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Analyzing Nigerians’ perspectives on the causes of violent extremism, government responses, and possible solutions

Abstract

This study analyzed the perceptions of Nigerians as regards the underlying causes of violent extremism, the government responses, and possible solutions to this problem. The study aimed to fill this gap in the literature by specifically analyzing the influence of different social identities on the perceptions of violent extremism as well as counterterrorism efforts using nationally representative data (N = 1600). The research findings indicated that there are significant differences between the perceptions of religious, ethnic, and regional groups on violent extremism in Nigeria. While Christians and respondents of the Igbo ethnicity see religious belief as one of the main three reasons to join extremist groups, Muslims and respondents from the Hausa-Fulani ethnicity mostly see unemployment and poverty as the main reasons to join extremist groups. Moreover, Christians, respondents from the South, and the Igbo ethnicity tended to find the Nigerian government efforts to address the problem of extremist groups less effective than Muslims, respondents from the North, and the Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba ethnicities. Differences among the ethnicities, between religious groups and between the regions, are very clear and significant on these issues. However, both Christians and Muslims see improving the economy and creating more jobs as one of the best ways for the government to deal with the problem of violent extremism and their responses to other suggested ways of combating violence do not differ significantly. Counterterrorism and counter-radicalization efforts should consider these differences and similarities in efforts to successfully craft effective policies against violent extremism in Nigeria.

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Notes

  1. a: Variables are measured at the nominal level, b: The levels of the variables are mutually exclusive, c: Assumption of the independence of the observation is met, d: the expected value of the number of sample observations in each level of the variable is at least 5.

  2. a: The independent variable consisted of three or more categorical groups, b: The assumption of the independence of the observations was met, c: The dependent variable was an ordinal variable, d: The shape of the distribution of the dependent variable by independent groups was similar.

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Correspondence to Ahmet Guler.

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Guler, A., Boke, K. & Tsado, L.K. Analyzing Nigerians’ perspectives on the causes of violent extremism, government responses, and possible solutions. Secur J (2022). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41284-022-00330-9

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Keywords

  • Violent extremism
  • Public perception
  • Boko Haram
  • Nigeria
  • Counterterrorism