Low Literacy Rates, Others Reason For Boko Haram Dominance in North-Eastern Nigeria – Report

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A report from the Tony Blair Institute has identified Low literacy rate, among other factors to be the reason the terrorist group, Boko Haram, gained dominance in the North eastern region in Nigeria.

The report titled ‘Violent Extremism in Sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from the Rise of Boko Haram’, dealing with the evolution and spread of the terrorist group in different parts of the country.

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The report which was published on Friday revealed that the low level of education in North-Eastern Nigeria has led to the domination of Boko Haram in the region.

“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 report revealed.

It further stated, “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.

“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 also advised the government to “prioritise soft-power policy programmes that aim to equip communities with the basic skills to dispute and counter extremist narratives.”

According to the report, 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 explained.

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