Islamic radicalisation and violent extremism in Nigeria

Abiodun Alao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the issues underlining Islamic radicalisation and violence in Nigeria, a phenomenon whose latest manifestation through the activities of the Jamā'atu Ahlis Sunnah Lādda'awatih wal-Jihad (widely known as Boko Haram), has attracted considerable concern. It traces the evolution of the phenomenon and identifies the key issues that have explained its pattern of expression. The paper advances three main arguments: first, that Islamic radicalisation and its link to violence in Nigeria is, contrary to the often-held opinion, a phenomenon that transcends socio-economic deprivation and the mutual suspicion that underlines inter-group relations in the country, but also extends to a string of external considerations that intertwine with religion and identity in Nigeria; second, that there are aspects of the country's historical past, including the link with colonialism, that explain aspects of Islamic radicalisation and violence; and third, that greater clarity will come into the understanding of the Boko Haram phenomenon when considered against the background of the country's radicalisation history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-147
Number of pages21
JournalConflict, Security and Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Islamic radicalisation and violent extremism in Nigeria'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this