Boko Haram and the Nigerian state
Boko Haram has emerged from a tradition of radical Muslim movements in the north of Nigeria. Their ideas about creating an Islamic state draw, like other groups in the area, on the Caliphate structure that preceded colonial rule.
Boko Haram gives a divided impression of its capacity and several observers point to the fact that there are different groups operating, some more connected to the ideological leadership than others, who may have less spiritual reasons for their attacks.
Boko Haram can be seen as a symptom of a dysfunctional state, indicating a need to transform the state itself. The group may be crushed in a heavy handed strategy, but there would soon emerge new radical Islamist groups unless efforts are made to address the underlying issues.
There is need to reform police and security forces to become credible and functional, but there is also need to have inclusive state services and a strategy for creating conditions for productive lives for people in northern Nigeria.