IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 3:14-21, it is written thus “…He who believes in Him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God…”.

Those who are involved in the act of terrorism do not believe in God and they are condemned already as the scripture says. It is amazing that at this era of civilization and globalization, some unscrupulous elements can go about brandishing their name as ‘Boko Haram’ which translates literarily to ‘western education is evil’. What do they actually gain from  wasting  the lives of the handmaids of God; terminating the life of persons all in the name of religion.

Terrorism has been a pressing problem in Nigeria for the longest time. The past decade has been marred with many deaths of innocent people as a result of terrorist activities. Terrorism is the use of violence to achieve a certain political agenda. Terrorists use violence as a means of putting  fear  into  the  hearts  of  the people. It has a much wider target than those who become its immediate victims. Societies, in which terrorism occurs, consider it ‘extra-normal’; in other words, it violates the accepted norms that regulate protest, dissent and disputes. Terrorism is mostly used to affect the political behaviour of social groups, communities or even governments. Some  pertinent  questions  should be asked at this juncture: why have they taken terrorism to schools? Why are female students the  target  of  terrorists?  The cases  of  Chibok and  Dapchi  school  girls  are  still  fresh  in  our memories.

An eye witness in Dapchi has this to say:

Somebody alerted us that it was Boko Haram and we immediately asked everyone to run for safety. When the students were fleeing some of them were deceived to enter the Boko Haram gunmen’s vehicle. Because as everyone was running in confusion, some of the Boko Haram men started calling on the girls and telling them ‘come and let’s help’, ‘come and let’s help you to escape’. So many of them were either deceived or forcefully taken away by the gunmen.

You  can imagine the deceitful ways by which they abduct and capture the students.  This is barbaric.

Education is an important sphere of life that can’t be left without attention, terrorist attacks change people’s perception of the world’s composition and laws of the society. Due to this, students are taught in a bit different way – they are called on to react, to prevent future attacks and to think how to make their lives safer from dangerous assaults. One of the most dangerous threats to Nigeria peace and safety is Boko Haram, the terrorist Islamist group operating primarily in Nigeria, has pledged Islamic state in Nigeria and its neighbouring countries. Its militants oppose to the Western model of education and achieve the introduction of Sharia law throughout the whole country.

The militant Islamist group Boko Haram has set more than a dozen schools on fire in northern Nigeria.  Since the beginning, suspected Boko Haram members have attacked, damaged, and destroyed schools in Nigeria temporarily leaving several thousand children without access to education. Attacks on schools by armed groups not only put children and teachers’ lives at risk, but they also deprive children of an education. Even when classes resume after an attack, the quality of education may suffer when students and teachers are afraid and learning materials are damaged. Threats of attacks may also force neighbouring schools to close or parents to keep their children at home. By deliberately destroying schools and universities, the extremist group is sabotaging Nigerian government efforts to improve education in the northeast, which for years has had the lowest level of school attendance nationwide. The devastation has already taken a detrimental toll on Africa’s largest economy and future workforce.  Education is the foundation of a society; without it, development is very difficult.  Before Boko Haram launched its brutal insurgency in northeast Nigeria six years ago, the region recorded the lowest school enrollment rate in the country, especially for girls, as well as the lowest level of literacy and highest incidence of poverty. The insurgency has exacerbated the situation. Over half a million children in northeast Nigeria have had to flee to safety in the past five months, bringing the total number of displaced children in the conflict-torn region to over 1.4 million. In some cases, the extremist group has attacked, killed and kidnapped educators and students. And they use any means necessary to yield damage: they break into schools, steal supplies, deface classrooms, bomb the structures or set the roofs ablaze.

The main threat comes from religious-political groups that want to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state. One of such groups is, of course, Boko Haram.  Nigeria has been suffering from terrorism and insurgency for many years. The first cause of terrorism in Nigeria is distortion and manipulation of religion. Most terrorist organisations, including Boko Haram, use the sacred texts as justification of their actions. However, no religion can justify murder and violence. Their skewed interpretation of religion and preaching of wrong ideals is what keeps them going.  Terrorism lies in economic and social injustices. When people are not secure in their positions in life and have no guarantees of what tomorrow might bring, the most unstable individuals become angry and violent towards others and their government.  Terrorism is contagious. As you might have noticed, there has been a spike in terrorist activities in the world during the last few decades.  It is evident that insurgency thrives from ‘successful’ examples from other countries. It is to be noted that Nigeria is in a terrible state of public education. Nigeria is known for its problems with education and relatively low literacy level. People that do not receive proper education (or those who refuse to learn because it came from ‘the West’) often tend to go a wrong way in life. The incidence of unemployment becomes the aftermath of poor education. Out of this stems the economic collapse in the country, especially in the North. Factories are closing down; people are out of work, with no money to support themselves and their families. Sometimes there is nothing for people to do, which makes some people do stupid things. Ever since the economic crisis, many Nigerians have lost their jobs and are struggling to find new ones. These people are extremely vulnerable and potentially dangerous at the same time. In order to survive, some of them tend to make a lot of bad choices, which might affect not only them, but others as well.

What role is the government playing in the way people gets easy access to weapons of war? Even though guns and ammunition are not sold on every corner, it is fairly easy to get weapons in Nigeria these days. And when people that are already dangerous get access to weapons, they can terrorise others even more effectively. The violation of human rights and vigilante justice has become the order of the day. As soon as people start taking justice into their own hands instead of leaving it to the law enforcement agencies, the boundary between right and wrong disappears. As for human rights violations, it is no secret that Nigeria has a big problem with that. That problem is one of the root causes of such things as terrorism, insurgency and vigilantism. Since its independence, Nigeria has been plagued by internal ethnic conflicts. Even though not all of them were violent, they still became the foundation for terrorism and insurgency.

“Children and educational institutions should be left alone, full stop.”

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