Boko Haram: Borno Communities recount ordeal, emphasise citizens engagement


The communities in Borno State have narrated their ordeal at the hands of Boko Haram terrorists while calling for more engagement of the affected citizens in counter-insurgency and Counter-Terrorism efforts in North East Nigeria. 

This was the outcome of consultative meeting and recent engagements led by Neem Foundation and The Truth Alliance, a group of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) committed to unmasking the atrocities of rhe terrorist groups like Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP).

In a statement on Tuesday, The Truth Alliance Spokesperson, Mr. Ahmed Mustapha, said this was the outcome of the group discussions with community leaders, youth groups, and residents from six communities in Maiduguri, Borno state. He said the community members from Baga Road, Bulumkutu, Muna, Shikari, Gamboru, and Hausari, in local fora gathered to discuss the impacts of the conflict and explore sustainable solutions to the long-term effects it has had on their lives. 

Members of the Truth Alliance led recovery discussions as the Boko Haram crisis recedes in Borno. The Northeast State, for a decade, has suffered from insurgency attacks, destruction, and catastrophic displacements of persons.  

During the consultative meeting, Mustapha said, one of the participants and a stakeholder from Gamboru, Mallam Goni, emphasised the importance of community involvement in the recovery process. “Our people have endured unimaginable hardships. It is through these discussions that we can begin to heal and rebuild our society," he quoted to have said. 

"Despite the devastation, our spirit remains unbroken. These forums provide a platform for us to share our experiences and contribute to the development of lasting solutions," Zarah, another participant remarked. 

According to the statement, the community discussions were focused on various aspects of the impact of the conflict, including economic disruption, psychological trauma, and the displacement of thousands of residents. It noted that participants also explored strategies for enhancing security, promoting education, and revitalizing local economies. One of the critical issues raised is the need for comprehensive mental health support for those affected by the violence, suggesting significant levels of trauma caused by violent extremist groups activities across the northeast region of Nigeria. 

Part of the statement read: “Community leaders have called for increased access to counseling services and trauma care to address the psychological scars left by years of conflict. Economic recovery was featured, with suggestions ranging from vocational training programs to microfinance initiatives aimed at empowering local entrepreneurs and rebuilding livelihoods. The suggestions and recommendations highlight the devastating scale of atrocities caused by groups such as Boko Haram ISWAP. 

“As the Boko Haram crisis shows signs of abating, the Truth Alliance has taken steps towards fostering recovery of lives that were destroyed. The Truth Alliance, a network of civil society organizations across both Nigeria and Niger that have come together to expose the truth behind how violent and extremist groups draw young people into their ranks, has been instrumental in initiating these dialogues through their Time to Tell the Truth Campaign. The groups want to highlight the significant scale of hardship caused by insurgent groups on innocent communities. This hardship includes killings, kidnappings, looting of properties and the propagation of false narratives which seek to divide the society.”

The Truth Alliance is committed to unmasking the truth behind violent and extremist groups and empowering communities to resist tyranny and violence. Through education, outreach, and collaboration, the Truth Alliance strives to build a safer, more resilient society for all.

In a campaign tagged ‘Time to Tell the Truth’, the Truth Alliance has come together to expose the truth behind how violent extremist groups draw young people into their ranks. Their message is simple: These groups manipulate, they deceive, they Control, they kill, they kidnap, they destroy, and their movement as well as ideology is inherently weak.

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