Official measures making terrorism attractive in Nigeria
Nigeria has a population of about 200 million people. According to official sources on her demographics, about 20 percent of Nigeria’s population are the youth who are between the ages of 18 to 40. Out of this population, 80 percent of it are unemployed and are susceptible to crime. There is also a very high dependency ratio of the country at 90 dependents per 100 non-dependents.
From the foregoing analysis, it is only about 10 percent of the population that can comfortably afford a good life. 90 percent of the population can jump at any opportunity to have three square meals a day and to have an oversea scholarship.
As a result of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment, a lot of Nigerian youths have been recruited as criminal elements such as terrorists, bandits, hooligans and kidnappers among other vices.
Currently a bill, sponsored by a sitting Senator for the Establishment of the National Agency for the Education, Rehabilitation, De-radicalisation and Integration of Repentant Insurgents in Nigeria and for Other Connected Purposes’ has passed the first reading in the upper legislative chamber, if the bill is signed into law, members of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, will be funded to get foreign education.
Section 5 of the Bill states that “The agency shall implement programmes geared towards the rehabilitation of beneficiaries, engage the services of offshore and Nigerian institutions in the pursuit of the educational needs of ex-agitators,” section 5 of the bill read.
The bill offers ‘repentant’ terrorists the opportunity to study abroad, will be funded by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).
As stated in the bill, other sources of funding the rehabilitation of the repentant terrorists will include- donations, grants, annual subventions from the government and counterpart funding from the six North-East states of Borno, Bauchi, Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba and Gombe.
The bill also provides that the agency would be funded by grants in aid, gift, testamentary dispositions, endowments and donations.
More so, the proposed law provides that the chairman of the board of the agency will be appointed by the president, subject to the confirmation of the senate.
It said the governing council of the agency will have one representative from each of the north-east states, one representative each of the stakeholders, three representatives of the impacted communities, one person from the army, air force, navy, police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps — all of whom must not be below the rank of lieutenant colonel.
The council will also have one representative each from the federal ministries of humanitarian affairs, finance, environment, petroleum resources, North-East Development Commission (NEDC) and the local content board.
Boko Haram a jihadist terrorist organization based in northeastern Nigeria, which is also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon, since 2009 has killed tens of thousands and displaced 2.3 million from their homes and was at one time the world’s deadliest terror group according to the Global Terrorism Index.
The group have carried out mass abductions including the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in April 2014. Corruption in the security services and human rights abuses committed by them have hampered efforts to counter the unrest
Meanwhile, on a number of occasions, a policy of the Federal Government has led to granting freedom to sets of Boko Haram members previously captured and held in detention. More than 5000 members of the sect have been released and re-integrated into the society between 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari became Nigeria’s leader and now.
Societal stakeholders, including soldiers in the front-line in the war against terrorists, had however expressed anger and disappointment as the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is determined to put in place a rehabilitation structure for Boko Haram fighters.
Out of the 90 percent of Nigeria’s unemployed youth who are searching for survival, very few could be exposed to foreign education and employment through legitimate means. But Boko Haram members are enjoying free education in the country and abroad and also well-paid job opportunities. Juicy policies in favour of terrorists no doubt, emboldens the terrorists and acts as a nectar, inviting other youths to join the ignoble trade.