Imrana Alhaji Buba

Country representing

Nigeria

Languages

Hausa
Fulani

Education

  • University of Maiduguri, Nigeria & University of Edinburgh, UK.
  • BSc. Political Science (First Class) & MSc. Africa and International Development
  • Leading Change course at the University of Cambridge, Conflict Management training at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), Civic Leadership training at Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA)

Current organisation

Youth Coalition Against Terrorism (YOCAT)

Current role

Founder/Coordinator

Skills and Expertise

Activism
Community management
Fundraising
Project management
Teaching and training

Areas of interest

Education
Human Rights
Interfaith Dialogue
Peace and Conflict
Youth Unemployment

Website & Social Links

I am passionate about

I am passionate about peace building and I have been engaged in peace-building work for over six years now. My work is centered on weakening the appeal of violent extremism through counter-radical peace education programs in schools and villages of north-eastern Nigeria. I live in north-eastern Nigeria, the hotbed of Boko Haram insurgency. Two of my family members have been victims of a bomb blast during one of the several attacks, my neighbor and his father were murdered in cold blood, and one of my friends was kidnapped for almost 3 weeks until his father was able to pay a ransom of 10 million naira. These horrific incidences hardened and fueled in me the thirst to stop this bloodshed. However, my final decision to take action began on a bus in Maiduguri to Potiskum road on 6th June 2010; when I had an encounter with suspected Boko Haram terrorists. They came aboard, check ID cards, and then picked out passengers. They tied the legs and hands of the captives and slit the throat of four of them. When two women began to scream, they were shot in the legs. Before they reach my seat, a sudden telephone spurred them to leave quickly. They marched away with other selected passengers. I was the only male passenger left unharmed on the bus! That harrowing experience redefined my vision and inspired me to set up a volunteer-based youth-led organization, “Youth Coalition Against Terrorism”, to unite youth against violent extremism in north-eastern Nigeria.

Actions

My significant contribution to create a positive change in my community is the establishment of the Youth Coalition Against Terrorism (YOCAT) in August, 2010. YOCAT is a volunteer-based youth-led organization in northern Nigeria working to unite youth against violent extremism in north-eastern Nigeria. It is a coalition of over 600 students, teachers, development workers, and most importantly, all dedicated young activists. The establishment of YOCAT is very important. In less than six years of establishment, it has organized many peace education programs in northern Nigeria to raise awareness that terrorism is not a real part of our precious cultural and religious heritage. Because most terror-groups recruits villagers, YOCAT volunteers visited many villages to meet with their youth organizations to explain the negative effects of terrorism and to offer skills training to unemployed youth, counter-radical peace education for students, and counselling services to the victims of terrorism, so that frustration and hopelessness would not force them to join the terrorists. Since we launched our Security Awareness Campaign in November, 2014; recruitment of young villagers as terrorists has reduced significantly in Nigeria. Many young people are now collaborating with security agencies to defeat Boko Haram terrorists. As a result of which I have been recognized by many institutions. Notably, I won the 2016 Queen's Young Leaders Award, I was selected for the Generation Change Fellowship of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), and I received the 2018 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World Award. Importantly, my efforts earned me respect in my community. Both young and elderly people, including some traditional rulers, are now calling me “Shugaban Matasa” (meaning a “youth leader” in local Hausa dialect).