The sheer devastation inflicted by Boko Haram’s deadly terror campaign has certainly merited its consideration as one of the most prominent contemporary terrorist organizations. In the last few years the threat posed by the group has escalated far beyond the control of the Nigerian government, and the state’s northern expanses have practically become lawless. In response to the escalation of the organization a Multinational Joint Taskforce has been formed to initiate a more militaristic counterterrorism strategy in the country. But one of the greatest factors that has led to the inefficacy of previous counterterrorism strategies in Nigeria has been the absolute lack of consensus on the nature of the motivations inspiring Boko Haram’s use of this horrific tactic. Some scholars have posited that Boko Haram is merely a product of fanatic Islamic beliefs, but others have contested that the political grievances that are rampant within the Nigerian bear more salience in explaining why Boko Haram has resorted to the use of terrorism. Through a theory testing process tracing analysis this study seeks to determine whether the underlying motivations of Boko Haram are religious or political.


Marsh, Kevin


Political Science


African Studies | Defense and Security Studies | International Relations | Peace and Conflict Studies


Boko Haram, Religious Terrorism, Political Terrorism, Boko Haram Motivations

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Kyle Conklin