chapter  3
20 Pages

The prelude to violence

WithZacharias P. Pieri

This chapter investigates corruption as a driving factor in Boko Haram formation, mobilization, and ultimate shift to violence. It argues that the high level of corruption evidenced in the Nigerian state has been in contributing to the success of Boko Haram, particularly in its formative period. The chapter describes the issue of corruption within Nigeria, arguing that decades of plundering of the nation’s wealth, economic mismanagement, and failure to integrate Nigeria in to a cohesive whole created a situation in which movements such as Boko Haram were able to emerge. It outlines the foundation of Boko Haram, how Yusuf and other leaders were able to seize on the issue of corruption to challenge the Nigerian state in a way that chimed with local populations in the northeast of the country. The decent into violence came amid increased tensions in Borno State as fears started to mount over the capacity of Boko Haram to act in violent ways.