forces were Christianizing Muslim children in such schools.
In many cases, Boko Haram rebels killed, burned, kidnapped and raped school students. In 2014, 276 schoolgirls from the Governmental Girls’ High School in Borno State were kidnapped. The most heinous attack was the mass burning of the corpses of school students.
Kidnapping Chibok Girls
Primary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education exist abundantly throughout the conflict zones, making them easy and effective targets to cause panic among the citizens and tarnish the image of the Nigerian government being helpless to protect its citizens. That is why schools were the most targeted entities by Boko Haram. Most of the schools had no alarm systems, no CCTV cameras, no door locks, and no fences. Such schools were built in areas where security and peace prevailed. Shekau claimed that Boko Haram targets schools in retaliation for the federal government’s arrests of Muslim children from some Islamic schools, but such claims are unfounded.
In April 2014, while the girls were preparing for their examination, Boko Haram terrorists in combat uniform brought several military trucks to the school, told the girl students that a terrorist attack was imminent, and that they had come to evacuate them to safety; 219 girl students were carried on board the trucks, and they ended up kidnapped into the Boko Haram camps. Two weeks later, the international media splashed the mass kidnapping across the news headlines. Agitated, people took to the streets to protest in Nigeria and abroad; Mrs. Michelle Obama, Wife of former US president, carried a poster featuring Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG), to globalize the issue.
The problem of school security in Nigeria has always been the inadequacy of preventive measures to fend off terrorist attacks. Boko Haram capitalized on such vulnerabilities to intimidate parents and citizens; many schools were bombed and burned down, and many students were despicably attacked. Such attacks spread panic, and many students and parents felt insecure in the northern states. The authorities often ordered the closure of schools for fear of possible attacks by Boko Haram.
Nigerian authorities have reinforced school security in the conflict zone to mitigate the risk of attacks. Following the mass kidnapping of schoolgirls in the city of Dapchi in February 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the police, Nigerian security officials and the Civil Defense Corps to constantly protect schools.
Boko Haram has targeted infrastructure; it sought to wreak havoc to many central headquarters, such as the UN Headquarters, princes’ palaces, government infrastructures, communications facilities, and power stations.
The suicide bombing of the UN Headquarters in Abuja was the most notorious attack globally, showcasing the savagery, brutality and barbarism of Boko Haram aimed at sabotage and vandalism; it claimed the deaths of 23 victims, including an official in the Federal Ministry of Health, and 68 injuries. It caused great damage to the lower floors; one suite totally collapsed, and the ground floor was badly damaged. It was the first suicide act in Nigeria targeting an international organization; it sparked outrage around the world as condemned by President Barack Obama and the then Secretary-General of the UN.
Boko Haram recruited suicide terrorists everywhere in Nigeria, using females (some as young as 10) to carry out suicide attacks. The UN has received threats from Boko Haram and other groups because if it operations in Nigeria. Such threats were seriously discussed with Nigerian officials, but no explicit action was taken to protect victims, who included cleaners, security guards, UN humanitarian partners, and others.
Targeting Places of Worship
Muslim and Christian Nigerians are religious people who refuse to be underestimated in their faith. That is why Boko Haram made all-out efforts to exploit the religious identity and spread discontent with the government and the authority on a national scale among Muslim children, hoping that this discontent would spark a religious civil war.
Boko Harm targeted churches and mosques in a barbaric fashion. For instance, the bombing of the Kano Central Mosque in 2014 claimed the lives of more than two hundred Muslims, and the attack on the Central Kano Mosque killed more than fifty Muslim worshipers.
It is really difficult to understand how some people are convinced of the legitimacy of blowing themselves up in public places, especially places of worship, to kill believers! To understand the sick minded people of hijacked mindset, we must understand the extremist ideology of Boko Haram. Under Mohammed Yusuf, Boko Haram First Leader, Boko Haram’s main objective was to establish strict Islamic law in Borno State. Later, Jihad has become the explicit philosophy of Boko Haram when Shekau demanded that Sharia be enforced across Nigeria strictly, albeit violently.
