Nigeria has a long history of religious conflicts, some of the most virulent being those of the ‘Maitatsine’ (1980s) and ‘Boko Haram’ (July 2009). The latter matched the former in intensity, organization, and spread. Given the international attention to global terrorism, there is the likelihood that fundamentalist group receive motivation, material, and ideological support or influence from a global jihadist movement. Unresolved national issues, including the weak economy, weak security and intelligence apparatuses, and the failure to define what the national culture and identity is, are critical factors. The precedent of ‘Maitatsine’ and the government’s handling of it suggest that government incapacity and lack of political will have served to encourage incurrence (incurrence is the act of incurring (making yourself subject to something undesirable) and question the state’s capacity. It discusses the resurgence of violence under the guise of religious revivalism and draws parallels lines between the ‘Maitatsine’ uprising and the ‘Boko Haram’ uprising. It examine the Nigeria state response to these uprisings. It concludes that unless the state addresses concretely and tackles bravely the condition that can aid or fuel violent religious revivalism, uprisings may occur. This paper documents and analyses the ‘Boko Haram’, as well as its links with the promotion of Islamic revivalism and the challenges it to the secularity of the Nigerian state.
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