S-Space Graduate School of Public Administration (행정대학원) Dept. of Public Administration (행정학과) Korean Journal of Policy Studies (정책논총) Korean Journal of Policy Studies (정책논총) vol.28 no.1/3 (2013)
From Alms to Arms: The Almajiri Phenomenon and Internal Security in Northern Nigeria
- Aghedo, Iro; James Eke, Surulola
- Issue Date
- Korean Journal of Policy Studies, Vol.28 No.3, pp. 97-123
- State and multinational efforts aimed at containing jihadist terrorism in northern Nigeria have only yielded modest results despite the repressive nature of these efforts. The ranks of the foot soldiers of Boko Haram and Ansaru fundamentalist Islamic sects continue to swell even in the face of the ferocious onslaught on their membership by state troops. In contrast to mainstream analyses that highlight the salience of radical Islamism in coming to terms with insurgent proliferation, this article demonstrates that jihadist insurgency in northern Nigeria is better understood as a consequence of youth bulge syndrome, particularly the low-cost availability of foot soldiers from the almajiri demographic cohort. Abandoned by parents and the state, the itinerant Quranic pupils resort to street, begging for alms and survival. And “street life” exposes the urchins to abuse, criminalization and subsequent mobilization for violent causes including terrorism. It is argued that until the practices of rampant child abuse and state neglect of the almajirai and other vulnerable groups are addressed through better education, employment opportunities and poverty reduction, northern Nigeria is likely to remain a breeding ground of violent conflicts.