Boko Haram insisted that it engaged in a holy war against infidelity and tyranny, and against all Muslims who did not join it or support its faith. It capitalized on the Daesh-triggered and kamikaze-mission ideology which stakes out: suicide bombers or kamikaze attackers are fast-tracked to paradise which is assured through high-position martyrdom.
Boko Haram has carried out a raft of horrific terrorist attacks on mosques, but it carried out more vicious attacks on Christian. It capitalized on some spurious and baseless allegations, including the following:
- Churches as westernization centers: Boko Haram extremely hates the West; it believes that attacking churches would undermine the mainstay of the hegemonic westernized civilization and would open the way for Islamic education and legislation to spread.
- Fighting Christianization: Boko Haram targets churches as a direct enemy given the Christianization and Evangelization campaigns among Muslims; many churches operate as large missionary institutions in Nigeria by providing community services such as free medical clinics, and facilities for distributing food and clothing.
- Ease of targeting churches: most churches are located in open public spaces, which are easy targets for anyone.
That is why one of Boko Haram’s declared goals was to purify northern Nigeria from Christianity drummed up for by evangelists and establish a purely Muslim society. Ironically, northern Nigeria has millions of indigenous Christian population, just as southern Nigeria has millions of indigenous Muslim population. This fact makes Boko Haram’s goal unattainable; only through ethnic cleansing or forced displacement of Christians from the north. Since 2015, the number of successful attacks on churches has decreased given the increased security awareness of the clergy and church members to take the necessary precautions.
At the outset, Boko Haram questioned the basic beliefs of Nigerian Islam, rejected the rule of the Sultan of Sokoto State, attempted to assassinate the late Emir of Kano, HRH Alhaji Ado Bayero, and made death threats against the current Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. It even attempted to assassinate the head of state, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retired), but the attempt was foiled.
Boko Haram targeted princes, retired military leaders, political office seniors, district chiefs (locally called kings in Nigeria), clergy, journalists, and specialists (academics). Even the author has received death-threatening calls from people claiming to be the Boko Haram insurgents. Boko Haram assassinated many politicians, leaders, and moderate clerics; Boko Haram fighters targeted five princes and killed Emir of GWOZA, ALHAJI IDRISSA TIMTA.
Bitter years after conflict between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram, the terrorists no longer control large swaths of territory in northern Nigeria; it has resorted to guerrilla tactics. Although such disruptive effects may be significant sometimes, they remain limited. The author insists that political elites and corporate executives visiting the Northeast should make detailed risk assessments to prevent, reduce or enervate the immediate threat of Boko Haram. Officials must realize that direct assassinations of statesmen are still part of Boko Haram’s threats.
Part Three: Counterterrorism
The response to terrorism in Nigeria was manifested in several modalities including the following:
Understanding the serious threat of terrorism in Nigeria and West Africa is very important to put in place policies, plans and measures to counter such threats of extremist groups and insurgencies. The author considers counterterrorism from a purely security vision, without resorting to political or religious analyses; telling indications reveal the growth of the threat of terrorism in Nigeria since 2009, but the authorities did not wise up to the threat; Boko Haram had taken control over large swaths of territory, wreaking havoc.
At the outset, the federal government watered down and underestimated the real threat of Boko Haram, leaving it to the local police alone, which caused the killing of many policemen and the assassination of Christian clergy, priests, and Muslims, while attacking some churches and mosques. Prison break was also aided by Boko Haram. Unfortunately, the government at the time did not have political analysts or a strong intelligence service. That is why the government brushed aside the major threat, and the President issued reassuring statements after each mass killing and promised that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.
Over the course of time, the military option ensured the successive victories of the Nigerian army, tightening the noose around the terrorists, and establishing security in many areas that Boko Haram had previously controlled. However, the poor skills and tactics of the army and policemen caused colossal blunders across such institutions; when the army arrested Mohammed Yusuf, Leader of Boko Haram, questioned him in a recorded session, and handed him over to the police, unknown individuals killed him before he was brought to court! Also, about 700 Boko Haram members who were held in police stations were killed without trial.
After the Shekau retreated from the pledge bayat (allegiance) to ISIS, the group split into two main factions: the Abu Bakr Shekau action and Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP) faction. While Shekau continued to attack civilian and military targets in central and southern Borno, and northern Adamawa state, the other faction took control of northern Borno, Yobe, and based itself on the Lake Chad region. Still, the world views the two factions as Boko Haram.
