The 1 GAME Campaign says its activities in Nigeria’s North-East region is aimed at building a new a generation of children who will stand against violence and terror as a result of the education they have acquired.
The organization recently launched campaigns aimed at supporting school children with learning materials and improving enrolment into western schools in Borno and Gombe States situated in North-East Nigeria, a region that is so vulnerable to terrorist attacks and whose attackers campaign against western education.
1 GAME founder, Philip Obaji while addressing Muslim youths in the southern city of Calabar during the Eid-el-Kabir celebration on Tuesday said it would be almost impossible for children to be recruited into insurgent groups in North-East Nigeria if every child received an education.
“I hear some people say the reason for the insurgency in the North-East region is political; some say it’s a fight over supremacy of religion. While there’s a debate about the actual reason for the insurgency, no one has argued about who the foot soldiers are.
“Isn’t it clear that they are the ignorant children and youths who have been talked into taking their own lives by fighting against western culture just because they lack basic education? That is exactly what I see – Ignorant children fighting against a culture that has saved many of us from hunger, poverty and disease.
“Is it easy to ask an educated child to pick up arms to fight for no meaningful reason? (youths answer no) Is it also easy to ask an educated child to pick up a bomb and take his life along with others just because of a dislike towards western culture? (youths answer another no) So you see where the problem is. People mislead our children because they are ignorant and uneducated,” he said.
Obaji also called on Nigerian youths to play a leading role in the fight against violence by inspiring children into embracing education and supporting initiatives that are helping to put kids into school, saying “it’s the simplest way to defeat terrorism in Nigeria.”
“Yes the military is fighting to defeat terrorism. But like I’ve always said, military action alone wouldn’t solve the problem. We need to ensure that the current generation of children do not grow to partake in this evil, and that can only be achieved if we give them the right education, which is what we are fighting for,” he said.
Violence in North-East Nigeria has intensified over the past two months, as Islamists militants fight back against a military operation that President Goodluck Jonathan ordered in May to try to crush their four-year-old rebellion. Thousands have been killed since the militants began their uprising against the country in 2009.
The 1 GAME Campaign is a non-profit initiative that fights violence and ignorance through advocacy and education.