NATIONAL Security Adviser Babangana Monguno has said that terrorist groups operating in Nigeria, including Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), are recruiting new members through social media platforms.
A statement from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) said Monguno made the claim on Tuesday in an address at the ongoing United Nations High-Level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States, in New York.
According to the NSA, terror groups used social media platforms to propagate ideologies, recruit youths, radicalise them, instil fear in targeted communities and deflate the morale of defense and security forces.
The activities of terrorist groups had heightened insecurity in many parts of Africa, he observed.
“In the North-Eastern part of Nigeria, the activities of Boko Haram terrorists and the so-called the Islamic State West Africa Province with known affiliation to other international terror networks such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda, have continued to undermine the security and livelihood of the people.
“They are at the same time overlapping into neighbouring countries of the Lake Chad Basin,” Monguno said.
He noted that over a million persons had been internally displaced in various communities in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, while more than seven million people remained in need of humanitarian assistance in Nigeria’s North-East.
Speaking on efforts being made by the Nigerian government to address insecurity, the NSA said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration had empowered the National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to trace terror organisations’ sources of funding.
The NSA further said that the government’s funding commitment to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) had continued to yield results by diffusing tensions and curbing the activities of Boko Haram and ISWAP within the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin.
The MJTF is a joint military formation set up by the governments of Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria in a bid to end insurgency in the region.
But despite the establishment of the MJTF, Nigeria has continued to record more deaths as a result of attacks by insurgent groups.
In April, a report published by SB Morgan, an organisation focusing on geopolitical research and strategic communications consulting around Africa, titled ‘Shrinking Spaces: What elections in Benin and Chad could mean for the region,’ had described the MJTF as ‘sporadic and irregular.’
“Cooperation under Multinational Joint Task Force against Boko Haram would remain sporadic and irregular, in line with the current lethargy from member states arising from perceived Nigerian unwillingness to see the insurgency out to a successful conclusion,” parts of the report read.
However, in addition to recruiting through the social media, terrorist groups, especially ISWAP, also recruit new members by distributing pamphlets to residents of communities under their control.
The ICIR had reported earlier in April how ISWAP terrorists took over Geidam town in Yobe State, hoisted their flag and distributed pamphlets to the residents.
In the pamphlet written in the Hausa language, the terrorists explained their ideologies, saying that they would not kill Muslims who were not fighting them.
They also said they were happy to accept anyone willing to repent and join them.