When Boko Haram declared war on Nigeria; it was better armed than the Nigerian army, which lacked new advanced weapons, and the Nigerian forces were forced to fight with expired bullets and malfunctioning weapons, reducing them defenseless!
The new US Administration under former President Trump was more cooperative. In April 2017, former President Trump promised to sell $600 million worth of combat aircraft to Nigeria, which it received in 2020. Armed with state-of-the-art equipment and experienced leadership, the Nigerian forces recaptured all the local states, while the insurgents returned to guerrilla warfare. However, the threat of Boko Haram still exists in the north-east, and military specialists and planners need to work out new ways to address such threats. The army will hopefully increase its intelligence capabilities to be better able to counter Boko Haram guerrilla methods and be ready and equipped to address any terrorist threats in the future.
The Nigerian government has shown a pattern of behavior in conflict management; it faces any major crisis by deterrent force, which usually quells conflicts temporarily, seeking to cushion down the turbulence by establishing a formal judicial investigation committee!
The state has also adopted various methodological experiences in conflict resolution, including negotiations, amnesty and reconciliation programs. Negotiations and amnesty were used for the first time following the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970), when the federal military government led by General Yakubu Gowon announced the neither-victor-nor-defeated program, and it was skillfully used by President Umar Musa Yar’Adua in 2009 to end the armed insurgency in the Niger Delta, which has paralyzed and delayed oil exploration for a time. Oil production was the mainstay of the economy, with government revenues accounting for 90% of foreign currency earnings.
Negotiations with Boko Haram were fraught with danger, as President Goodluck Jonathan was the first to have opposed them. Jonathan’s Administration made great efforts to bring about peace but in vain; Abu Bakr Shekau never thought of retreat, repentance, contrition, and compunction.
Several observers spell out the federal government has repeatedly acted as if it were mandated with appeasing the insurgents. The author insists that a peace program be established to provide support for negotiations and programs for peace and tolerance; negotiating without a clear peace plan will not prevent an easy slide into violence in the future.
Shekau predicted that the government would negotiate with Boko Haram, but he was reluctant to do so; the authorities really sought to start making calls for dialogue and negotiation to his senior aides and fighters, attempting to somehow isolate and capture Shekau alive or kill him. For instance, in October 2018, the leader of the Mamman Nur faction of Boko Haram, one of Shekau’s masterminds, was about to surrender to the federal government with 300 of his fighters. Boko Haram leaders arrested and executed him as a scapegoat instrumentalized to intimidate anyone toying with surrendering or submitting to the government authorities.
Internationalization of Conflict and International Aid
The real armed violence of Boko Haram began in 2009, and the confrontation was direct between the Nigerian army and the Boko Haram fighters.
Following the killing of Mohammed Yusuf, government security officials failed to understand the reality of Boko Haram; his successor, Abu Bakr Shekau, was still alive, and that the Boko Haram ideology is based on extremism and hate. It has snowballed out of Nigeria’s borders into Niger, Chad, Cameroon and neighboring countries. As such, Shekau fled to the Republic of Niger after the defeat of Boko Haram, escaping from the military police. Although the conflict with Boko Haram was initially regional rather than national, the Nigerian intelligence analysts have ignored Boko Haram cross-border capability.
In April 2010, Shekau published a video claiming himself as the new leader of the combat group, pledging to avenge the killing of Mohammed Yusuf and other associated members. Regardless of the geographic location of terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin region that links four countries, the Boko Haram operations have provided other early indications that it sought an international character to the conflict.
- On May 12, 2011, the British citizen Chris McManus and the Italian Franco Lamolinara were kidnapped in the state of Kebbi, by the Ansaru group. McManus was later killed by his captors in Sokoto during a failed rescue attempt by the British Special Boat Service, the Department of Government Services and the Nigerian Army.
- On August 26, 2011, the headquarters of the United Nations was attacked, claiming the lives of 23 victims, and injuring more than a hundred people.
- In January 2012, German engineer Edgar Fritz Raubach was kidnapped in Kano, by supporters of Boko Haram, and later killed in May.
