Suspected Boko Haram members are reported to be recruiting children and using them in their operations in Yobe State and other areas in Nigeria, sources told LEADERSHIP Sunday in Damaturu.
The insurgents are also luring residents of Gaidam in Yobe State with N20,000 each and other items as Ramadan gifts. Some residents are reported to have received N20,000 each from Boko Haram fighters loyal to the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP).
A credible source in Gaidam said many people in the town had received the amount.
LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered that some families willingly collected the money while others reluctantly collected it, fearing that they would be targeted if they didn't.
"They don't want to be flogged or killed if they reject it. The group has suffered major military losses in the area, it seems to be adopting new strategies to revive its influence in the region," the source said.
Another source who pleaded anonymity said Boko Haram terrorists gathered people, both men and women, and preached to them freely without any fear of security agencies.
She added; "To my understanding as an old woman, this is a very dangerous dimension now because they would end up recruiting our children, because they are using money, everybody knows that people are suffering, we don't have good water to drink, we don't have good roads, our leaders are deceiving us with fake promises."
She urged the government and security operatives in the area to confront them, and advised people of the area to continue supporting security personnel with useful information.
A security expert, Salihu Bakhari, said; "Treating people well is one of the membership drive strategies of ISWAP in contrast to what Abubakar Shekau does. The federal forces must not allow the terrorists to remain in Geidam, they should flush them out so that we would not have a repeat of what is happening in the Lake Chad region.
"More than 75 per cent of the residents have vacated their houses, those remaining in the town could be influenced by the terrorists who have started enforcing some of their so-called laws including leading them in prayers," he said.