Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


William J. Benet



In recent years Northeast Nigeria has experienced violence carried out by Boko Haram. Previous research studies on the conflict in Northeast Nigeria have not focused on the experiences and perceptions of those affected by the conflict. This study was an exploration of the poverty-conflict nexus and the activities of Boko Haram in Northeast Nigeria as seen through the experiences and perceptions of those impacted by the violence. Benet’s polarities of democracy was used as the theoretical framework to examine those experiences and perceptions. The research questions addressed how the people of Northeast Nigeria attacked by Boko Haram perceive the conflict, and how has the situation affected their lives. The research design for the study was qualitative and a phenomenological method was used. Data were collected through semistructured interviews with 20 participants who had been victims of Boko Haram violence. The interview data were inductively coded and thematic analysis was used to identify themes. The findings identified nine themes related to the impact of the violence on the victims including five themes that identified governmental barriers to addressing the impacts of the violence. Recommendations for changes in public policies that may contribute to a reduction in the conflict include increased efforts for collaborative peace building; stronger anti-corruption legislation and enforcement; and increased governmental investments in infrastructure, education, and job creation. These recommendations may contribute to positive social change through improved governmental services, a reduction in violence, and enhanced living conditions for the people of Northeast Nigeria.