NLNG Corporate Teamwork banner First bank campus storm Fidelity bank card banner Emerald Energy Institute Camano banner

Boko Haram: Children in north-eastern Nigeria now live in fear

By Philip Obaji Jr on 07/01/2015

Gmail icon

Views: 3,168


Hauwa, 16, is from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, a region blighted by years of Boko Haram insurgency. She says fear is with her daily, dictating how she lives.

“I’m scared of walking along roads on my own because I don’t want to be raped for the second time,” she told me on the day I met with families affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in Maiduguri. Borno State as a whole has borne the brunt of the violence that has lasted for more than five years in northeastern Nigeria.

During four days in late October, I was on a mission to encourage reluctant parents in Maiduguri to send their daughters to safe schools working through traditional leaders, youth leaders and the local media as facilitators. In those four days, I met girls who told me they were scared of returning to school because they fear they could be attacked by anyone, including their male teachers. Because of their ordeal in the hands of militants, some of whom they identified as neighbours, they are unwilling to trust anyone.

“I don’t know where my next attacker could come from,” a young girl told me. “I just don’t trust anyone, not even my teachers.”

Since the ongoing crisis, life has never been the same for kids living in the region, as every facet of their lives has been affected by the insurgency.

Children no longer feel safe even in their homes. They also fear going to public places like markets, streams, farms and social gatherings for fear of being attacked or forcibly conscripted by Boko Haram.

As many public schools in the north-eastern Nigeria are now closed, many students now hawk wares on the streets, and some have turned to criminal activities. The situation in the few still-open private schools is no better, as most parents are scared of sending their children there.

The insurgency itself has set back education in an area that is grossly underdeveloped and with a high rate of illiteracy. Since 2012, Boko Haram has burned more than 300 schools in the north and deprived more than 10,000 children of an education. In a particularly gory attack in July, suspected armed Islamists killed 42 pupils and teachers and burned down a government-owned boarding school in Mamudo village, Yobe State.

Figures released by Human Rights Watch indicate that more than 5,000 people, mostly adults  have been killed since the insurgency began in 2009. As parents are lost in fighting, more and more children are without families and homes.

Living with fear of being killed, and without anyone to turn to for protection and assistance, many orphans have joined the recruitment of armed conflict. The militia life has become more attractive to the children, who see a possible future of survival with their fellow soldiers. In most cases, these young soldiers from ages 12 to 16 come from communities where there are no schools to attend and no jobs to work and destitute families. Every year the number of child soldiers grows as more children are recruited into active combat.

Moreover, the continuous influx of Internally Displaced Persons into major towns in the region have increased the number of beggars on the streets, a situation that forced some of them – especially girls – into prostitution to make ends meet.

Millions of dollars, thousands of people's efforts, and several months have all been spent trying to secure a lasting peace in northeastern Nigeria. But these efforts have not gone far enough. A lack of coordination, corruption in some quarters, and insufficient access to those most in need all make achieving well-being by children difficult, but not impossible.

For many children in these communities, education remains their surest way out of poverty and destitution. “I want to enjoy the life I had before the insurgency,” said Umar, 16. “I want to be able to go to school without the threats of insurgent attacks.”

Unfortunately, the fear of Boko Haram has forced many parents to withdraw their children from schools, and this can only add to an already explosive mix of the large pool of uneducated and unemployed youth and debilitating poverty.

Just four days spent in the heart of Boko Haram insurgency made me realise that protecting schools alone, even with the best trained military personnel, wouldn’t be enough to encourage every child to return to the classroom. They need a different form of home education that will help them cripple fear and rebuild their trust in the society.

•Culled from The Hill. Obaji, whose photo appears alongside this piece, is the founder and general coordinator for the 1 GAME Campaign which promotes basic primary education for vulnerable children in Nigeria. He also started a community project, Off The Streets, for street children who are facing challenges of exclusion from school, ignorance, recruitment into insurgent groups, neglect and abuse.

Source News Express

Posted 07/01/2015 8:34:37 PM

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

 

You may also like...
Military invades militants’ hideouts, razes camps

Mr Bigg’s gives customers new experience at Amuwo...

IPOB plans global protests for Kanu’s release, to...

Over 500,000 sign petition to ban Donald Trump...

Jail break averted at Awka Prison

Famous Islamic scholar, five other clerics kidnapped in...

Gunmen kidnap OAU Professor, wife escapes

Saraki surrenders; to appear before Code of Conduct...

10 Boko Haram members sentenced to death in...

Insurgency: 4 new groups likely to rise and...

Islamic extremist dies in shootout with Burkina Faso...

Oshiomole dangerous to Nigeria’s political stability — Gov....

 

Latest News Anya, Kolade point way to a better Nigeria •Stress need to identify, empower talented, visionary youths Aisha Buhari locked out in Aso Villa APC crisis deepens, Buhari, Oshiomhole’s states worst hit 2019 polls: Court awards N20m against Army Nobody attacked Oshiomhole — Edo CP insists 2021: Group lures Soludo to enter Anambra governorship race NDDC: A people’s albatross, By Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa Ex-militants to Akpabio: Develop Niger Delta, take over Amnesty Programme Yellow Fever kills 22 in Bauchi Bayelsa, Kogi politically volatile — NEC BBOG rues missed opportunities to rescue the Chibok Girls, challenges Buhari to keep promise Bayelsa doesn’t need governor colluding with oil firms to sponsor militancy — Senator Diri •PDP Inaugurates Campaign Council

 

Most Read NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (550,726 views) Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (447,234 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (394,721 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (330,620 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (298,840 views) 10 cars more expensive than Jets (263,417 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (255,999 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (253,257 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (234,727 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (220,907 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (198,474 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (195,697 views)

 

CBN milk production

CBN banner advert

UBA Wise Savers Promo

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (105) Business & Economy (4,490) Business Verdict (85) Columnists (1,127) Complaints & Requests (96) Enterprise & Opportunities (217) Entertainment (689) Features (829) Global Business Monitor (464) ICT Monitor (65) International (4,073) Interview (204) Live Commentary (30) Love Matters (174) Maggie's Blog (448) News (52,644) Opinion (1,394) Pidgin (17) Politics (11,569) Religion (1,110) Sports (2,194) Stock Watch (39) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

 

 

 

 

 

APO Group Partner

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera