Accepted paper:

Nigerian Muslims' Perceptions of Military intervention in the War against Boko Haram

Authors:

Ibrahim Haruna Hassan (University of Jos)

Paper short abstract:

This is an ethnographic study of Nigerian Muslims’ perceptions of military intervention in the war against Boko Haram aimed at informing strategies for counter-radicalization and building public trust in government. Reference to conspiracy theory is general with some mention of Western imperialism.

Paper long abstract:

The 1991 Iraq-Kuwait conflict stirred northern Nigerian Muslims' polemics against one another and against the West. When the Nigerian military appeared incapable of handling the war against Boko Haram and foreign military intervention appeared inevitable the opinions coalesced into Christian conspiracy theories. Some opinions were as adverse as that the fight against the home grown terrorists is a consolidation of Western imperialism. While high scale misappropriation of military funds are widely reported, personal losses and harm among the popular classes sometimes occasioned by bribery demands by the lower cadre of the security forces are under reported. Both exacerbating grievances against a state that ignores public livelihood needs.Understanding people's perceptions of military intervention inform strategies for counter-radicalization and building public trust in law enforcement and eventually in government. This study employs ethnography to provide insight into Nigerian Muslims' perceptions of military intervention in the war against Boko Haram. The findings suggest that though military intervention is inevitable foreign (especially Western) intervention should be as minimally visible as possible while 'soft' approaches to counter radicalism should be pursued more vigorously.

panel P050
A bottom-up perspective on military intervention in fragile states