Democracy And Islamic Sect – Boko Haram In Nigeria


Literature review is all about reviewing the works written by other authorities about the subject matter. This being the case, the researcher defines democracy as follows: –

Democracy in a strict and restricted sense, means a system of government in which supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them rather than by their elected representatives (Asiegbu, ND et al 2002). Democracy can also mean equality before the law. It is the system of government where the will of the people to a large extent determines the type of government that is in operation in a given country (10A Adelola, 1982: 76).

Also, democracy can be defined as a system of government in which all qualified adult citizens share the supreme power directly or through their elected representatives (J.U. Anayele, 1991: 9). A school of thought defined democracy as a system of government based on a popular consent. The term democracy has in another occasion been described as government by consent of the governed “ie government with the approval of the people being governed (J.U. Anayele, 1994 Revised edition).

Moreso, Democracy is a form of government in which citizens elect representative who will govern on their behalf and according to the wish of the majority (New Approach to government by Nwosu et al). Democracy means a governmental system which is based on popular election and representative (Michael Olisah et al, govt. for senior secondary school). Also, democracy is defined as government in accordance with the principle of popular sovereignty, political equality, popular consultation and majority rule (G.A.I Ofoegbu, 1991).

Furthermore, Democracy can be described as a system of government where people exercise power of governing the state through representative, population and periodically elected by people themselves. (Ofoegbu, Model government)

Democracy is a government in which the people exercise their governing power either directly or indirectly through representative, periodically elected by them (Prince Francis, Ebele Okoli: Government for Schools and Colleges)

In addition, democracy is defined as a form of government in which people exercise their governing power either directly or through representative periodically elected by them (Dibie C. Chris, essential government).

Another school of thought defined democracy as a system of government which is derived from public opinion and is accountable to it, former American President Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as government of the people, by the people and for the people.


        There are two main classification of democracy, namely: –

  1. Direct democracy
  2. Indirect or representative democracy.
  1. DIRECT DEMOCRACY: This is a type of democracy where all the citizens attend the assembly and take part in decision making in order to govern the state or the society. This type of democracy was practices in ancient small Greek city states.
  2. INDIRECT OR REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY: In this type of democracy, the citizens through election elect those who will represent and govern the state on their behalf. This type of democracy replaced the direct democracy in modern states as it is no more possible for everybody to gatter in one place in order to take decisions as a result of large size and population of the modern states. In addition, democracy can further be classified as follows: liberal/constitutional democracy, social or economic democracy.

In the other hand bokoharam is defines as follows: – Boko haram is a controversial Nigerian militant Islamist group that seeks the imposition of Sharia law in the northern states of Nigeria. Also, Boko haram is an Islamist group. It proposes that interaction with the western world is forbidden, and also supports opposition of the Muslim establishment and the government of Nigeria.

Moreso, the term “Boko haram” Animist, western or otherwise non-Islamic education” and the Arabic word Haram figuratively meanly “sin” (Literally, “forbidden”). Boko haram is a religious militant group base in the north and seeks to establish Sharia law in the country. It opposes not only western education, but western culture and modern science as well.

Boko haram, is an Islamic religious sect responsible for most of kidnappings, killings and terrorist attacks in Nigeria. The group was founded in 2002 in Maiduguri by Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf.

Boko haram mission and Agenda is not only opposing western education, but western culture and modern science as well. It is a militant group that is hostile to democracy and the secular education system, vowing that “this war that is yet to start would continue for long” if the political and educational system was not changed (



Over the years, the Nigeria government has failed to harness the vast human and material resources at its disposal to break the cycle of poverty and autocracy that has characterized it since independence in 1960. Thus, Nigerian state has been constantly struggling between the forces of democracy and authoritarianism and characterized by the “push for development and the pull for underdevelopment, the burden of public corruption and the pressure of accountability”. (Kesselman et al, 1796: 616) And, it has “deviated from the known curve of consolidation to de-consolidation” (Odian-Alkhaine et al, 2007: 1).

Infact, democracy in Nigeria has faced so many problems but recently the major obstacle on the way of democracy in Nigeria is the problem of religious sect (Bokoharam) which has caused a lot of instability in the polity as a result of their terrorist activities.






