Why Terrorism Thrives in West Africa

Great civilizations existed in northern Nigeria before the West ever set foot there. The Kanem Bornu Empire (700-1900) stretched to present-day Chad, Libya, Niger and Cameroon, and was bound by trade and ethnic similarities and religion.

Present day Northern Nigeria is home to the large Hausa ethnic group. The Hausa language is spoken by more than 50 million people across the present-day Sahel (north Central Africa, spanning much of Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Togo, Chad, and Sudan). Hausa is still the region’s second language of trade; the primary languages come from the region’s colonizers: English, French and to a degree, Arabic.

In the early 19th century, a towering Islamic figure, Sheikh Uthman ibn Fodio (1754-1817), emerged in what is now northwest Nigeria. Although of ethnic Fulani extraction, he galvanized support across the Hausa-dominated regions and parts of the old Kanem Bornu Empire. In this multi-ethnic region, he had a uni-directional purpose: Islamic evangelism, imperialism and dominance. He ended up creating an Islamic Caliphate.

  • Seneca III

    Excellent analysis, Gatestone.

  • Brenda

    So it seems there is an environmental component to it, at least in Africa. And of course Saudis financing extremist preachers.

  • Frances

    In other words, they had a nice little caliphate and then the Christians came in preaching peace and forgiveness, not to mention a loving God.

  • Millie_Woods

    “Great civilizations existed in northern Nigeria before the West ever set foot there.”

    Strange, I’ve never heard that before. Which leads me to believe it’s horseshit.

    • Alain

      I think it has everything to do with what one considers “great civilisations”. Enough said.