POVERTY AND ILLITERACY:
The lifestyle of the youth in Northern Nigeria is that of an uninformed individual, with an upbringing in a polygamous home; very few of these youths were given the opportunity of western education; starting off from the basic Quranic education in the neighborhood. Popularly known as the Almajiris, these little boys with their ages ranging from as little as 2yrs to the age 20, were interchanged between northern states to learn the Quranic education from other states far away from their states of origin. A single Islamic teacher known as the “Mallam” was given custody of 80-120 kids to feed, shelter, and educate without any funding from either the parents of these kids or the Government; to stay alive these kids must find a livelihood of surviving and to also feed the Mallam’s households. Young kids full of hope, smiling towards an unpredictable future; walking around shoeless with their tattered dreams hanging on their torn dirty clothes. Singing and seeking a means of survival, begging for alms, foods, and items of clothing at motor parks, homes, and the marketplace; other times they do menial jobs such as going on errands and helping others carry pieces of baggage at a given fee.
The crisis in Northeast Nigeria started to take form at the end of the war in Libya (The Fall Of Gadaffi); most of the Libyan fighters infiltrated into Maiduguri on motorbikes brandishing sophisticated weapons, finding an easy route into Borno state through the porous Nigerian border en-route; Chad, Niger, and Cameroun. The terrorists are new to the terrain needing the vibrant youths and innocent kids to show them targeted places in order to achieve their objectives. The north-east youths were the first victims of the terrorists (sects); these youths aren’t educated, jobless and just an easy target to be brain-washed with a wrong Islamic doctrine to fight a war against western education, government appointments, and every form of vice against the government of the day. They were recruited under oaths, trained at the dreaded Sambisa forests; hypnotized, drugged, and stripped with grenades, and given a token stipend to take up arms against western education and the government. They are the suicide bombers, consisting of kids and minors tag zombies walking around lifelessly into mosques during the five daily prayers including Friday Jumaat, sitting amongst worshippers in churches, buying and selling in market places, going into gatherings during celebrations in search of souls to take along with them and turning happy moments into mourning.
CORDON OFF AND SEARCH:
Bomb factories were set-up within and around Maiduguri; bomb explosions averaging 5-8 every single day goes off; fear sets in and market places and business were abandoned; workers flee from their offices denying ever working for the government, schools were closed and books hidden, barracks and police stations were easy targets and uniformed men and women stopped wearing uniforms going undercover. When the soldiers were called in, to curtail the deadly terrorists; their first major task was to cordon off locations in search of youths to be taken away and interrogated but many NEVER returned, they were arrested and killed by the soldiers, tagging every male youth in the state as terrorists. On the other hand, the terrorists force these innocent youths to join them or be killed, inducing them with drugs and the false doctrine of making it to paradise. The stage was set on both sides of the military and the terrorists the youths were killed on daily basis, mass graves of decomposing corpses of innocent people were dug every single day. Mothers became sleepless and prayerful seeking divine interventions to protect their sons and husbands(Males). Thereby forcing some youths to seek refuge under their mother’s bed dressed as females while others flee to other southern states of Nigeria.
DUSK-6PM TO DAWN-6AM (BABU BARCI- STAY AWAKE, DO NOT SLEEP):
The HUNTED becomes the HUNTER; initially armed with just a stick known as the GORA in Hausa; the gallant youths stay vigil from dusk to dawn shouting and chanting (Babu Barci) beating together their mother’s pans, plates and buckets anything to scare-off the terrorists from invading the city of Maiduguri as people sleep. Each day gave the few youths that MUST stay back more confidence and renewed strength, with that they decided to pick up arms to hunt down the terrorists searching every home, nook, and cranny for strangers and unfamiliar faces in the neighborhood; in order to survive the onslaught of the military and the killings from the members of the sect. Consequently, these youths formed militant volunteer groups to stay watch and arrest the terrorists; the government decides to officially recognize them hence The Civilian Joint Task Force(CJTF) is a child of necessity made up of youth groups to manned each location based on the area each youth group lives in. Borno state today is still standing because of the sacrifices of her youths; their blood flood the land of the Northeast and the tears of their mothers still flows all over the streets of Borno state in search of the brave and innocent youths whose souls left so soon.
The Youths are the heart and soul of any Nation; her backbone of standing and staying strong. Parents have a great responsibility in molding their kids as the saying goes… ISLAM teaches by The Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW said; “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you (parents and guardians) will be asked about the people of his household” Nasa’i, Abu Dawood). The Christian teachings, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”-(Bible: proverbs 22:6). The society and government of the day must roll out youth employments and empowerments programs, counseling centers in keeping them abreast of the truth about life and living in today’s world; religious leaders have a responsibility to inculcate religion and morals as it is and not as informed by some evil ideologies. It is everybody’s responsibility to redirect youths thinking and behaviors when they derailed. Youth inclusion in the very fabric of a society is a must for peace and development which if ignored, becomes a time-bomb waiting to explode!