A new study has come up with a damming revelation that Boko Haram leaders are harvesting low literacy level in North East Nigeria, which makes it easy to recruit fighters.
The Tony Blair Institute on report released on Friday identified education gaps as giving the insurgents upper hand to convince their recruits.
The report headlined “Violent Extremism in Sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from the Rise of Boko Haram’, touched on key factors on how the revolution emerged and its quick spread in different parts of the country.
One key finding in the report is the low level of education in North-Eastern Nigeria which it said has led to the domination of Boko Haram in the region.
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-school certificate level; or who came from well-to-do families, they counted as few among the many – and remained the exception, said the report.
The report, called on government to develop policies that will guarantee access to education in the affected region to serve as a weapon of resistance, adding, “prioritise soft-power policy programmes; that aim to equip communities with the basic skills to dispute as well as counter extremist narratives.”
“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 suggested.
According to the report, “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,”
“For those unfamiliar with formal study; Boko Haram’s preaching sessions; and well-rehearsed stories of Islam as well as 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 also built a robust system of proselytisation; by targeting those who are most vulnerable to their rhetoric.”