Meaningful Youth Engagement: A strategy for curtailing youth recruitment into banditry and terrorism in Northern Nigeria

The interactions with the youth in Angwai Bai and Funtua communities, on 9th & 11th Dec. 2021, about their challenges revealed that there were no jobs opportunities for youth; high drop-out rates among youth; some could not further their education and did not have skills for meaningful employment; many had not received any form of training, and some had reached out to people for assistance to no avail. 

Further, all the youth mentioned that they had heard about the Late Lieutenant-General Ibrahim Attahiru and had not seen him, but that they would like to be like him especially as they knew that he was a good leader. Additionally, while some youths indicated interest to further their education, others mentioned that they needed to acquire skills; yet others mentioned that their priority was to get employed to support their families. It was observed by the GIAF Team that, lack of social activities that promote social cohesion and reduce social tension in the communities, and lack of employment opportunities for youth exacerbated by high drop-out rates, as well as youth idleness and lack of mentors provide a good breeding ground for youth to become easy prey for terrorist recruiters and banditry.

Having heard from community leaders, women, youth and observed the socio-economic issues and challenges of communities visited, with adequate funds, resources, and partnerships, opportunities exist for GIAF to plan its programmes and carry out sustainable needs-based implementation that would have a great impact on the lives of the less privileged in not only Dambatta and Funtua but also other conflict-affected communities in northwest Nigeria.