The Rise Of Boko Haram In North Eastern Nigeria

Boko Haram insurgency is currently predominant in the north eastern Nigeria comprising of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe state. There are almost 2.2 million internally displaced persons in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, where Boko Haram remain active. Boko Haram’s origins lie in a group of radical Islamist youth who worshipped at the Alhaji Muhammadu Ndimi Mosque in Maiduguri over 21 years ago.

In 2002, an offshoot of this youth group (not yet known as Boko Haram) declared the city and the Islamic establishment to be intolerably corrupt and irredeemable. The group was headed by Mohammed Yusuf, who later became the founder of Boko Haram. Mohammed Yusuf was a Nigerian Islamic terrorist who founded the Islamist militant group known as Boko Haram in 2002. He was its leader until he was killed during the 2009 Boko Haram uprising. As a young man Mohammed Yusuf was instructed in Shiasm and associated with Salafism and the teachings of IBN Taymiyyah.

Mohammed Yusuf was never proficient in English, he believed in strict application of Islamic law, which represented his ideal of justice according to the teachings of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. In a 2009 BBC interview Mohammed Yusuf and he stated his belief, according to him, the concept of a spherical Earth is contrary to Islamic teaching and should be rejected. He also rejected Darwinian evolution and the concept of the condensation cycle that produces rain.

Mohammed Yusuf had four wives and 12 children. He lived a lavish lifestyle until he was captured by the Nigerian military. Following the July 2009 Boko Haram uprising, the Nigerian military captured Mohammed Yusuf. They transferred him to the custody of the Nigerian police force. The Nigerian police executed Mohammed Yusuf in public view at the police headquarters in Maiduguri the Borno state capital.

After the death of Mohammed Yusuf in 2009, his second in command and deputy, Abubakar Shekau became the leader of Boko Haram. However, Nigerian authorities believed that Abubakar Shekau was killed in 2009 during clashes between security forces and Boko Haram until July 2010, when Abukakar Shekau appeared in a video claiming leadership of the group. It was after he resumes leadership of Boko Haram that the group became deadly and proscribed globally as a terrorist organization.

Since 2009 till date Boko Haram have killed more than 35,000 people, destroyed properties in Nigeria worth billions of dollars, causing more than 2.2 million internally displaced people and making them to become refugees, engaged in suicide bombing, killed so many Nigerian security forces and the joint task force comprising of the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, Civil Defence and some legally recognized security agencies In Nigeria.

Abubakar Shekau has been criticized by human rights advocates for terrorism, bombings, forced conversions and kidnapping. In April 2014, over 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped from a government secondary school in Chibok, a town in Borno State. Some of the girls escaped captivity on their own, while others were later released following intense campaigning efforts by civil society organizations and negotiations by the government while some were married off to Boko Haram members.

On 19th February 2018, Dapchi schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko haram terrorists. The activities of Boko Haram terrorists made the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan very difficult to the extent that even the First Lady of Nigeria Patience Jonathan cried on international television.

In March 2015, Abukakar Shekau pledged allegiance to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. However, in 2016, ISIS Central tried to replace Abubakar Shekau with Abu Musab al-Barnawi as leader of the group, causing a split. Abubakar Shekau’s loyalists were called Boko Haram and al-Barnawi’s loyalists were known as Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP).

In 2016, relationship between Abubakar Shekau and ISIS ended, and in 2021 ISIS launched a major operation against Abubakar Shekau and his Boko Haram members through ISWAP. During the clash, Abukakar Shekau killed himself on 19 May 2021 by detonating a suicide vest during the battle between Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) at Sambisa forest.

Even after the death of Abukakar Shekau, Boko Haram still remain dominant in north eastern Nigeria being it strong hold, killing, kidnapping and causing mayhem in the region. Boko Haram terrorists have also expanded to neighboring countries like Cameroun, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso.

However, it is known to everyone that Nigerian security forces have not been able to defeat Boko Haram terrorists since 2009 when the group became deadly. The Nigerian government needs international support from developed countries to assist them in wiping out Boko Haram terrorists from the surface of this planet.

Austine Ikeru
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