Ever since independence, Nigeria has always been rife with the problem of insecurity in various forms: tribal wars, religious crises, political unrest among others. Many instances of large-scale threats to our national security have filled the pages of our history books, from the 1980 Yan Tatsine Kano riots to the genocidal Civil War.
In recent times, however, a more menacing force has almost single-handedly become the definitive symbol of this issue – Boko Haram. Despite this seemingly choking hopelessness, there is actually a solution to this problem. That solution is basic education.
National insecurity generally stems from criminal acts. There is an interesting correlation between criminality and lack of basic education all over the world. In an insightful paper written by Lance Lochner and Randi Hjalmarsson, titled: “Impact of Education on Crime: An International Evidence,” it was revealed that in 2001, over 75 per cent of convicted criminals in Italy had not yet had a complete basic education. According to an article published by the United States Embassy in Nigeria in the year 2012, 72 per cent of primary age children in Borno State were not enrolled in school. It is hardly a co-incidence that Borno state is also the place where the deadly Boko Haram sect was founded.
Now that the role of the lack of education in crime rate has been established, it is now necessary to discuss the effect of its presence. One does need the backing of statistics to confidently state that educated minds are less likely to be brainwashed into becoming suicide bombers or hateful religious zealots. Of course, education does not totally eradicate insecurity. It is not a cloaked wizard with a magic wand, but it does have the power to mitigate it to a large extent. When children are brought up to cherish education and set their sights on their future, they will be too busy to metamorphose into murderous beasts who put the lives of fellow Nigerians in danger. It is very improbable that a youth pre-occupied with erudition will be manipulated into wasting innocent lives for a cause which is questionable at best.
Furthermore, basic education tackles such degenerative mentality as that which encourages ritual killings and kidnapping. It creates an atmosphere whereby children can embrace intellectualism and national unity, albeit to a limited length. With this, Nigeria is handed the sword with which to slay the behemoth called national insecurity.
Conclusively, it is now evident that the Federal Government needs to focus on basic education against national insecurity as it is the most potent weapon against this raging beast which is ceaselessly claiming lives and shaming the name of our nation on a global platform.
. Olorunnisola is a final-year student of Philosophy, University of Ibadan.