AN international humanitarian organisation, the Mercy Corps and Ford Foundation have revealed that recruitment into Boko Haram sect was mainly being achieved through gifts, gratification and promise of protection to members.
This was a product of a year long research done to ascertain what fuels the recruitment of community members, youths especially, into becoming tools for destabilisation and destruction, as well as why some communities support the sect’s activities secretly in the North-eastern part of the country, especially in Borno State and its neighbours where its activities were prominent in recent years.
With the help of locals, who were hired as research assistants, Mercy Corps and its research team went into several communities inhabited by members of the sect, as well as friends and relatives of the sect, and then spoke to former Boko Haram members and the youths who resisted joining the organisation to ascertain their motives for joining the sect or why they resisted joining, respectively.
Their findings- with the presence of poverty, lack of economic and social presence in most communities, and the belief by many that their communities lacked government presence, Boko Haram presented a lifeline, offering economic ambition to attract or coerce youths by offering financial assistance for young people to grow their businesses, while also offering protection to those sympathetic to their cause.
For some, Boko Haram invested as high as one million naira into their cattle rearing business or farming, while for others, as low as ten thousand naira, motor bikes or even sewing machines were distributed, and in return, they were either made to participate in the sects’ activities or made to provide other forms of support, including provision of intelligence to the group and logistics. For those who rejected the offers, they lived at the mercy of the deadly insurgents who did not spare some of them.