Boko Haram’s raid against anything that opposes their radical jihadist views, such Western education, Christianity, the government and even less extreme Muslim groups is plummeting Nigeria into greater distress. The Islamist group, deemed as a specially designed global terrorist group by the U.S. in 2012, means “Western education is forbidden (haram).” The group’s official translated name means “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teaching and Jihad.” However, Boko Haram attacking the principles of Western education could be the downfall of the Nigeria as a whole.
Boko Haram was first formed in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf to combat Western education in their region. Their belief comes in four tenets—one, a stricter version of Sharia law. Two, an end to Western education. Three, death to those who do not share the same strict beliefs and four, death to the government that they believe is corrupt. According to BBC World News, Yusuf set up an Islamic school and a mosque to not only combat Western education but also to train and recruit jihadis; their goal was to create an Islamic state. Yusuf was killed by the police in 2009 and Abubakar Shekau took the reigns, with the group’s methods becoming a lot more extreme since then. Their violent attacks continued and major insurgencies were committed within the last few months. Some of their acts of terror included abductions, shootings, bombings, massacres, senseless murders, and burning homes, buildings and schools.
Their most recent bombing happened in Chibok on Tuesday, where 18 people were killed from the incident. This brings the death toll up to 70 this week, including the attacks on the churches this past Sunday. Other serious atrocities committed by Boko Haram included an attack on Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok this last April, where 200 girls were abducted, thus displaying their adamant rejection of Western education. The group is committed to bring an end to anything that does not comply with their version of Islamic law.
According to a video of Shekau shown on Wall Street Journal, Shekau openly cries, “Others claim to be Muslim but have lost traces of Islam. Why? All in the name of being educated. All in the name of being educated.”
Many public schools in Borno have already shut down, decreasing the civilian’s chance to be educated. In the local university, the number of people applying in 2013-2014 have dropped to less than 4,000 compared to 25,000 in the previous year. In northern Nigeria as a whole, approximately 11 million children do not have access to mainstream education. If these attack by Boko Haram continue, the freedom to have Western education will be eliminated, leading to the downfall of their citizens to actively compete in the global economy.
According to BBC, Governor Kwankwaso of one of the Nigerian cities stated that he sees a connection between poverty, illiteracy and political turmoil. He believes that it is important to engage them in education so that they can be more employable and therefore mitigate the challenges they face.
According to a study done by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, illiteracy leads to unemployment, making them more vulnerable to health problems and exploitation. In addition, 40 percent of children around the world who are not in school live in conflict zones. By attacking western education in Nigeria, Boko Haram will bring Nigeria to its downfall, causing poverty to exacerbate and tension to increase. Boko Haram’s extreme views and atrocities will be more damaging to Nigeria in the long run.
By Joyce Chu