On record to have been founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002, the group has been led by Abubakar Shekau since 2009. Since its first attack in Nigeria and other countries around Africa, there is no denying that the deadly Islamist terrorist group has caused havoc on the continent.
The terrorist group continues to hold many states in Nigeria spellbound, especially those in the northern part of the country.
If the recent report published by the International Crisis Group (ICG) is anything to go by, then Nigeria has a possible solution to the menace, especially in the area of recruiting new members by the deadly group.
According to the report, while many women and girls were captured in raids or coerced into Boko Haram during the insurgency, others joined voluntarily, some encouraged by their families or following male relatives. These actions reflect government neglect and patriarchal attitudes in north-eastern Nigeria.
"Many women, including girls as young as twelve, were forced into marriage, sometimes under threat of death, and subsequently subjected to marital rape. But for many others, and even to some of the former, Boko Haram also offered a decent standard of living relative to that they had previously experienced"; it said
The ICG is an independent, Brussels-based research NGO which works to prevent and resolve conflict. Its 35-page report is based on field research carried out by the NGO in Abuja and in Maiduguri - the capital of Borno state, in March, October, and December of last year.
It further added that:
"The women who have left the insurgency and are now in Maiduguri and garrison towns all over Borno state could have a role to play in helping end the rebellion... Managing their return well could show their insurgent husbands and brothers, some of whom reports suggest are exhausted by fighting and ready to put down their arms, that both the state and their fellow citizens will tolerate the militants' return to civilian life.
"Since the insurgency emerged in response to concerns about recognition, respect, and justice, the treatment of female returnees is a benchmark for insurgents and many others in the northeast.
"The notion of women as Boko Haram's archetypal victims ignores a long history of women's suffering in the northeast and obscures the ways in which women's aspirations have fed, but also could help resolve the conflict... By helping women who have left Boko Haram return to civilian life in safety and dignity, the authorities can lower risks that those women return to the insurgents' ranks and potentially encourage further demobilization, including among male militants.
"Increasing support for people displaced by the conflict and more generally for the north-east's development can help repair the frayed relations between state and society in north-eastern Nigeria that have fuelled the insurgency.
"Genuine reintegration and resettlement may well remain elusive while violence rages, but returnees and other citizens should be encouraged to tolerate one other in preparation for the day when the fighting stops and the real work of rebuilding Nigeria's northeast can begin."
What are your thoughts?
Header Image Credit: TakePart