The members of Boko Haram prefer to be known by their Arabic name Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal Jihad, which means “people committed to spreading the teachings of the Prophet and jihad”. This terrorist group has been wreaking havoc in Nigeria for many years. Still, there are several conspiracy theories about the sponsors of Boko haram.
The terrorist group is believed to have been formed in the city of Maiduguri in north-eastern Nigeria, where the residents nicknamed its members “Boko Haram,” a combination of the “Hausa” word “Boko”, which literally means “Western civilization”, and the Arabic word “Haram,” which figuratively means “sin” and literally means “forbidden”.
Although it is widely believed that it was founded around 2001 or 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf, some claim that the sect was actually founded in 1995 as Sahaba. Boko Haram is said to be opposed not only to Western civilization (which includes Western education) but also to the secularisation of the Nigerian state. Several conspiracy theories are usually used to explain the sponsors of Boko Haram.
Five conspiracy theory about sponsors of Boko Haram in Nigeria
1. Northern politicians sponsor Boko Haram
From 2011 to 2014, this theory was disseminated to commentators and leading politicians in the southern part of the country. The former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, is a Southerner of the ethnic minority Ijaw.
According to this theory, people from the North, essentially the “Core north” (i.e., House/Fulani), believe that this is their inalienable right to rule the country. Because the South Christian is the president, they decided to sponsor Boko Haram as a tool to destabilize Jonathan’s presidency.
The primary weakness of this theory is that most of the sectarian unrest has taken place in the “core north” (i.e., the North-Eastern part of Nigeria) and against northern Muslims. If northern politicians really want to make the country “out of control” for President Goodluck Jonathan, why are they doing this by sponsoring a group that disproportionately kills northern Muslims and literally destroys several parts of the North?
2. Goodluck Jonathan is the sponsor
In 2013, another conspiracy theory arose that Boko Haram is actually sponsored by Jonathan’s administration to make Islam look bad or to give the impression that the North is going to overthrow its administration or make it fail as president.
On the other hand, the theory claimed that this is a way for the president to organize and mobilize the support of his “southern and Christian brothers” behind his administration. One version of this conspiracy theory is that Boko Haram is really sponsored by the government to weaken, destroy or reduce the population of the North in the 2015 general elections.
A number of elites from the North, including the then-Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa and then-Governor Alhaji Aliya Wamakko of Sokoto, have legitimized this theory by openly signing on to it.
The main weakness of this theory is that nothing in the confessions of the arrested Boko Haram members confirms it. Again, it is unclear why the rebels, who are all Muslims (judging by the identity of the captured) and are campaigning under the guise of Islamic revival, allowed non-Muslims to use themselves to kill their fellow Muslims.
Again, nothing supports this, neither on YouTube nor in the press releases of Shekau, the leader of the leading Boko Haram group, who is now considered dead. However, his death is being questioned due to his constant appearance on YouTube videos.
3. President Buhari sponsors Boko Haram
In 2013, the presidency of then-president Goodluck Jonathan described Major General Muhammadu Buhari, former Head of State and 2011 presidential candidate of the platform Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), as the primary sponsor of the terrible Islamic sect, Boko Haram and a leading hero of violence. It stated that in addition to his desire to rule the country again, Buhari had refused to make a significant contribution to actions that could end instability in the country.
They said that he was a religious fanatic who tried to use terrorists to drive Jonathan out of power in 2015. At one point Buhari was nominated by Boko Haram to negotiate with the federal government to end the bloodshed.
It was so funny: If he agrees to help in the negotiations, it will confirm that he is their godfather. If he said he wouldn’t, it would be proof that he didn’t want the bloodshed to stop because he was the one sponsoring it. In any case, he was pinned, and he still chose to be mute.
In February this year, in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, suspected members of Boko Haram, disrupted his visit. They began attacking the city a few hours after President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit. Several repentant members of Boko Haram never mentioned or claimed to be their sponsor during their various confession.
4. Lt-Gen Azubuike Ihejirika as a sponsor
Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihedjirika, the former Chief of Staff of the Nigerian Army, was supposedly the Boko Haram sponsor. The theory said he was the one who supplied them with arms and ammunition because, as an Igboman and from southern Nigeria, he had unfinished business: destroying northern Nigeria in retaliation for the Nigerian civil war of 1967-70.
He was the first Igbo to lead the army after the Civil War. It was the ideal conspiracy theory to hold him responsible for the activities of Abubakar Shekau, Mohammed Al Barnawi, and others of the terrorist leaders.
Ihedjirika had to go to court to defend his name, as these accusations had become a staple food for the Nigerian media.
5. A northern governor as a sponsor and commander
Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, recently shaken the airwaves when he told the radio station that the Northern Governor was the Commander of Boko Haram. But wait! Is there any Governor from the Northern region today who can safely enter the Boko Haram’s territory and comes back alive?
He also said that the terrorists were flying freely during the coronavirus lockdown. “We met with some of their top commanders, they sat with us more than once, not twice,” he said in an interview that was also videotaped. “They told us that one of the northern governors is the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Boko Haram and the bandits are the same.”
After being invited by the Department of Security Services (DSS) to explain his claims, Mailafiya, who comes from Southern Kaduna, first compared himself with Nelson Mandela. But a day later, he already looked more like a social critic, who played a crucial role in spreading wild rumors.
Mailafia said that he had actually received a rumor from the Fulani traders (no longer Boko Haram top commanders); that he did not know that his statement had been videotaped and that he was a fan of Buhari (coughing, coughing, clearing his throat); and that he was sorry if his statement hurt someone (thank God no one died).