Maiduguri, Borno State capital in Northeast Nigeria, is experiencing an increase in teen violence as more cases are recorded across the metropolis in recent times.
Credited to be the birthplace of the Boko Haram ideology, Maiduguri has no doubt seen barefaced violence that has in the past 12 years altered its socio-economic fabric.
The hope of an end to the Boko Haram insurgency is naturally expected to excite the people of Borno, the epicentre state of decade-old armed violence but that seems not the case for them.
A recent wave of unbridled armed violence springing amongst the youth population is not only threatening to worsen the plight of the people but could out-stage Boko Haram’s terrorism if it is not effectively tamed.
On Dec. 6, 2021, the Borno State Police Command raised an alarm over the surge of bloody clashes by youth cult gangs, many of which had resulted in the loss of lives and infliction of permanent injuries on victims.
“The group of young persons, many of schooling age, have been involved in all kinds of acts of violence using dangerous weapons like knives, axes to attack one another over minor disagreements,” Abdu Umar, the state’s Commissioner of Police, said at a press conference.
“We have to act fast to ensure that this ugly development is nipped in the bud. Otherwise, the menace of cultism would become another bigger future security challenge in Borno state.”
HumAngle investigation revealed that these violent youth groups do not only fight each other, they also engage in a series of sexual harassment of young and vulnerable females and organise crimes like phone snatching, commercial tricycles and robbing of POS operators.
A young boy in his early teens, in Jere Local Government Area (LGA), was in 2021 stabbed in multiple parts of his body by a group of teenagers because his father ordered him to desist from being a member of a dangerous cult gang. The boy nearly died because it was against the group’s occultic creed to back out.
Last week, the government of Borno State had to set up a seven-person investigative committee to unravel why it was easy for a senior student of a popular Islamic College of Theology in Maiduguri to cut the neck of a 10- year-old primary pupil of the same school using a razor blade.
Mohammed Ibrahim, a Chief Superintendent of Police and Commander of the Borno police Crack Squad, whose team had been on the patrol and raiding of such cult hideouts, said the situation has become a mind-boggling one.
“It will shock you to know that these youth cult gangs violence have become a trend amongst the young people. There are over 200 such groups spread across Maiduguri alone. It is so bad that every street has its kind of fraternity with its unique belligerent names,” Ibrahim said.
The Commissioner of Police, Abdu Umar, had recently, in a chat with HumAngle, said the command was not sleeping over the issue of youth violence.
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