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How Borno can regain its ‘home of peace’ status

Borno State was once known as a peaceful place, but the past decades of Boko Haram insurgency has changed everything. Now, as the region begins…

Borno State was once known as a peaceful place, but the past decades of Boko Haram insurgency has changed everything. Now, as the region begins to recover, will it be possible to return to the peace of the past?

The Boko Haram crisis has forced many young people in Borno State to take up arms and form vigilante groups known as “Kato da gora,” or “the ones who came out of the bush.”  Initially formed as a non-state initiative, these groups were officially recognised by the Borno State Government in 2014 and given the name “Civilian Joint Task Force” (CJTF).

While the recognition of vigilante groups like the CJTF has helped to reduce violence in the state, other groups have emerged that are not officially recognised by the government. These groups, which have names like Star boys, Malian groups and others, have emerged in response to the violence caused by Boko Haram. While the violence has decreased overall, these new groups have contributed to a continuing atmosphere of unrest in the state.

The emergence of new violence-prone groups has contributed to unrest in Borno State, particularly in areas like Dala, Ngomari, Ajilari cross, Gonge and other local areas. Many members of these groups carry weapons and are known to harm others.

If they are reported to law enforcement authorities, they often flee to other parts of the country, like Lagos, and return only after the case has been closed or forgotten. They may carry weapons like knives, deer horns and other animal horns that have been treated with poisonous remedies, making them especially dangerous.

The rise of violence-prone groups in Borno State has had a negative impact on youth in the area, as well as the wider society. These groups often recruit young people, who may then become involved in violence and other harmful activities.

This can lead to a breakdown in the social safety net, as communities become less trusting and more isolated. The increase in violence has also led to an increase in murder and other violent crimes, which can have a devastating impact on families and communities.

In some cases, students themselves have become involved in the activities of violence-prone groups, either as participants or as victims. This can have a long-term impact on their education and their future, and can also lead to further violence and instability in the state.It is therefore critical to address the root causes of these groups, and ensure that law enforcement agencies are able to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.

Some possible solutions required is to increase funding for educational programmes that provide alternatives to joining violence-prone groups, such as vocational training or job placement services. Second, is to improve law enforcement capabilities, including increasing resources for investigating and prosecuting these groups.

Additionally, government and community programmes could be developed to address poverty and unemployment, and to promote social cohesion and tolerance.

Another option is to implement stronger border controls and monitoring systems, to prevent criminals from fleeing the state. Furthermore, is to create more severe penalties for those who are involved in violence-prone groups, or who carry dangerous weapons.

Finally, there could be increased monitoring and reporting of suspicious activities, such as the acquisition of dangerous materials.

Fadeela Mustapha Lawan wrote from Department of Mass Communication, Borno State University


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