A civil society group, Centre for Democracy and Development, has said that Boko Haram uses blackmail to extort money from abducted victims’ families in its desperate attempt to raise funds for its activities.
The group said its investigations also showed that the deadly sect had been forcing parents to give their daughters in marriage to insurgents.
CDD spokesperson, Musa Shalangwa, said this during a meeting on ‘Strengthening of the Coordination of Peace-building and Reintegration Efforts in Northeastern Nigeria,’ organised by the Presidential Committee on North-East Initiative in collaboration with CDD on Wednesday in Abuja.
The CDD and PICNI also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate and facilitate the development of a coordinated peace-building plan and a comprehensive response and reintegration architecture for the communities in the North-East.
Shalangwa said that in spite of the improved security in the region, the Boko Haram sect was still taking hostages for ransom, noting that families were being coerced into paying for the release of their abducted relations.
“Boko Haram is engaging in blackmail and inducement to raise money; they also force families to pay before releasing their members and some parents were being made to give their daughters in marriage to Boko Haram members. Our investigation indicated that these things are still going on in the region,” he said.
The CDD official stressed the need to address duplication of roles by various local and international non-governmental organisations operating in the North-East, noting that the people were tired of getting handouts and simply wanted to live their normal lives.
Vice-Chairman, PICNI, Alhaji Tijjani Tumsah, stated that the improved security situation in the North-East had facilitated a corresponding high impact in the delivery of humanitarian services to millions of displaced persons within and outside the region.
He said that his committee was committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that primary and secondary drivers of insurgency were addressed.
“In the last five months, the PICNI has intensified efforts aimed at coordinating the inputs by diverse actors working on peace-building and reintegration in the North-East and this has yielded several outcomes,” Tumsah said.