The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), an NGO, has harped on the need for digital empowerment in North Eastern rural communities to curb insurgency and promote peace building.
Mr Yunusa Ya’u, the Executive Director CITAD, made this known on Friday in Abuja at a press briefing themed: ‘Addressing Boko Haram insurgency using a non kinetic approach’.
According to him, there is the need for digital empowerment of youths in communities of North East States that had been affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Ya’u said: “We believe that one of the contributors to the ongoing insurgencies over the years is hunger, while the military will continues recording success in neutralising them, there is no guarantee that lasting peace would be established through their actions alone.
“We need to establish systems and strategies that will hinder unemployed people from going to replace those killed.
“ In other words, without undercutting their reservoir of recruitment, there would always be more people joining the battle lines on behalf of the insurgents for daily bread.
“When there is hunger, people can go as far as joining insurgents both willing and unwilling for tea and bread.
“So, there is a pressing need to equip these people with the knowledge of technology and how to use it because the majority did not go to school and were not digitally trained.”
He said that in order to make digital entrepreneurs, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) needed to reach out to the rural communities and creating a system in which data would be captured.
“ In order to successfully empower the people in rural communities, they need to have their data captured to enable company registration and bank transactions, among others.
“Nigeria is about to step into a cashless policy, so this calls for a pressing need to capture several millions of citizens living in the rural areas.
“This also will go a long way to determine those involved in crimes and they can easily be apprehended.
“But most importantly, it will give rural citizens a database and access to financial flow which will cut off the recruitment of people to join Boko Haram, thereby promoting peace,” Ya’u said.
He also added that the centre would soon launch a programme named “Digital and Innovative Venture for Young Girls”.
Ya’u said: “Through this programme, we aim at engaging more women in this digital empowerment because they constitute the largest victims of the insurgency.
“This will keep them busy and reduce traumatic experiences they must have had from losing their family members and it will also afford them a second chance in life to start all over again.
The centre also called on all citizens and stakeholders to be actively involved in restoration of peace and providing assistance for digital empowerment services.”