Fragility of the Nigerian State and the Challenge of Boko Haram Violence

Alabi Usman & Salihu Bashir


The state as a part of the socio-political system is expected to maintain the stability of the system and facilitate the delivery of public goods in the best interest of the populace. When the state fails in its responsibilities to effectively cater for the needs of the people or, when it fails in its socio-economic responsibility to the people, it is automatically calling for alternative to itself.  The abysmal failure of successive administrations in Nigeria to address the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequitable distribution of wealth among ethnic nationalities, ultimately resulted to anger, agitation and violent crimes against the Nigerian state by some individuals and group. Boko Haram violence has exposed the fragility of the Nigerian state. The deadly Islamic group in Northern Nigeria which has embarked on suicide bombing, guerrilla warfare tactics, kidnapping, and all kinds of atrocities all in the bid to impose extreme Islamic ideas on Nigeria has led to the loss of several lives and properties, displaced many, destroyed hundreds of schools and government buildings and devastated an already ravaged economy in the North East, one of Nigeria’s poorest regions. This paper emphasized the centrality of the state in the Boko Haram violence; it explains that the fragile character of the Nigerian state is responsible for the Boko Haram violence. It also explored the integrity as well as the efficacy of the state response to Boko Haram violence, as well as a critical look at the character and context of the Nigerian state. It adopts the qualitative methodology and deploys data from secondary sources. This paper however concludes that even if the state defeats Boko Haram terrorists, it might not be an end to the resistance against it. The reason is that the structures and Institutions of the Nigerian state are designed in a way that gives room for dissent and anti state struggles, and until that context of fragility is addressed, even if Boko Haram violence is quelled, another is likely to arise.

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