Violent extremism in Nigeria started to rear its ugly head mostly in the Northern part of country in the mid 1980’s and later in the early part of 21st century. Northern Nigeria is the most populous region in the country and educationally disadvantaged in terms of western education. After the coming of colonialists there have been efforts by colonial and later regional governments to plead with parents to accept western education but with less success.
Despite that, the negligible number of Northern Nigerians enroll their children into western schools and that has helped significantly in the ushering of post independent Nigerian leaders.
Experts revealed that Northern Nigeria is the region that suffers from a number of out of school children that roam the streets of the region.
Extremism went out of hand, according to many ,when governments at all levels failed to meet up to their responsibilities, poverty and dilapidation in infrastructure as well as moral decadence contributed immensely to the quagmire.
Corruption is the main factor in Nigeria that resulted in violent extremism where easy recruits of terrorism are the order of the day, Governments failure to provide the basic necessities of life to its teeming populace led to this disturbing menace.
International agencies had for long asserts that Nigerians are living under a dollar per day and not many can afford three square meals a day.
Ignorance is a vital factor towards the resurgence of violent extremism. Recruits into this dastardly acts are capitalizing on the ignorance of their followers, there by misleading them into believing what they are doing is right.
There is also misconception in understanding the basic teachings of the religion of Islam, for example when the Boko Haram founder Muhammad Yusuf preached to his people that carrying arms against the state is the only solution to maladministration, informed Islamic scholars like Sheikh Jaafar Mahmud Adam told the group that they are wrong in their assertion, and corrected their notion and misunderstanding on Islam and what is expected of the followers.
I’m a Muslim and as a Journalist and a writer and an Editor I’m privy to the real teachings of my religion except if there are forces hell bent in denting the image of Islam, there is a verse in the glorious Quran that says ‘’whoever saves a life as if he saves the whole mankind and if one destroys a life as if he destroyed the whole mankind’’ as such the glorious Quran is the first scripture to debunk terrorism and violent extremism.
Political leaders in the mid independent era did not do their best in making things work in Nigeria, but have neglected their primary duty in ensuring that the common man felt the Impact, Education from Basic level to University level was not made compulsory by the leaders of post independent Nigeria, as such the control over their people and territory slipped out of their hand, and when it’s time to curb the menace it was too late for them , and the government has to bear the consequences .
When Boko Haram insurgency started to gather momentum in the Northeastern part of Nigeria, there were people that are apportioning blame on parents and governments. The first agent of socialization is the family and there is no reason where somebody will learn some etiquettes without starting from home. Some parents in the north have developed the I don’t care attitude towards their kith and kin when it comes to sound and moral parental nurturance ,while a number of them did not take the issue of education seriously, this has made the society to accept whatever some disgruntled elements brought before it, it was reported that in some quarters some parents did not even know when their children were recruited into those acts of violent extremism because they do not monitor their growing up and movement from one place to another.
This made it possible for them to easily relate with people of questionable character thereby influencing the innocent children to participate in criminal activities. This kind of parental negligence also pave way for violent extremism groups to conveniently recruit out of them.
A part from violent extremism groups, thuggery and other social vices , peer groups in the society are making good use of the opportunity of parental negligence by way of coaching them on how to engage in one criminality or the other after which they become nuisance and even threats to members of the society.
Experts asserted that, there is significant and strong relationships between poor parental care and level of school drop outs especially in developing countries such as Nigeria.
The rot in the education system in the country is very alarming, Public school system has deteriorated, I mean public Primary and secondary schools have been neglected by the governments and the disparity between the poor and the rich is getting wider particularly in northern Nigeria and that has been identified to also contribute to violent extremism.
Though there are no available literature to showcase where the recruits of violent extremism are coming from, but experts and researchers have attributed that to unemployment of an army of youth.
If the Nigerian government is serious in curtailing violent extremism it would have done so without the blink of an eye, because the resources are there, but have been siphoned by corrupt individuals who appear in the toga of politicians and political Heads.
At the early stage of Nigerian independence, reports had it that first generation of Nigerian leaders died with debts, had it been they were not eliminated totally from the political scene their intention to see a better Nigeria will surpass some trending world super powers of today.
Nigeria’s contemporaries are Asian Tigers of today, they include Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, today Malaysia is an economic giant where Nigerians are trooping in search of qualitative education, succor among others.
Violent extremism in Nigeria is more devastating in the Northeastern part of Nigeria where Boko Haram declared that western education is a sin, and in Islam there is no system of education that is abominable, every system of education is beneficial to mankind, and if a society is educated the foundation for its development has been set and will propel it to a greater height.
For example, the grievances the Niger delta region of Nigeria had was that the wealth of Nigeria originated from their region, and the government will not meet the demand of the restive youth in that region, except they blow pipelines transporting refined crude oil from their region to another.
While the Boko Haramists are killing people who are mostly innocent in the name of ideological warfare, whenever the Nigerian military and security agencies paraded captured Boko Haram insurgents, they mostly Youth and then the process of curtailing their violent extremism starts.
A lot have been said and conferences were held in curtailing violent extremism in Nigeria, sometimes government policies are not favorable towards arresting the situation, a holistic approach needed to be adopted by authorities in countering violent extremism in Nigeria. Radical approach to the issue is very essential, huge funds should be injected with donor agencies support by introducing program that will mitigate the situation.
But a critical sector in curtailing violent extremism is the media , the media is very essential tool in doing away with it, when insurgency was at its height in Nigeria ,the media served as the oxygen of the insurgents where every terrorist act perpetrated are heard over Nigeria and international media, these reportage of terrorists activities mostly sent shivers into the spines of Nigerians , while at this juncture if violent extremism is to be curtailed media should come in which include the mainstream media and the social media ,Reporters and editors including social media users have to come in in preaching against violent extremism.
The people mostly believe in the media and it can counter violent extremism.
Mahmud Ibrahim Kwari is a Journalist based in Kano state , Nigeria who can be reached on 08035632069.