From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
A new regional research group, Northeast Research Development and Consultative Forum, said on Thursday, that its preliminary research systems have discovered why Boko Haram activities and other related crimes have been on the rise lately.
The Forum confirmed that outcome of the research which focused on the security situation in the northeast indicated that low economic indicators as well as prolonged neglect, economic and human capital, in the region was responsible for the periodic rise in insurgents’ activities in the region.
President of the Forum, Dr. Abubakar Kagu, who addressed journalists on the outcome of their conference in Abuja, expressed optimism that the Forum would serve as part of recovery plan for the development of the region via reliable research and data that would help government achieve its recovery plans for the region.
Kagu said: “The decade old conflict of Boko Haram has evidently affected the region in ways that has exacerbated its pre-existing socioeconomic challenges. Available data revealed that northeast region has lowest developmental indices when compared to the rest of Nigeria even prior to the crisis.
“These low economic indicators was seen by scholars and commentators as among the components that strengthened the ability of Boko Haram insurgents to recruit more people into their camps. And that led to the discussion that birthed the Northeast Research and Consultative Forum some months ago.”
The Forum’ President, however, agreed that, though, there was significant improvement as regards security in the region few years ago, but the resurgence of hostilities and unending attacks on innocent Nigerians has become a cause for worry for the government and Nigerians.
He said: “A lot of things have changed in the region since 2015 particularly as it concerns security and humanitarian affairs. But more action is required to consolidate on whatever achievements have been made, which, unfortunately, is absent.
“We would continue to advocate and amplify the voices of people of the northeast region. But in doing this, we would reach out to every institution and individuals that have a stake in the rebuilding of the northeast as long as we are convinced that they have genuine intentions for the region.
“We will look at the derivatives and other opportunities to ensure that they work for the benefit of the devastated people of the northeast.”
He stressed the need for international collaborations, particularly from the neighboring countries, insisting that northeast region is peculiar in different ways.
He added: “The peculiarity of the northeast is that some of its state, particularly Borno state, is that it is bigger than some African countries in terms of land mass, and it has a lake Chad which is the biggest in Africa.
“In addition to that, it neighbors three countries, namely, Chad, Niger and Cameroon, and its borders are porous that enables people to walk in and out unchecked.”