Former Nigeriaâ€™s President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has recalled his private meeting with the deadly Boko Haram in 2011. The retired General warns that Nigeria must address the challenge of 15 million out-of-school children or face more problems in future. Obasanjo spoke virtually on Monday at the 2022 Murtala Muhammed Foundation (MMF) annual lecture. His speech was on the theme â€œBeyond Boko Haram: Addressing Insurgency, Banditry and Kidnapping across Nigeriaâ€. Obasanjo, MMF Board of Trustees Chairman, noted that with Nigeriaâ€™s population of 215 million, 15 million out-of-school kids pose a serious problem. â€œI believe it is not too late to start and say to ourselves â€˜we do not want the Boko Haram of 2030 or 2035â€³, NAN quoted him saying. â€œBut if we donâ€™t do anything about those 15 million out-of-school children, we are already in more trouble with Boko Haram of the future. â€œWe, the society, must be willing to give them education and employment or they extract it from the society unwillingly,â€ Obasanjo noted. Obasanjo said during his trip to Maiduguri in 2011, Boko Haram said they were interested in Sharia and complained that their followers had no job. The sect leadership further narrated their efforts to earn legitimate income to help their followers. The former leader said they decried how the government started chasing and gunning them down. â€œWhat I feared at that time seems to have been happening because in 2011, Boko Haram had not much of external connection. â€œMy fear was: could we be able to get them away from Al-Qaeda and other international terror organizations? We seem not to have been able to do that. â€œToday, Boko Haram and those who have come to work with them are making the matter much worse than it was 11 years ago,â€ he asserted.
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