Boko haram is a controversial Nigeria militant Islamic group that seeks the imposition of Sharia law in northern states of Nigeria.

In 1995, the group was said to be operating under the name Shabaab, Muslim youth organization with Mallam Lawal as he leader. When Lawal left to continue his education, Mohammed Yusuf took over leadership of the group. Yusuf’s leadership allegedly opened the group to political influence and popularity.

Yusuf officially founded the group in 2002 in the city of Maiduguri with the aim of establishing a Sharia government in Borno State. He establish a religious complex that included a mosque and a school where many poor families from across Nigeria and from neighbouring countries enrolled their children. The centre had ulterior political goals and soon it was also working as a recruiting ground for future Jihadist to fight the state. The group includes members who come from neighbouring Chad and Niger and Speak only Arabic. In 2004, the complex was relocated to Yusufs’ home state Yobe in the village Kanamma near the Nigeria border.

Human right watch researcher Eric Guttschuss told IRIN Vewe that Yusuf successfully attracted followers from unemployed youth by speaking out against police and political corruption. Abadulkariam Mohammed, a researcher on Boko Haram added that violent uprisings in Nigeria are ultimately due to the fallout of faustration with corruption and the attendant social malaise of poverty and unemployment.




        November 4, 2011 Major Boko Haram bomb blast killed over 60 people in Damaturu Yobe State, Nigeria. December 2010, Boko haram was blamed for a market bombing, following which 92 of its members were arrested by police.

On April 15, the Maiduguri office of the independent National Electorial Commission was bombed and several people were shot on a separate incident on the same day, authorities suspected Boko haram.

June 17, 2011 the group claimed responsibility for a bombing attach on the police force headquarters n Abuja which was specifically targeted at police inspector general Hafiz Ringim.

Boko haram was responsible for at least 450 killings in Nigeria. It was also reported that they has been responsible for over 620 deaths over the first 6 months of 2012. In the first few years of operation 10,000 people are reported to have died.

Below are Boko haram Timeline incidents:

31 December 2012 December 20120 Abuja Attach
29 May 2011 May 2011 Northern Nigeria Bombing
16 June, 2011 The group claims responsibility for the 2011 Abuja police headquarter bombing
10 July 2011 Bombing at all Christian fellowship church in Suleja, Niger State
26 August, 2011 2011 Abuja bombing
20 January, 2012 January 2012 Kano bombing
8 February 2012 Boko Haram claims responsibility of a suicide bombing at the army headquarters in Kaduna.
17 June, 2012 Suicide bombers strike three churches in Kaduna State. at least 50 people were killed
3 June 2012 15 Church goes were killed and several injured in a church bombing in Bauchi State. Boko Haram claimed responsibility through spokes person Abu Qaga


By and large, the presence of Boko Haram in Nigeria will definitely murder democracy in our country if proper care is not taken by authorities. Government should stop paying a deaf ear to boko haram activities, proper and adequate major should be taken to tackle the menace if Boko Haram on the Nigeria democracy.

From all that has been said, it is clear that democracy in Nigeria will remain a nightmare of Boko Haram menace is not tackled.



Boko Haram terrorist activities and bombings have attracted the interest of Nigerians and the international community. In Nigeria, people have made knowntheir views on the activities of Boko Haram.

This project work dewlls on the view of the following on Boko Haram since Goodluck Jonathan regime. Muhammad Buhari, General Ibrahim Babangida and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and the Governor of Central Bank Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

“I don’t have anything to do with members of Boko Haram – Buhari (November 8, 2012: by Sahara Reporters, New York). Former presidential candidate of the congress for political change (CPC), General Muhammad Buhari (Rtd), has restated that he does not have anything to do with members of the violent Boko Haram sect. Buhari reacting personally for the first time since his name was mentioned, along with five others by the sect, said he would neither work for the insurgency group nor negotiate on behalf of the federal government. General Buhari said, “how can I represent people I do not know, that I do not believe in whatever their cause is? How can I work for a government that is Boko Haram that has failed to do the most important thing of protecting lives and property part of any organization or group whose target is to kill people or a government that has abandoned its key responsibility of protecting lives? In addition, he said that the “biggest” Boko Haram in Nigeria is the federal government itself.

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