Conquering Boko Haram

Published on 7th September 2015

Nigerian girls protest against abductions

The menace – Boko Haram must be battled essentially by what it hates most – Education. The ignorance of the sect needs to be eradicated once and for all from Nigeria terrain. According to United Negro Education Fund, ‘a mind is a terrible thing to waste.’ The Federal government of Nigeria must embark on a Nigerian Marshall Plan for the NE which is the strong hold of Boko Haram. The enduring weapon is educating the teeming youth that has fallen prey to this ugliness called Boko Haram.  Do not for a moment think that I do not support the JTF initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) the root cause is what I am proffering a solution for. After the military conquest, what is next? I am sure the world expects victory over Boko Haram as demanded by PMB  as quickly as possible, so that other pressing agenda of the PMB administration can be pursued.

We as a nation collectively must be ready to sacrifice for the common good. We must be ready to pay our children especially in the ravaged NE to go school. So that we are not criticized for neglecting the rest of the country, whatever we as a nation decides to do must ensure equity and fairness. From the elementary primary school, let youngsters know that their government cares for them and is willing to give them a chance to succeed in life. The moment we build this patriotic fervor in our children, it will be very hard for sects like BH to hijack them from the wheel of progress they know will be the end result.

It is often said that an extraordinary situation demands an extraordinary solution. This is what we must be prepared for especially for the NE.  Our educational system needs a total overhaul.  From our Pre-K to the university level, the standard is nothing to be proud of. 

The current 6-3-3-4 system should become a mandatory 6-3-3-2 fully financed by the federal government. This is the breakdown that will help move our nation forward: Elementary/primary 6 years, where our children are introduced to compulsory sport and athletic activities, a second language and instrument playing; Junior high school 3 years; STEMAI (Science-Technology-Engineering Mathematics, Agriculture & Investment) should be mandatory for every student including at their senior high school 3 years. Apprenticeship/community colleges/polytechnics 2 years, where they can learn trades like plumbing, fashion design, electrical training,  mechanized farming, nursing, dentistry, radiology, laboratory, real estate management, surveying, hotel and hospitality, tourism, film making etc free and fully paid for by our government.

If we are committed to doing this, Nigeria would have provided every child a tool to succeed in life and become a productive member of our society.  The investment that we have expended on each child will bear incredible wealth that there will not be need to build prisons and other facilities that will incarcerate our young men and women. No terrorist organization will be able to successfully lure these able, patriotic, educated, vibrant, productive youth to do their ugly acts of terrorism.  At this point, an average Nigerian supported by the government would have attained a level of independence to choose to advance his/her educational and professional career after working and saving for advancement or pursue the trade that they have learnt and strife to become experts and entrepreneur.

University/ professional level should become optional that the government should provide loans, grants and scholarship for the students. The current NYSC should be re-organized for 2 years, the first year compulsory military training and the second year community service for every graduate of our university institutions. If we go this route ensuring that every Nigerian knows that the government is there for their well being, each of us will be ready to give back to our nation the best patriotism, and contribution to the wellness, progress and advancement of our nation.

It is high time for us as a nation to think outside of the box.  Pay our youngsters in poverty terrains of the country. Possibly pay their parents also to let these youngsters go to school, so that they avoid being idle and radicalized.

By Charlie Oribamise
Minneapolis, MN USA

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