The factors behind the menace of Boko Haram in North-East Nigeria have been explained by a report issued on Friday, July 23, by the Tony Blair Institute.
The report titled, ‘Violent Extremism in Sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from the Rise of Boko Haram’, dealt with the evolution as well as spread of the terrorist group in different parts of the country.
According to its analyses, the low level of education in North-Eastern Nigeria has led to the domination of Boko Haram in the region.
“Low literacy rates and education gaps served as tools and opportunities for recruitment. Boko Haram became adept at attracting and manipulating followers from low socioeconomic backgrounds; many of whom lacked a solid education,” the report revealed.
It further stated, “The northeastern states of Borno and Yobe, for instance, have the lowest literacy rates in Nigeria. While there were a handful of recruits who had either obtained a qualification to high-school certificate level; or who came from well-to-do families, they counted as few among the many – and remained the exception.
“For those unfamiliar with formal study; Boko Haram’s preaching sessions; and well-rehearsed stories of Islam as well as gloried Islamic societies served as a primary source of education.
“Indeed, slow development has continued to hinder literacy and education in the North East; and Boko Haram has also built a robust system of proselytisation; by targeting those who are most vulnerable to their rhetoric.”
Proffering solutions, the report implored the Federal Government to “prioritise soft-power policy programmes; that aim to equip communities with the basic skills to dispute as well as counter extremist narratives.”
According to the report, access to education in the affected region can help; in disrupting the activities of the terrorist group.
“While it is difficult to overhaul entire education systems and improve access rates in underdeveloped areas; such as Borno and Yobe, more work could be done; to equip individuals with the basic skills to consciously disrupt Boko Haram narratives.”