Nigeria News

The Troubled Northern Part of Nigeria

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Nigeria News takes a look at the troubled northern part and how it all began.

I firstwitnessed the long queue of “Almajaris” in the ancient city of Kanoabout 16 years ago. It was during a visit to Sabo Geri, Kano with the lateDirector General of National Agency For Food, Drug Administration And Control,NAFDAC, Professor Dora Akunyili.

Akunyili leda group of journalists to the Sabo Geri Market on a clamp down exercise on fakedrugs in Kano and during this exercise, the obscenity and by extension theculture of “Almajaris” was there for us to see.

Hundreds ofchildren between the ages of three and 10 with bowls and plates in their handsqueued and waited endlessly in the sun with the expectation that“Mana” would fall from the passersby.

Of course, I had read about “Almajaris” but in 2003, I could infer that this habit had become a culture, a normal life in some parts of the north, including Borno State where many of them later transformed to the dreaded Boko Haram.

FormerPresident Goodluck Jonathan government did a lot to curb the excesses ofAlmajaris by creating schools for this set of people, “the Almajaris”schools with the motive of taking them out of the streets.

His effortscould only do little, the Almajaris are still on the streets while the olderones among them have metamorphosed to bandits, Boko Haram and Armed robbers.

The presenttrouble in the north was brewed years ago by the past governments that caredless about the growing rate of out of school children.

As thepopular human rights crusader, Malala Yousafzai puts it, ‘You can killterrorists with guns but you can only kill terrorism with education.”

Northeast Nigeria has been terrorised so hard by Boko Haram in the last eight years that the government had to move the Army headquarters to Maiduguri to stop the killings of innocent Nigerians.

This terror attack later extended to Yobe, Zamfara, Adamawa States. The insurgents do not only kill, but they abduct schoolgirls and initiate them into suicide bombing.

It was easyfor the terrorist group to lure the uneducated, former Almajaris into the sectsince the government is not ready to take care of them.

The genesisof Boko Haram is no more a news. It was a consequence of political injusticeand misrule by past and current governments.

Thepolitical elites ignorantly and selfishly bred terrorism in the north. To me, Ido not see any difference from the marauder Herdsmen who have become killersquad and the Boko Haram insurgents.

A close lookat the mode of operation of killer herdsmen shows that a large number of themmay have been members of Boko Haram at one time.

Theabduction of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief OluFalae by Herdsmen was a good example of how Boko Haram members hadmetamorphosed to kidnappers.

Abuja-Kaduna way has since become a no go area for Nigerians. The bandits kill, abduct and rob innocent citizens at will.

At present,more Nigerians now use the Kaduna-Abuja railway as the safest route to get totheir destination.

Many youthsin the north have resorted to banditry as a way of living since the governmenthas failed to provide employment opportunities for them.

Interestingly,some of the bandits are graduates who think that the only way to take their ownshare of the national cake is by abducting the children of the elites for aransom.

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