The federal government has raised the alarm that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has resorted to financial inducements to recruit vulnerable Nigerians, particularly foreign students into the international terrorist network.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Monday made the warning through a statement, urging parents and guardians to always monitor the activities of their children and wards so that they would not be lured with money into the terrorist organisation currently engaged in a fierce battle with Iraq and international coalition for the control of Mosul.
Mohammed cited the recent recruitment into ISIS of 27 medical students of the University of Medical Sciences and Technology (UMST) in Sudan as an example of the new ploy by the organisation to recruit more members.
According to the minister, a report received by the Nigerian intelligence community, established that 22 of the 27 students who travelled to Syria to join ISIS, are Britons.
‘’According to the report, the students were recruited by one Mohammed Fakhri Al-khabbas, a former UMST student from Middlesborough, in the United Kingdom. Many of the students are children of reputable doctors in the UK. Their social media accounts also revealed them as praising jihadists and championing ISIS’ cause,’’ he said.
Subsequently, Mohammed appealed to schools across the country to be wary of the ISIS recruitment strategy by enlightening their students.
He also asked parents whose children are studying in foreign schools to begin to pay more attention to their activities.
The first time government raised the red flag about the attempt of ISIS to influence Nigerian youth was last year, when it warned of the existence of a newly-launched mobile application developed by the group solely for extremist ideology to gullible children.
Mohammed said ISIS designed the mobile application tagged: ‘Huroof’ (Arabic alphabet or letter ) to teach children the Arabic alphabets with the aid of guns, military tanks and cannons.