American University of Nigeria (AUN) will join a consortium of nine universities in a research project to build a database on Boko Haram insurgency in the Lake Chad basin.
The other universities in the consortium will come from Canada, Chad, Niger and the Republic of Cameroon.
A statement obtained from the AUN’s Public Relations Department, Tuesday, indicated that a preliminary grant of C$198,000 has already been secured for the project.
“The grant is to fund an international scholars’ partnership that can design a significant research initiative and gain the approval of the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) that is providing the preliminary grant,” the statement read.
“If satisfied with the design architecture, SSHRC, a federal research-funding agency that ‘promotes and supports post-secondary research and training,’ will provide an additional endowment to carry out the actual research.”
Part of the funds will be used in providing logistic support for planned meetings in Yola, other Lake Chad basin countries and Canada.
Based on the outcome of the meetings in the participating countries, a comprehensive research proposal will be produced.
However, the research consortium led by York University, Toronto, Canada is said to have invited no fewer than 20 scholars from the universities participating in the project, including McGill University, Ottawa.
The AUN’s chair of the Department of Politics and International Studies, Prof Bill Hansen, has been appointed into the five-member steering committee of the project.
On the Canadian side of the research team is Prof Paul Lovejoy, one of the few global authorities on slavery in West Africa and the Atlantic slave trade.
Mr. Lovejoy, who heads the steering committee, is the lead applicant for the grant while Bruno Veras, his PhD student, manages the grant.
President of AUN, Dawn Dekle, while congratulating Prof Hansen and the other scholars on the project, said the choice of AUN is an endorsement of the university’s leadership in research, scholarship and humanitarian intervention.
Mrs. Dekel also attributed the choice of AUN as recognition of Prof Hansen’s contributions to the global understanding of the origins of insurgency.
Speaking on the project, Mr. Hansen said the spadework on the project will produce data on all aspects of the Chad basin region, including education, health, environment, agriculture, politics, economics, religion, and many other topics and sub-topics.
“The intent of the research is to create the most comprehensive database on Boko Haram in the Lake Chad basin.
“Knowledge of the causes and trajectory of the insurrection will allow for civil society and governments to make policy decisions that might avert another similar episode,” said Mr. Hansen.
Professor Hansen says the joint research project will mark a significant step forward for AUN and research on Boko Haram and insurrection in Nigeria.
Prof Hansen has researched extensively and published many works on Boko Haram and Muslim-Christian relations in Northern Nigeria.
His works have shown insurgency is directly fueled by social inequalities and mismanagement of the socio-political space by successive Nigerian governments.
His most recent research publication: “Poverty and Economic Deprivation Theory: Street Children, Qur’anic Schools/Almajirai and the Disposed as a Source of Recruits for Boko Haram and other Religious, Political and Criminal Groups in Northern Nigeria,” was published in Perspectives on Terrorism, 10 (5).
Another landmark research, “Parasites, Predators, and Terrorists: The Nigerian State and Boko Haram,” has been accepted for publication by the Africa World Press (Trenton, NJ).
In 2015 Mr. Hansen published the work, “Boko Haram: Religious Radicalism and Insurrection in Northern Nigeria,” in the Journal of Asian and African Studies, to critical acclaim.
The work explained why a phenomenon such as Boko Haram came into existence and why it poses a threat to the very existence of the Nigerian state
He concluded, “Boko Haram is the entirely logical consequence of more than five decades of the post-colonial Nigerian state ruled by a parasitic predator class that is itself a by-product of the colonial state.”
An earlier work with Umma Aliyu: “Fanon, the Wretched and Boko Haram,” appeared in the June 2013 edition of Journal of Asian and African Studies, 48(3).