Report: Boko Haram victims adopts street begging, early marriage for survival


A report by an international development consulting firm based in Nigeria, Nextier SPD (Security, Peace, and Development), has disclosed that victims of Boko Haram activities in the North East have adopted street begging, early marriage and drugs as means of survival.

The report titled ‘Entrenching Peace: Assessing Community Resilience and Peace Building Initiatives in North East Nigeria’ was sponsored by the European Union (EU) and British Council.

One of the researchers, Professor Haruna Dlakwa of the University of Maiduguri at the presentation of the report to journalists and civil society organizations in Abuja observed that challenges around the outbreak of insurgency in the North had made life difficult for the people, which led to adoption of some coping mechanism for survival.

He noted government’s assistance did not reach a number of the victims, “Street begging is one of the major coping strategies the people developed. This is not to say that government’s assistance was not there, but it was not going round. Group eating, campaign and enlightenment on the need for them to have forgiving spirit were also adopted.

“Also, the rate of marriage has been very high among the people. The women see it as a means of survival. They also resorted to the use of herbs and charm to protect themselves. Criminal activities such as bribery and theft are now very prominent as some residents became a link between Boko Haram and contrabands such as petrol. The disgruntled elders who have lost control of their family also adopted indiscriminate use of drugs as survival strategy,” he stated.

The don added that criminal activities such as bribery and theft were very prominent, as some residents had become middlemen who supply petrol and other needs to terrorists.

The report, however, explained that some residents of the communities also relied on menial jobs and learned new skills to make a living.

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“Women made efforts to provide for their families by venturing into various businesses including – knitting, hair making, cloth making, amongst others.

The report recommended more coordinated efforts by the government at all levels to effectively manage the humanitarian interventions in the region.

It urged the government to seek the buy-in of the people and ensure their views were incorporated in the Demobilisation, Disarmament, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DDRR) programme for ex-Boko Haram members, for credible reintegration of the repentant terrorists into the communities.