How Pantami’s Face-to-Face Mentoring saved many at-risk Youths of Nigeria from being radicalized by Terror Groups
- Post by: Ahmad
- July 16, 2021
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Youth radicalization by extremist’s groups has no doubt been one of the biggest challenges facing the youth globally for decades now. This is not confined to developing or underdeveloped countries. Even countries that are simply counted as developed have been battling with this issue. For instance, on the 15th of July 2015, the US representative’s committee on homeland security, US house of representatives met on the topic: “the rise of radicalization: is the U.S. Government failing to counter international and domestic terrorism?” pursuant of a mandate given to them to look for a way out of the increase in terror related attacks in the US. They met to discuss the challenging new wave of terror from the suburb of Massachutes to the streets of Southern Carolina, and to scrutinize the efforts of the United States Government to counter international domestic terrorism. According to Mccaul, the Committee Chairman, “Whether inspired by Islamic terror or white supremacy these assailants share one trait in common: They want to attack the innocent, intimidate our population, and coerce us in order to achieve their ideological and insidious goals.” What the committee observed was that both international and domestic terrorism and extremist groups are pursuing a radicalization strategy, using different recruitment tools.
There are several factors that drive youth susceptibility to recruitment by violent extremist groups in Nigeria, as there are such factors in every other part of the world. Thus, it is safe to say that such recruitment is context-specific, although their goal may be the same. Unfortunately, as put by the above stated committee, “These fanatics have warped a peaceful religion into deceitful propaganda designed to convince vulnerable young people to embrace inhuman barbarism.” Such vulnerable young people need to be saved, and this is what Dr Pantami has been doing from when the flag of radicalization began to fly in the Nigerian space.
In Nigeria for example, the political circumstances have given a fertile space for violent groups to come up and to recruit young and unintended youth, especially with the country’s youth swell, high youth unemployment, poverty and a huge number of out of school children and youth. When a society is faced with these ravaging scenes, that society would definitely lay a convenient ground for mischief-makers to thrive. It is in such a society that Dr. Pantami started as a University Lecturer and a young Islamic scholar. He grew up studying the problems and therefore he grew up with the solutions. One of the greatest weapons he employed to battle radicalization was face-to-face mentorship.
The face-to-face mentoring, he employed addresses the most rudimentary needs of at-risk youth by connecting with them directly, hearing from the horse’s mouth and discussing one on one. This has helped a lot of the youths to attain self-values and attain clarity on the issues they have been indoctrinated with, which also form the basic rudiments of their radicalization. There was a common term then, the revered scholar borrowed from his Information technology, and uses efficiently to debug the errors that these young people have been programmed with. He would call all such radical ideologies “VIRUSES” and would go ahead to install “STRONG ANTIVIRUSES” into the youth, by providing them the most explicit explanations that has the support of a sound source in Islam. Many young people, among which are university undergraduates, secondary school leavers and students as well as merchants doing businesses in our markets were healed of the dangerous ideas that they were hitherto growing with. He follows up such deradicalization schemes with post-deradicalization programmes, which include encouraging them to return to school, for those that have abandoned them, continually engage them in learning genuine Islamic contents, without which they cannot be safe from radical ideologies.
This has helped a lot of young people from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) Bauchi then, to other undergraduate and graduate students across the country. The beautiful thing about his efforts is, he has not stopped, and he still holds such one-to-one mentorship at various places whenever the need arises.
By Dr Abubakar Hidima (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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