UNTOLD REALITIES OF THE IMPACTS OF BOKO HARAM ON NORTH EAST NIGERIA

The war against terrorism no doubt is a national issue as it affects all sundry, irrespective of age, sex, religious inclination, ethnicity and even political affiliation. It has become clear to all in recent times than it was, that if we must curb this evil, then all hands must be on deck. Which has given rise to the political and military will to fight and crush this menace. Mercy Corps an international organization, put their statistics and death toll by the sect to be at 17,000 people since 2009, and have displaced nearly 2.2 million persons, and devastated thousands of communities.

In the face of the dreadful activities of this notorious sect, which have been officially declared as terrorist group by the US government, the previous administration of President Good luck Jonathan and other international watchdog organizations. Coupling with the untold hardship associated with the aftermath of their operations, one would agree that it is better imagined than experienced. But in the face of this all, a region of the country remains the most hit from their operations. Which has resulted to untold hardship and decline in development. This region is undoubtedly and clearly the North East.

The devastating effects of the actions of the sect on the region includes.

Drastic decline on the youth population of the region; authorities in recent time has reiterated its stand against the regional youth involvement in terrorism, the statement is born out of youth participation in such activities. And also, the bombing in the region which is mostly aimed at schools and religious centers, have also caused a reduction in the youth population as well. It is also argued in Cleen Foundation’s monograph series, NO.20 (2014) in the report tagged ‘’Youth, Radicalisation and Affiliation with Insurgent Group in Northern Nigeria ‘’ that the activities of Boko Haram in the last one decade demonstrates a clear case of religious-based extremism by youths in Borno State.

This goes to confirm that indeed youths are used as soldiers and also are consequently crushed by the military in their counter attacks from 2009 till date, which has resulted to the death of youths in the region. The big question staring the region at the face is, if the youths who are supposed to be the leaders of tomorrow are drastically killed today, who then would be the leaders of the region tomorrow?

Reduction in regional work force; the devastating youth involvement in terrorism which also couples with sudden death of youths as well, has a worrisome effect on the work force of the region. The work force for both the present and future are affected, as they have experienced a decrease. The remedy could be birth increase or migration, which still, could take a couple of years to fill the vacuum.

Under development; the devastating effect of the dreaded sect, which has caused destruction of social amenities like schools, parks, markets and other government amenities, as evident in the messages of National Orientation Agency (NOA) on the mass media, for people to be vigilant and careful at public places. Coupling with the numerous bombing in schools, markets, parks and other public places recorded in recent times. All these has taken a negative effect on the development of the region, it has made the region less developed in direct comparison with other regions in the country. which is a far cry from what some states in region use to be like, case study Borno State. It has also succeeded in displacing people from their homes to internally displaced camps (IDP), which has reduced developmental activities especially in most hit areas of the region, as degree of hit defers even in same region from local government to local government.

Economic decline; the economy of the North East region is most affected, as economic activities have slowed down to a high level, because in the face of insecurity business cannot thrive. Internal generated revenue (IGR) has reduced because most industries in most affected states have either relocated or cut down their business network within the region, which has resulted to loss of jobs. Most persons in the most hit states have also relocated for fear of being attacked by the sect. there are massive movements out of the region to other less volatile states and regions.

Decline in future regional representation; one of the menace also associated with the actions of the sect is that it would reduce the regional active participation in near future, it is a known fact that democracy is a game of numbers, as majority always have the day. Also considering the heavy clamp down on education, where teachers and lecturers are on the run, students and pupils are left alone, schools are shut down, how would they develop and stand a fair chance of competing with other regions, be it politically, economically, educationally and the likes?

The present actions, has a way of going into the future and in a way affect it. Mr. Ismail a socio political analyst argues that since majority of youths from the region resides within the region, and also considering the fact that their “educational level” that is percentage of people schooling is quite low in the region now, which has made government in some affected states and generally in the north set up incentives to encourage people to go to school, he concluded that, such a setback as experienced by the sect’s action, has gone a long way in distracting and hindering the goal of formal education. He also fears that if the actions continue unaided for about ten years, it would adversely affect the region, in terms of the quality of work force, number of professionals, and generally in the caliber of representation from the region.

Soil degradation; the region is known for its prowess in agricultural activities such as live stocks production and crop cultivation. But all these are fast becoming a mirage as farmers can no longer make the bountiful harvest, as they use to, because of the after effect of the Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) which they use on the land, it destroys soil microbes, soil structure and exposes the bare soil to harsh weather conditions. It also makes the soil prone to erosion as well, thereby reducing the fertility of the soil. A region where majority of the population depends directly or indirectly on agricultural activities, what would be it fate considering the degradation of the soil as a result of the sect’s activities?

Loss of social and communal sanctity; it is a known fact that the primary and basic responsibilities of government is to protect lives and properties. That function of the government helps maintain decorum and sanctity of the society. In recent times with the actions of the dreaded sect causing havoc to lives and properties. And with the witnessing of abductions of family members and love ones, and in some occasions the rampaging of communities and killings in cold blood before the people have resulted to self-help. Where people are seeing resulting to carrying arms and others disregarding social norms and common sanctity. Especially when worship places are on recorded to have been bombed with worshipers inside. Worship places that were ones kept sacred has been abased. Traditional leaders who were ones seen to be symbols of respect and authority have been defiled as the leaders also have been seen running away from their throne, palace and kingdom for safety. What can be worse than this all?

Devastating after attack trauma; after every coordinated Boko Haram attack, the action may have been erased in the face of media and the world, but it still remains fresh for long and to others for ages, as the impact cannot be erased, because some persons would have lost love ones, properties and some even hope. They are left with the devastating effect, sometimes they only find temporary succor at Internally Displaced Camps (IDP), and after then what becomes of their lives?

The writer is a socio-Economic and political analyst, and also a columnist who is void of sentiment. This piece is educational and not political.

Victor Adaha
(Mr apolitical)

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