ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM AND RELIGIOUS CONFLICTS IN NIGERIA: REFLECTIONS ON THE BOKO HARAM INSURGENCE
The paper examines the nature, operations and driving force behind the Boko Haram insurgence in Nigeria. It argues that while portending Islamic fundamentalist credentials, Boko Haram is also representative of the socio-economic aspirations of most ordinary citizens in the Northeast of Nigeria who are excluded from the socio-economic spheres in modern Nigeria. Boko Haram posits both the irrelevance and decadence of the state and the need for its violent overthrow and establishment of pure Islamic society. It argues that even though Boko Haram cannot be fully explained by socio-economic factors, extant structural and socio-economic conditions in the Northeast produce many frustrated and deprived young people who feed into the fundamentalist aspirations of Boko Haram. Thus, the coincidence between socio-economic conditions in the Northeast which compares unfavorably with other zones in Nigeria; the structural deficiencies of the state and a long history of Islamic fundamentalism creates the conducive atmosphere for violent extremism represented by Boko Haram.
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