- On June 21, 2012, the US State Department placed the leader of Boko Haram, Abu Bakr Shekau, Adam Kambara, and Khaled Al-Barnawi, the leader of the Ansar group, on the black list of terrorism.
In the early stages of the conflict between 2009 and 2011, the problem was a local matter, and the national forces were in charge of deterring extremists, but the attack on the United Nations headquarters changed the equation. The bombs used were not homemade, the target chosen, the weapon used, the way munitions were delivered to the target, and the group’s declaration that it deliberately targeted humanitarian workers, all showed that the conflict was a cross-border war.
The US government and other Western countries refused to view Boko Haram terrorism as an internal Nigerian issue. The US intelligence saw Boko Haram as an international threat that can carry out sophisticated lethal attacks outside Nigeria Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.
President Muhammadu Buhari was more open to international military and humanitarian assistance when he took up office by visiting Niger’s neighbors to create solid alliances to counter extremist insurgents and terrorist fighters. Neighbors joined the campaign with the support of the French government, and the military campaign went well in the interest of Nigeria and its allies, until Boko Haram was relatively eliminated.
In addition to military assistance, another aspect of international assistance provided by the United States is the 24-hour satellite radio and TV channel in northern Nigeria to counter extremist militancy. The cost of financing the TV channel by the US Counter-Terrorism Office was about $6 million.
Military and Intelligence Training
In December 2014, the Nigerian government ended the ongoing training of Nigerian military personnel under the US Counter-Terrorism Assistance Program in Nigeria. About 600 Nigerian soldiers benefited from the counterinsurgency training before it was discontinued. Nigerian military spokesman, Major-General Chris Olukolade made it clear that it was a worthwhile strategic business.
In September 2016, a team of FBI crime-scene trainers led by Michael Trubenback conducted training for Nigerian bomb investigators from the Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force, and National Armed Forces Bureau. This training was one of the plans to help them investigate the post-explosive scene, devise improvised explosive devices, collect evidence, and other important matters.
The author acknowledges the heroism and sacrifices made by the security forces, and urges the political elite to avoid politicization, psychological deterrence, and the false narratives that led to the emergence of Boko Haram before. To realize counterterrorism, the Nigerian government must establish a modern and robust intelligence infrastructure, which enables security officials to learn about terrorist plots before executed. The inability of the Nigerian intelligence to penetrate Boko Haram was glaringly marked before; collecting useful information for the army was only realized at the beginning of 2015.
The authorities sought to differentiate between leaders and ideologues who shed Nigerian blood and fighters and followers who joined Boko Haram under duress, brainwash, and temptation. While severe penalties were carried out on the first party, members of the second party were pardoned.
The current Nigerian government initiated a program of reconciliation and ideological considerations with the Boko Haram fighters in prisons, and those who demonstrated their sincere intentions to abandon extremist ideologies and their sincere will for peaceful reintegration into society were released. The author points out that such programs should apply equally to inmates and families and youth in areas sympathetic to the Boko Haram ideology. The incubator structure of terrorism exists, and corruption, oppression, poverty and other societal diseases that Boko Haram claimed to be fighting for their salvation remain. The author emphasizes that the injustice in many areas has led people to become discontent with the state and sympathize with Boko Haram and with all those who fight the state, which facilitated recruitment.
Education and Enlightenment
Perhaps one of the most important counterterrorism methods is the government investment in the education and enlightenment of Nigerian children and youth. Suicide boys and young men who joined Boko Haram showed that they were uneducated, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that Nigeria has the largest number of children who have not received any education in the world, especially the children of the northeastern Muslim region controlled by Boko Haram.
Extremism remains a labyrinth that involves indoctrination, sectarianism, suicide terrorism, and insurgency against the status quo. Akin to ISIS, Boko Haram does not fight to build society; rather to destroy everything and make its extremist ideology and use of violence a means to achieve its goals and objectives. Terrorism, before it mushroomed as an ideological problem, is a complex social phenomenon. This explains why Nigeria has failed at the outset; the Nigerian government preferred a military solution, ignoring other solutions to the crisis, which are undoubtedly more successful and efficient.