Vipers Are Offsprings of Dragons: A Fanonian Analysis of Violent Conflicts in Africa with Specific Reference to the Boko Haram Insurgency in Nigeria

  • Akinola E. Akintayo


It is Frantz Fanon’s argument in his book the Wretched of the Earth (1963) that Africans were conceived, were born, were nurtured and died in colonial violence. In Fanon’s view, colonialism was a violent phenomenon in Africa that sowed and nurtured the seeds of violence in the minds and homes of Africans. He predicts that consistent with the behavioural pattern of avoidance, which puts off the inevitable violent confrontation between the oppressor and the oppressed until later, the violence of colonialism will provoke a counter-violence of tribal warfare and feuds, violent and bloodthirsty quarrels between individuals and collective auto-destruction in Africans. I argue in this chapter that consistent with Fanon’s prediction, available evidence as can be gathered from relevant literature appears to bear out Fanon’s thesis of colonial violence and counter-violence. I argue also that colonial violence, which available evidence suggests has been carried over into post-colonial Africa, has not only precipitated and provoked force and violence in Africans during colonial times; it has also resulted in the violent nature and character of post-colonial African states and politics as well. I argue in this chapter that the violent nature and character of post-colonial African states and politics may be responsible for the present multiplication and spread of violent conflicts on the continent of Africa. To validate this argument, I trace and explain the acquisition of a violent constitution by Africans from colonial times to the time of independence. I also explain how this violent constitution has been perpetuated and continued to be fostered by the violent character of African bourgeois liberal states and politics in the post-colony. I try to show in particular how these factors and institutions of violence combine to shape the creation and subsequent blossoming of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. I therefore conclude by suggesting that an analysis of the insurgency in terms of Fanon’s thesis appears to be a more suitable explanation of the insurgency because available evidence suggests that the violence of the Nigerian state and its politics and the counter-violence of the Boko Haram group are predominant factors in the creation and blossoming of the insurgency.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Akinola E. Akintayo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public Law, Faculty of LawUniversity of LagosAkokaNigeria

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