By Lukman Mohammed

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The present spate of violence in the nation is unprecedented and perhaps only rivalled by that of the Nigerian Civil War.

Those who are privileged to witness the Biafran War in 1967 described the loss in terms of lives and property as colossal which almost pulled the nation to its knees. That battle was between one major tribe against the entire nation. Their intention was simply to secceed. They want to break away from Nigeria, their nation.

They fought for three years, and eventually the Nigerian troops over powered them and they eventually surrendered to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

As for the war that Nigeria is fighting today, it is a complex one with our youths being misled and indoctrinated into accepting and fighting a course they know nothing about. 

For whatever reason, the leader of the insurgency described what they were doing as a Jihad and our youths who were woed into it believed that they will go to paradise if they die in the course. 

As a result, thousands of innocent lives were wasted. Some towns like Bama, kala, Balge,  Gamboru and a host of many others in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states were not only deserted by the inhabitants but equally burnt down to ashes and their animals and food stuff carted away by the insurgents. 

The innocent youths used to perpetuate the heinous activities could have been doing something else if properly engaged in any profitable venture.

For instance, in the whole of North Eastern Nigeria which comprise of six states namely Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, Borno, Adamawa, and Taraba, only Bauchi and Taraba states can boast of standard facility for sport. That is Tafawa Balewa Stadium, Bauchi and Jolly Nyame Stadium, Jalingo. If sports in Borno and Yobe, as well as Gombe and Adamawa states is given the desired attention, the youths there would hardly allow themselves to be used in killing and maiming.

Unfortunately, the states mentioned do not have standard sporting facilities to engage their army of restless youths. 

It is high time the governments of such states turned their search lights towards promoting sports instead of embarking on white elephant projects that would at the end of the day be destroyed by the insurgents. 

Be that as it may, Borno used to have El-kanemi Warriors Football Club just the way Yobe has the Desert Warriors in addition to the erstwhile  Adamawa United. If the football teams and other sporting events were encouraged by way of funding and enlightenment; many who were used by the insurgents would have been  professional sports men and women else where, making money. 

Similarly, politicians are only concerned about fulfilling their usual campaign promises such as the construction of hospitals, schools, roads,  housing, culverts, and others; but sport is unfortunately often neglected. Hardly do any politician include the development of sports in his/her manifesto.  

No society progresses where its youths are not employed or engaged.

In trying to give sports the desired attention, states’ chief executives must appoint sports commissioners who has the love and passion for sports at heart.  Such individuals must have at one time or the other participated in the administration or sponsorship of sports in his life, otherwise the menace would continue unabated. 

Governments of north eastern states should consider proper funding of sports sector, so that sports men and women would earn at least something to fend for themselves. Otherwise, the use of force can only destabilize Boko Haram who will only later regroup and cause havoc to the society. 

Using sport as yet another weapon to fight terrorism, would go a long way to stop youths from looking for dubious means of survival and livelihood, such as joining the inhuman insurgency.     Mohammed is a student of Mass Communications from Taraba State University Jalingo.