Fisayo Ajala is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He is a 2019 fellow of the SSRC’s Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Fellowship Program. His current research interests are in the areas of military sociology, violent extremism, gender studies, and civic space. His book reviews and articles have been published in LSE Book Review, African Studies Quarterly, and The Republic: Journal of Nigerian Affairs.
As typical with all counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations, the war against Boko Haram has evoked huge material, socio-economic and human costs to Nigeria. One group often bearing both direct and indirect consequence of the burden is the families of personnel who have paid the ultimate sacrifice – killed in the war. In Nigeria, close to a thousand soldiers are estimated to have been killed in the operations and recent reports suggests that their families are neglected by both the military and the State. This study seeks to examine this phenomenon and the coping mechanisms of widows of the deceased army combatants. A qualitative research strategy is used to understand how the sudden death affects their livelihoods and the coping mechanisms they adopt to deal with the challenge. Data for the study will be elicited across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria using one-on-one interviews with the widows.