Boko Haram: Diverging Approaches to Fighting Insurgency

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Justin D. Leach


This essay argues that Nigeria's continued democratization is crucial to limiting the appeal of and damage caused by insurgencies such as the Islamist movement commonly known as Boko Haram. The popularity of insurgent groups can be mitigated with an emphasis on good governance measures, particularly those emphasizing local and national government transparency, emphasis on development and education, and strong links with civil society and the public (especially with regard to police and military operations).

In achieving the above, the essay analyzes and dissects two key ongoing processes in Nigeria that have sometimes been conflated with each other; namely, the change of presidential administrations in 2015 and the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency based in the country's northeast. It seeks to establish that while the current Buhari administration has launched several relevant successes in fighting the group, some of the key factors allowing for a more successful push against the insurgency in 2015-16 were underway even before the change of administration, in a large part due to pressure from regional and international actors and internal fracturing within the group, itself partly a result of this regional coalition's success. The recent rising of instability again in the Niger Delta demonstrates that dramatic political promises and their implementation may still not be touching on Nigeria's underlying security concerns.

Boko Haram, Insurgency, Corruption
Published: Sep 14, 2016

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How to Cite
Leach, J. D. (2016). Boko Haram: Diverging Approaches to Fighting Insurgency. Journal of Politics and Democratization, 1(2). Retrieved from