The Tony Blair Institute has said that Boko Haram terrorists gained dominance in the North East due to the low level of education in the region.
The institute made this known in a report published on Friday titled ‘Violent Extremism in Sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from the Rise of Boko Haram’.
According to the report, the northeastern states of Borno and Yobe have the lowest literacy rates in Nigeria.
The report said: “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 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-schoolcertificate 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 and 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 built a robust system of proselytisation by targeting those who are most vulnerable to their rhetoric.”
The report, however, noted that 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,” it said.
The report also gave advised the government to “prioritise soft-power policy programmes that aim to equip communities with the basic skills to dispute and counter extremist narratives.”
Source: Naija News