Will Borno remain a home of peace after the uprising? | The Guardian Nigeria News

Sir: Borno State was once known as a peaceful place, but the past decade of Boko Haram violence has changed everything. As the region begins to recover, will it now 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 ‘those who came from the bush’. Initially formed as a non-state initiative, these groups were officially recognized by the Borno State government in 2014 and named ‘Civilian Joint Task Force’ (CJTF).

While the recognition of vigilante groups such as the CJTF has helped reduce violence in the state, other groups have emerged that are not officially recognized by the government. These groups, with names like Star Boys, Malian groups and others, emerged in response to the violence caused by Boko Haram. Although violence has declined overall, these new groups have contributed to a continued atmosphere of unrest in the state.

The emergence of new groups prone to violence has contributed to unrest in Borno State, especially in areas such as Dala, Ngomari, Ajilari Cross, Gonge and other local areas. Many members of these groups carry weapons and are known to harm others. When reported to law enforcement agencies, they often flee to other parts of the country, such as Lagos, and only return after the case is closed or forgotten. They can carry weapons such as knives, deer horns and other animal horns that have been treated with poisonous agents, making them particularly dangerous.

The rise of violence-prone groups in Borno State has had a negative impact on the youth in the area, as well as on the wider society. These groups often recruit young people, who can then become involved in violence and other harmful activities. This could lead to a collapse of the social safety net as communities lose trust and become more isolated. The increase in violence has also led to an increase in homicides 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-sensitive groups, as participants or as victims. This could have long-term consequences for their education and future, as well as lead to further violence and instability in the state. It is therefore crucial to address the root causes of these groups and ensure that law enforcement agencies can hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.

Some potential solutions needed include: First, increasing funding for education programs that provide alternatives to joining groups prone to violence; such as vocational training or employment services. Second, law enforcement capabilities should be improved, including increasing resources to investigate and prosecute these groups. In addition, government and community programs could be developed to tackle 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. In addition, stricter punishments are imposed on those involved in groups prone to violence, or carrying dangerous weapons. Finally, there could be more monitoring and reporting of suspicious activities, such as the acquisition of hazardous materials.

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