Boko Haram and the Isolation of Northern Nigeria: Regional and International Implications

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Boko Haram’s violent campaign for an Islamic state in northern Nigeria has led to the growing isolation of this region. As Boko Haram’s violent attacks have increased, fewer traders are crossing the border to take the risk. This coincides with a stream of businesses leaving northern states from Borno to Kaduna for greater stability in the south. Boko Haram’s high-profile kidnapping of French tourists in February 2013 accelerated the plunge in travel in the region. Internet and cell phone access have similarly been restricted due to Boko Haram’s bombing of 24 base transceiver stations belonging to at least six telecommunications companies in the northeast. Such isolation serves Boko Haram’s aims well. Ideologically, the sect claims it seeks a purified version of Islam. Severing the region’s links with the outside world curbs the influence of external ideas, technology, and resources – leaving more space for the group’s message.

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