chapter  5
18 Pages

Construction of a caliphate

WithZacharias P. Pieri

This chapter explains how Boko Haram came to occupy large swaths of land, threatening the stability of Nigeria and wider security of West Africa. It draws on primary sources and emerging research on the topic to argue that a catalyst for the formal occupation by Boko Haram of land in northeastern Nigeria was linked to the reintegration of a Boko Haram splinter group – Ansaru – into the fold of the movement. The chapter discusses the Boko Haram’s drive to create a pure Islamic order with the wider and largely failed push for the expansion of Islamic law in northern Nigeria, implemented in part in 1999. In August 2014, Abubakar Shekau triumphantly declared the establishment of an ‘Islamic state’ in the parts of northeastern Nigeria that were under the control of Boko Haram, in effect creating what the group perceived as a caliphate.