No study of Quranic education. Unlike the

No meaningful analysis can be made of the factors that
facilitated the spread of Boko Haram without considering the educational
disparity between the Northern and the Southern part of Nigeria. This disparity
could be traced to historical events related to pre-independence era and the
colonial era. On the one hand, the time Western education arrived at the shores
of Nigeria through the colonial cum Christian missionaries, Moslems, who were
the majority in the North, rejected Western education because it was perceived
as a means by the Christian missionaries to Christianize the country. On the
other hand, Muslim Northerners retained the traditional religious schools,
popularly referred to as ‘Tsangaya. These were Islamic schools dedicated to the
study of Quranic education. Unlike the Northern of the country, the Missionary
was accepted by the South. They embraced it whole heartedly, and thus made
considerable progress in education ahead of their Northern counterparts. This
created a gap in the level of education which has remained till today and could
be considered responsible for the spread of Boko Haram belief and ideology
(Abdulmalik et al 2009).

 Consequently,
disparities thus emerged between the levels of education of the natives of the
two regions. Relative to their share of the national population, the Northern
zone contributes less than 30% of the young people going to university (DHS,
2011). This is a further attestation to the widespread discrepancies in primary
school and secondary school enrollments between the two regions (see Table 1
and 2 below). The casual effect of this gap and discrepancies in primary school
and secondary school enrollments is that without a primary and secondary
education – many of the Northern children of the country would never advance to
the level of attaining a university education. In the same vein, a report by
the National Population Commission found that literacy rates are much lower
among states in the Northern part of the country than in any other geopolitical
zone (NPC and RTI International, 2011). Be that as it may, the report above
does not erase the fact that some leaders and followers of Boko Haram are university
graduates and flesh and blood of influential leaders of the country and
affluent backgrounds. It is thus evidence that without any formal educational
system most of the children fall back on the traditional Islamic school system.
It is an open secret that many of these schools lack formal structures and
curriculum but are orthodox interpretations of Islam which abhors Western
education. One of such traditional religious school was the Mohammed
Yusuf-founded Ibn Taimiyya Mosque in Maiduguri, which was a school of ideology
and orientation – which qualified as a bird nest for training Boko Haram
recruits (Walker, 2008). Aggravated by the economic situation of the country
which has robbed off negatively on many families in the North – this culture
towards formal education has long been in place in that part of the country.
Such children who fall under such educational culture automatically fall prey
to influential and affluent extremists who have the intent of promulgating
their fanatical philosophy towards recruiting them as Boko Haram members.

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Poverty and social injustice also play a part in pushing
hapless citizens to sign up with the Boko Haram group. Though economic
conundrum is prevalent across the country, but the Northern part of Nigeria,
where Moslems form the majority, is where this economic crisis prevail the
most. Statistics reveal that almost 70% of the people in Northern parts of the
country live on less than one dollar a day – this is too poor compare to less
than 50% and 59% across other geopolitical zones of Nigeria (Spiraling
Violence, 2012). The aforementioned perspective points to the fact that the
persistent high level of poverty in the country is more of a Northern
phenomenon that is responsible for high rate of militancy in that region. From
a wider perspective, many of the young hapless people in the region, unaware of
any other ways of coping with the pressure created by the economic situation,
may give in to signing up with Boko Haram for solace. This poor state of
affairs fits perfectly into the political economy approach for mobilization as
the poor is left with no other option that to view their situation as resultant
of government’s mismanagement of resources and elites’ corruption –
subsequently, the hapless considers joining/supporting such an extremist group
as a show grievances against the state (Wickam, 2002; ICG, 2010). These people
this became like the proverbial drowning man who would hold on to anything for
support. Boko Haram leaders see this situation as an opportunity to exploit and
sway the hapless on their side with the promise that Allah would meet their
needs in Aljanah, which the Government could not meet here on earth.

The sprout and expansion of such an extremist group as Boko
Haram could also be associated with the accession of Islamist movements into
the North Eastern part of the country. Prior to 2001, there was no ounce of
foreign agents or Islamists organizations in the Sub-Saharan Africa. Piombo
(2007) opined that despite the common mantra that “failed states lead to
terrorism” – the case of African states is an exception. Reason being that,
extremist groups in this part of the world have tends to sprout in both stable
and failed countries. Example is the Al Shabab in Somalia and Kenya; Boko Haram
and AQIM in Nigeria and Mali.

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