Stakeholders seek community help over Boko Haram attacks

Nigerian soldiers inspect a burnt vehicle. PHOTO: AFP

Some stakeholders have recommended community cooperation and resilience to reduce Boko Haram attacks in the northeast.

Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, Chom Bagu and Y.Z. Yau made the recommendation in Abuja at the weekend, while launching a book, Understanding Community Resilience in the Context of Boko Haram Insurgency in Nigeria.

According to Ibrahim, who is the Lead Researcher of the book, community resilience and mobilisation could effectively support military operations to end the 10 years of insurgency.

He said the book was a product of research findings, adding that solving insurgency would depend on the people’s insistence that they have had enough.

He stressed “insurgency emanated from communities which have the capacity to end it,” adding that relying on the military alone could not defeat it.

He further explained that the research showed that at least 20,000 people have been killed, while the insurgents have displaced three million people.

The researcher said the high number of victims of insurgency had made it important to adopt the collective approach to curb the menace.

Ibrahim explained that the book also acknowledged the objective of the insurgency, which is to put an end to western education.

He added that 23 per cent of children were in school and disclosed that the objective of the fighters is to bring schools’ enrollment to zero percent.

According to the authors, there has been inadequate an narrative on the role of the people in ending the insurgency and focus on the community.

He added that the research also sought to unravel the nature of the insurgency and came out with a verdict that the country has a high level of structural vulnerability and difficulty in resolving its internal crisis.

To strengthen communities’ effort to defend themselves, he recommended making resources available to enhance community capacity for self-defence against attacks.

Other necessary initiatives that he suggested include strong community leaders, social cohesion, cooperation and communication.

He urged government to address the challenge posed by unemployment, poverty and hate speech and solicited a religious’ debriefing and increased surveillance to strengthen the communities.

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