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Nigeria’s security nightmare continues to cause national havoc

Violent Islamic group Boko Haram has maintained a presence in the north of Nigeria despite government efforts to control unrest. It continues to disrupt civilian safety and educational opportunities.

Nigeria has seen a recent spike in violent activity in the north-east as a result of militant Islamist group Boko Haram. Over 100 attacks have already occurred this year, with many more dead and injured as a result.

The group’s name, which translates to local Hausa language as ‘Western education is forbidden’, has caused major havoc in the country since 2009. It fights to make Northern Nigeria an Islamic state, using terrorist attacks as political statements.

North-eastern Nigeria has been its main base ever since its establishment back in 2002 by late founder Muhammed Yusuf. The group has caused bombings, general civilian attacks, and is responsible for many abductions of school children and college students.

The most notorious of these was the 2014 mass kidnapping of over 275 girls from a boarding school in Chibok, Borno State, which drew global attention. A major campaign was launched to bring the girls back, though attacks like these remain commonplace even today.


What has been the state response?

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Federal Capital Authority (FCA) issued a press statement concerning the current national security situation on Monday 14th June 2021.

Signed by Rev. Jechonia Albert, Public Relations of the Association, he stressed that poor civilian security – mostly in the north – is preventing rural farmers from being able to grow food.

This could increase food shortage in the near future and affect the country’s food supply.

‘Without mincing words, the current state of the nation has plunged the vast majority of the people into hunger, poverty, frustration, and despondency,’ part of the statement read.

Additionally, CAN expressed concern at the Boko Haram insurgents causing mayhem on Nigerians, killing innocent people and taking communities hostage.

In states like Kaduna, Niger, Zamfara and Katsina, children often avoid attending school in fear of abduction. Parents pay ransoms in the millions for the release of their children from abductors – it is a very real and serious threat.

In addition, thousands of Nigerians have been rendered homeless by bandits in northern rural communities, with reports suggesting attacks occur on a regular, daily basis.


What does this mean for Nigerian children?

This unrest is having a detrimental affect on children’s education, especially in the north of the country.

Children can easily be recruited into militia groups such as Boko Haram and used in killings. In December 2020, for example, Boko Haram kidnapped 33 boys and only a handful managed to escape unharmed.

In April this year, the group seized control of Kaure District, a remote community in the Niger State. Over 3,000 citizens reportedly fled the area and violence is expected to increase throughout the year as a result.

Efforts by security agencies to combat attacks like these and guarantee civilian safety seem to be largely ineffective, at least right now. Many state soldiers have been killed and wounded, with casualty numbers high enough to equate to front line warfare in some states.

As it stands, the jihadist organization threatens not only the stability of Africa’s largest oil producer, but also the political, economic, and security interests in Africa.

Only time will tell if the Nigerian government can improve the safety of its citizens and secure educational opportunities for Gen Zers.

 

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