In the past twelve years, northeastern Nigeria has seen one of the most destructive jihadist uprisings in the world. Up to 350,000 people have died and about five million have been displaced as a result of the conflict between insurgents commonly known as Boko Haram and the Nigerian state.
While parts of the neighboring countries Niger, Chad and Cameroon are affected by the uprisings, it is primarily a conflict in Nigeria. Boko Haram emerged almost two decades ago as a result of the widespread grievances, social divisions and institutional dysfunctions that shaped the north of the country, particularly the northeastern state of Borno, during the first decade of Nigeria’s democratic rule. Today the uprising continues because Nigeria’s divisions and institutional flaws persist, and because much of Nigeria’s political elite seem to believe that leaving the Northeast to indefinite conflict is an acceptable price to avoid structural and cultural changes that are theirs Would jeopardize interests. Nigerians of the northeast suffer from the paradox of peripheral uprisings: the uprising is strong enough to cause immense destruction and suffering in a region, but not strong enough to threaten the existence of the political core and thus spur the elites to act.
Read more at the Hoover Institution