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POVERTY AND YOUTH RESTIVENESS IN NIGERIA AN EVALUATION OF THE BOKO HARAM CRISISCHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY Over the years, Nigeria has experienced series of attacks and blests in most parts of the country. The violent agitations by militants in the Niger Delta” (MEND). So many splinter groups hide under this body to carry out their nefarious acts of rebellion against the Nigerian state to express their grievances over the degradations of their environment through the operation of the multinational oil companies. Similar groups exist in other parts of the country and they include; the “oduduwa people congress (OPC) which is located in the south-west. They are often called the Afeinifere group. There exists also the “movement for the actualization of sovereign state of Biafra” in the southEast while the „Boko Haram” uses the Northern part of the country as their operational base. This research study will critically scrutinize and evaluate the activities of the latter amongst the afore mentioned political and religious sects, because that is the thrust of this research. It can be deduced that poverty and youth restiveness are instrumental to the incessant crisis that has bedeviled our beloved country „Nigeria‟. People are said to be poor when they experience lack of sufficient income to purchase material needs which often excludes individuals from partaking in generally accepted activities of daily life in the society at large. According to ALI MASRUI in his „paradox of retardation”, Africa is not the poorest of the regions of the world but it is the most retarded. He argued that Africans are richly endowed and as such, they have no reason to be poor. Despite the fact that June 10,2006 marked 50 years of oil exploration and production, and over $400billion accrued to the Nigerian state in terms of revenue, Nigeria is still referred to as one of the poorest countries in the world. This often makes one to wonder how much of this revenue actually found its way into the region where this oil is produced in the way of investment in infrastructure or the development of human capital. Such economic growth is yet to be translated to economic development and an appreciable increase in the standard of living of the Nigerian masses. The economic, social and cultural rights of the people in the Niger Delta which is the main oil producing region in the country, continous to be unrealized thereby increasing and escalating the level of frustration and tension both within and between communities. This increasing marginalization, environmental degradation and the attendant with the multinational oil companies, preserve poverty, perceived insensitivity on the part of the state and failure of the state to ameliorate the sufferings of the people, have pushed or rather forced the inhabitants of the region specifically the youths to the edge. These amongst other perceived injustice have made the youths to become very hostile and restless therefore creating an atmosphere of fear, chaos and tension. This drift to violence has unleashed a monster that is now a nuisance to everyone irrespective of personality. The attack are so indiscriminate that even babies, the aged, oil companies and asset to pipelines are frequently targeted for attacks and sabotage. Having established a relationship between poverty and youth restiveness, we shall now take a look at the Boko Haram crisis for a comprehensive understanding of the research study. Boko Haram as the name denotes, does not have one particular meaning. The name more or less connotes different meanings to different people. The group is a Nigerian Islamic group that seeks the imposition of Shariah group belief (Shariah law) throughout the whole of Nigeria. Figuratively, members of this group believe that “western education is a sin”. Presently, the group has an undefined structure and chain of command. It is of a paramount importance to note that the official name of the group is „Jama‟ Atu Ablis Sunna Lidda‟awati Wal-Jihad‟, which means or rather is tantamount to “people committed to the propagation of the prophet‟s teaching and Jihad. Since its formation in 2002 in Maiduguri by the leader of the group Mohammed Yusuf, the Boko Haram has been a thorn the flesh of Nigeria‟s security agencies, precisely the police force, over its opposition to western education that it believes is a sin. In the year 2004, the Islamic fundamentalists group relocated its base to Ranamma, Yobe state. The new location was named‟ Afghanistan”, and from there the group set about attacking and leaving members of the Nigerian police lifeless. In and interview with BBC in the year 2004, Yusuf the leader of the group was quoted as saying that “this war that is yet to start would continue poor a very long time. Five years later i.e. in the year 2009, Yusuf was killed under the police custody in a violent clash between the Boko Haram and the security forces. Nevertheless, his demise did not quell the activities of the group he founded, it rather made them grow more in aggression. Amongst the various crisis due to bombings carried out by Boko Haram are; The Nigeria sectarian violence in the year 2009. The Bauchi prison break 1st Abuja – 2 nd Abuja the northern Nigeria bombings in the year 2011. The attack on the police headquarters on June 16, 2011. The attack on the ………………….Madala Catholic Church (St Theresa) on the 25th of December 2011 just to mention but a few. In conclusion, at this juncture, this research work will critically analyze the three concepts i.e. poverty, youth restiveness and Boko Haram in order to create a better understanding in the minds of the readers and more so to contribute to existing knowledge of literature. 1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM It is no longer news that the activities of the Boko Haram and other similar politically religious sects have often led to loss of property, lives and even the breakdown of law and order, peace and security in the Nigerian society at large. From the foregoing, it has been observed that a lot of attacks have been made on so many states which includes even the state capital (F.C.I) What puzzles most observers is that most of these attacks appears not be executed by suicide bombers, yet the culprits often get away unharmed. This leaves a big question mark in our security agencies as regards their duty in the protection of lives and properties, and the procurement of weapons of mass destruction to combat this menace which is eating deep into the Nigerian society today. Opinions are however divided over the propelling force of this group, for instance while some argue fact. It is in a bid to eradicate these incessant chaos and destruction which has often led to loss of assets, that we pose a few research questions in a view of obtaining reasonable and positive answers. Thus: i. What is the relationship between poverty and youth restiveness in Nigeria. ii. Does the Boko Haram crisis pose a threat development and Nigeria‟s corporate existence? iii. Is military option capable of lacking the Boko Haram crisis in Nigeria? 1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY The main thrust of this study, is to establish the following significance: i. To ascertain the relationship between poverty and youth restiveness in Nigeria ii. To find out if Boko Haram crisis poses it threat to development and Nigeria‟s corporate existence. iii. To explore whether military option is capable of lacking the Boko Haram crisis in Nigeria. 1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY This study will definitely put the 1cmp on the cake to already exuding literatures of poverty and youth restiveness in Nigeria. Its importance lies in the fact that it is currently a prevailing cancaworm and it is very spontaneous and topical. Moreso, it will act as a guide to the government in their guest the problems associated with poverty in Nigeria.