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Untold Story of Boko Haram Insurgency: The Lake Chad Oil and Gas Connection

  • J. Tochukwu Omenma (a1) (a2)


This article makes a case for the nexus between water resources and terrorism. Using Boko Haram activities in the Lake Chad region, I question the conventional arguments linking religion to the root cause of terrorism. I argue that there is an economic dimension of Boko Haram terrorism, which is based on two interrelated indicators: the attack on the Nigerian oil exploration team in the Lake Chad basin, and the continuous exploitation of oil and gas by Chad, Niger, and Cameroon in the region. Building on economic incentives and natural resources theoretical debates along with a historical enquiry into Boko Haram, the article concludes that economic interests, rather than religion, are partly the impetus to the activities of Boko Haram. The findings have significant implications for both the security of the Lake Chad region and counterterrorism at large.


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Address correspondence and reprint requests to: J. Tochukwu Omenma, Department of Politics & International Relations, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa. E-mail:


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The author is grateful to the two anonymous referees for their helpful comments, as well as Professor Cheryl Hendricks for helping to conceptualise the background ideas. Dr Okechukwu Ikenayibe and Dr Michael Ugwueze made some useful remarks, while Mrs Tisa Viviers and Kingsley Ugwuanyi provided valuable technical assistance. This article was prepared for the 1st International Conference on Water Security, 17–20 June 2018, Toronto, Canada, organised by Elsevier.



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