CVE: The Need For Psycho — Social Support TO Host Community Children

Boko Haram crises is one of the most dangerous terrorists groups in history that succeeded in killing over 20,000 innocent people, displaced more than two million from their homes. Boko Haram used the opportunity of hiding in the guise of religion in radicalizing and converting young people in Maiduguri, Northeast and other neighboring countries like Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.Boko

Haram as a group started some time in 2002, and continued to grow until it became known worldwide in 2019, when the group staged an uprising against the government clamoring for Islamic Sharia Law to be imposed in the nation.

Late Mohammed Yusuf, founder of Boko Haram

However, as a young man who witnessed the birth, growth and escalation of the Boko Haram crises, I’ve noticed that there’s a new wave of group of children in Maiduguri, who are forming a new form of groups that if not properly checked will provide the Radicalists a new easy source for recruitment.

It is well known that, after the insurgents were driven out of Maiduguri after the emergence of the youth vigilante group popularly known as the Civilian joint tasks force — (CJTF) Read more on: anything religion becomes something that everyone becomes skeptical of. Whenever one tries to preach peace, do good deeds or stops anything bad in line with religion, or acts as a religious (Islamic) person. Such a person would be automatically branded as a Boko Haram sympathizer or at worse a Boko Haram fighter.

Due to this habit, many people become afraid of talking to any young person perpetrating any bad act. This led to the young children (12–15 age) acting in any way they liked and started creating new groups. They started by acquiring similar shirts with unique colors by every group worn with jeans trousers. With the leader or chairman in a black suit.

Such children do nothing but gather in groups all day long. Seated on plastic chairs by the road side. A CD player with big speakers is place at the center and large sounds of music echoing the atmosphere. You’ll see them sipping Shishers, taking hard drugs and trying to trouble any passersby especially girls. By the evening many of such groups gather in a chosen groups territory and form dance competitions that mostly ended in fights. The worst thing is they neither go to school (formal) or Tsangaya schools (Islamic non formal schools) Read more on:

What made me develop interest in these young children is Overheard one of the groups during their one of their meetings. I witnessed the exact time new members were being inducted. Some of the rules and regulations are: whenever a group matter arises, on will not make any excuse that my parents sent me on an errand, it’s time for Sallat (Islamic prayers) or time for school. I believe that for any average person will remember these rules have very similar traits to the beginning of Boko Haram.

One of the things that helped radicalized and hardened the children is, during the emergence of the CJTF, many Boko Haram fighters were apprehended in the neighborhood and handed over to the military for execution, who were at a military posts located in strategic places within the troubled zones in the city. The children were freely moving around, trampling on the dead bodies as though they’re playing football. In some instance, when a fighter is shot, you will hear the children’s voice shouting in jubilation for every shot. I believe even the sight of the dead bodies and Gun shots have traumatized them and affected their mindsets.

Although I was able to raise an awareness in my immediate community and involved community and traditional rulers , as well as the leaders of the CJTF and we were able to disband most of the groups, and stop further formation of the groups, I cannot guaranty that their mindsets is completely drained of that idea.

I suggest that, Government through ministry of youth and sports and None Governmental organizations should remember to include such children in the host communities in psycho — social support programs in order to relieve them from the trauma and change their mindsets.

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1. Wikipedia