Children born and raised during violent conflicts now dominate armed gangs terrorizing communities in Central Nigeria’s Jos, Plateau State.
Most of them aged 20-30 exhibit the traits acquired while growing up amid such violence, a Community leader, Mr. Auwal Almansur told MK, Saturday.
“They either survived violent crises or they were born during the conflicts in Jos and they only know one page of life which is crisis,” Mr. Auwal said in an interview during a peace and security dialogue forum organized by a local Concerned Jos Youth Association (COJOYA).
Low in morals, education
The youths operating as members of a violent armed group locally called Sara Suka are however are not to blame, Auwal said.
In his words, “Parents and the community have failed in properly bringing up their children.
“The government has equally failed in delivering its welfare and security obligations thereby encouraging restiveness.”
Most of them in the words of the Chairman of COYOTA, Barr. Buhari Nashehu are also School dropouts with low Western or Islamic education.
Distant from religious preaching
The situation is more disturbing as a lot of them that constitute the violent groups hardly attend religious gatherings to listen to life-changing sermons.
“Even when they come, they are either late or they hang outside the Mosques and therefore miss the larger part of the preachments,” The Deputy Chief Imam of Jos, Sheikh Isma’il Adam told MKB.
The religious leader who was also a guest at the COJOYA gathering, however, believes visiting the supposed thugs in their hideouts with the gospel might pull them off the act.
A peace and security expert, Mr. Sani Suleiman, however, suggested at the forum, an investigation of the “push and pull” factors behind the involvement of the youths in violence before any corrective step could be taken.
He, however, believes that both punitive and nonviolent approaches would be needed to curb the menace.
The Sara Suka armed group, comprised of mainly youths, aged 14-30 years recently became famous for gang violence, assassinations and armed robbery using deadly weapons in the Plateau State capital city.
It is believed to have started as a political support group, funded by prominent politicians in northeastern Bauchi State.
Securities have so far only made promises but not arrested and prosecuted one member.