Should the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) be armed with guns?

Since the Boko Haram uprising in 2009, the Nigerian government has employed various strategies as counter-terrorism measures to stem the atrocities of the group.

These strategies include amnesty negotiations, implementation of emergency law in the northeast, increase in security spending to the deployment of military force.

In the midst of these security measures, the civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) emerged, first as a community effort, and later as a joint effort with the security forces to help fight Boko Haram.

The civilian JTF has helped recover towns and villages from Boko Haram, rescued women in the northeast and helped identify Boko Haram members shielded by some local people.

Although doubts have been expressed in some quatres that the civilian JTF could transform into ethnic militias, the Boko Haram security threat neutralized by the group indicates an untapped security potential in Nigerian communities.

However, one approach that has yet to be pursued is community security option. Community security option is a model built around proactive citizen-driven communal response.

The group possesses basic weapons and has female members.

The vigilante group numbers over 26,000 in Borno State and Yobe State, of which only 1,800 receive a salary ($50 per month).

The CJTF has suffered about 600 casualties in the conflict, counting both lost and missing members.

The CJTF has been accused of abuses, including slaughtering men beside a mass grave, diverting food destined for starving families and beating men and subjecting women and girls to systematic sexual violence in camps.

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