Boko Haram: A Springfield Professor Speaks on How to “Tame the Monster”
The presence of Boko Haram in Nigeria and surrounding countries may seem fairly new to Westerners, but the group’s founding dates back to 2002. An MSU history professor will lead a discussion Thursday entitled Boko Haram: Taming the Monster.
Dr. Bukola Oyeniyi said he is not proud to conduct research on his home country in regard to Boko Haram. However, his findings reveal two objectives of the militant group: economic empowerment of Nigerians and increasing government attention to northern Nigerians.
To understand the history, Oyeniyi said you must recognize the religious influence of politics in that part of the world.
“Prior to this time there was a wave of religious fundamentalism that was going on in Nigeria and essentially in the whole of Africa, not Nigeria alone. A large number of Nigerians could not understand the relationship between the corruption in government and the same people playing a substantial role in religion,” Oyeniyi said.
At the forum on Thursday, Oyeniyi plans to discuss the inattentiveness given to acts of violence happening in African countries such as Nigeria.
“You have a situation where by in Nigeria Boko Haram killed more than 3,000 people. At the same time, almost the same day 12 people were killed by a group of Muslims in Paris and no one heard anything about 3,000. But, the case of 12 people made headlines. We can only pretend. African lives also matter.”
Oyeniyi said if you kill every member of a terrorist organization such as Boko Haram another group will arise because the underlying issues have yet to be addressed.
“If you want to actually fight terrorism not just in Africa, globally, you have to adopt a new attitude, including Nigeria. You have a situation where by we chase symptoms leaving the ailment to fester. What are the fundamental things bringing about these groups? What are the key issues underlying the coming up of groups with these kinds of tendencies? We are not addressing them. We are only chasing after the groups. Not until we face the core issues these problems will continue.”
Oyeniyi said Nigeria’s economic crisis and unemployment rate has left people with little or no opportunity for survival. These are the underlying issues Oyeniyi said needs to be addressed before a change will occur in Nigeria.
Oyeniyi will discuss the history and objectives of Boko Haram in more detail in Strong Hall Room 301 from 12:30- 1:45 p.m. Thursday. The event is free and open to the public.