Date of Conferral





Human Services


Nathan R. Moran


Boko Haram (BH) terrorism in Nigeria has persisted for over a decade, and the attacks continue to get more sophisticated, deadly, and well-coordinated with each passing year. Given the sect’s focus on religious institutions, especially churches and mosques considered not to be practicing the kind of Islam the BH expresses, the purpose of this dissertation was to explore the religious motivation that drives their terrorist activities. The primary research question that guided this qualitative study on the religious motivations, reconciliation of activities and beliefs, and perspectives regarding minimizing BH terrorism in Nigeria. The study’s theoretical framework was the frustration-aggression theory propounded by Dollard et al. It was selected to explain the possible motive of their hostile and aggressive behavior. The data were gathered through telephone interviews with seven participants who were members of BH terrorist group. Qualitative analysis and coding for emergent themes were employed for data analysis. The results indicated that BH was founded to resist many societal practices which they felt entrenching pure Islam through whatever means, including terrorism, would achieve. Religion was used principally to radicalize Muslim faithful in mosques and Islamic teaching centers. Overall, seven main themes emerged from three categories. The implications for positive social change are that understanding the religious motive for BH terrorism and the need to address the prevailing socioeconomic forces adds to the knowledge that will help the Nigerian government and other stakeholders minimize the activities of the BH terrorists.

Included in

Social Work Commons