The Boko Haram: Motive Behind the Killings

Dept of Psychology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Nigeria.

On August 23 2011, the country was shocked to receive a sad news—the United Nations Headquarters at Abuja was attacked by a suicide bomber. At least 11 people died and many others sustained major injuries in the incidenc. Weeks earlier the Nigerian Police Headquarters in the same city had been attacked in similar fashion. The militant group popularly known as Boko Haram claimed responsibility for bothj events.

In light of such violence, it is not suprising that the Nigerian public has rushed to the condemnation of the actions of the group. Some have described the Boko Hamram as needing phyciatric attentipon others have called them “heartless, anti-god criminals. No doubt, many are dismayed by the sad news ofv the events the group have claimed responsibility for. They wonder “why would some sane humans seek to destroy fellow humans who have their own families and with whom they have no personal clash whatsoever with.

Of all humans, psychologists are entitled to every inqusitiviness they can monster on this topic. This article seeks ton present a balancved and clear understanding of the motives of the group Boko Haram, with theoretical perspectives. It also draws on the similarities of interest between the Boko Haram and the Alqueda; the similar foreign nature of islamist idealogy and western idealogy. The artickle ends with a presentation of five practical solutions to this national problem.


The term “Boko” comes from a Hausa word meaning “western” or “non Islamic.” “Haram” comes from an Arabic word meaning “forbidden”, thus “Boko Haram” literally means “western education/idealogy is a sin.”

The term Boko Haram is a name given a Nigerian sectarian violence group established in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf presently operating in northern Nigeria, their opponents the...