One of these places was the Sokoto caliphate from the early 1800s in Northwest Nigeria, and where Saudi-funded groups tried to spread their crypto-Kariji ideologies in the 1960s. It is this region where Fr. Ryan says the extremism continues today.
The structure of Nigeria is in shambles and if any progress is to be made in the future, education and building infrastructure must be at the forefront. If the country’s economy revolves around its petroleum industry, “things will just simply get worse,” Fr. Ryan said. Young men not in school and not working are ripe for recruitment by extremists.
The education system is poor and the government is largely to blame. They wrested control of the schools from churches and Muslim groups after the civil war that ended in 1970.
“It was a cooperation between government and various Christian churches and Muslim educational groups as well,” he said of the previous education system, “and that whole thing was broken down in the name of trying to prevent sectarian identification.”
The end result has been ugly. “Basic education is the thing that the government has not proven very talented and able to affect,” he said.
The former Nigerian presidency of Goodluck Jonathan was largely unable to control the military. Disenchanted soldiers, particularly those not well compensated by the current government, sold equipment to Boko Haram. With the new regime elected this past week, that remains to be seen if that problem will end – along with the terror group currently ravaging the country.