Time to Tell the Truth

It's time to tell the truth

Don't fall for the trap

For too long our sons, daughters, brothers and sisters have been targeted by violent groups to join them.  Drawn in by a dream of a better life, many left to join their ranks. While many have died, many more have survived to tell their tale. Their reasons for joining may all be different, but of life inside, they all say the same.

Every survivor’s tale is a story of personal betrayal, tragedy and often death.  They all speak of the lies told and lives lost, of families broken apart, friends gone and dreams crushed.

As an Alliance of civil society groups from across Nigeria and Niger, we hear every day how for many young people, dreams of a better future, hopes for success soon turned into a living nightmare.

All survivors tell us the truth was hidden from them, they tell us how their thoughts were controlled and, in the end, how all their freedoms were taken away. For many there seemed no way out. But the tide is turning and every day we see more fighters bravely leaving their ranks and free to tell the truth.

That is why, as some of the most respected civil society groups across our countries, we have come together to help these brave survivors tell their story. For them and for us, it’s time to tell the truth. The truth behind the lies told and the tricks used by those whose job it is to get others to join them. 

Recruiters don’t care for the truth, but we do. That’s why we have come together as the ‘Truth Alliance’, to launch this campaign, to expose the truth and to show how so often it was just too good to be true.

Made up of real survivors and real-life stories, this campaign will expose the tactics that are used, the tricks of the recruiters and the traps set to draw those we love into their ranks. Week after week we will add to the stories and reveal more and more from those who were there, from those whose who once fell for the trap.

But no more.

Disguised to protect their identities, these survivors have one message for others looking to join – “DON’T FALL FOR THE TRAP”. Now outside and free again, their stories are of life and hope restored, families reunited, and friends brought together once again.

Our hope is that for others tempted by the offer of a better life, they can see the truth, think for themselves and see that if it seems too good to be true, it often is. We invite everyone to share these stories, to join us and help others tell their story, so that for all those caught in the trap, the truth will set them free.

Bukar Ali

Bukar Ali is a 42-year-old Amir and his story chronicles a journey of repentance. After 8 years of being a member of Boko Haram, his decision to flee shows that it doesn’t matter how long a person has been a member, if it's right, anyone can turn a new leaf. Bukar’s story is told by his friend, but in his own words Bukar tells others, ‘don’t fall for their trap’.
Bukar Ali

Zaynab Kyari

As a 40-year-old woman, Zaynab suffered the loss of two of her daughters and her first husband. Zaynab was lured into a group by necessity to feed herself and her children. But the emptiness of their promises and their deceit made her leave. Her story is one of despair and loss that she thinks Boko Haram represents. Her message is told by her friend and it is that what was offered to her was simply ‘too good to be true.’
Zaynab Kyari

Halima Shettima

Halima’s story is a frequently told one for many women forced to join Bioko Haram. Not interested in their ideologies and practices, she continuously found herself within their circles because of her marriage to two men at different times. Her goal was to escape the emotional and physical prison the group represented in her life. She is a survivor, strong willed and a victim of circumstances. Her story is told by a friend, but her message to every woman is that ‘they control you through fear.’
Halima Shettima

Zara Modu

Caught between leaving Boko Haram and being faced with poverty and stigma or returning to the sect where chaos ruled, Zara had an almost impossible decision to make. Zara had access to the inner workings of the sect and even had her husband and children as members of the group. But through it all, her’s is a story of grief, survival, hopelessness and a new beginning. Her story is told by a friend and her message to everyone is that ‘your life is nothing to them'.
Zara Modu

Abba Goni

Abba is 27 and as an Amir his story is unique because it chronicles the emergence and metamorphosis of Boko Haram and highlights the process of indoctrination they forced on their members. Abba started with a strong conviction, but still surrendered after realising how disruptive the group’s activities were to his community. In the end he decided that peace is more important than pushing the group’s violent ideology. Since leaving he has since taken it on himself to convert many from the Boko Haram. His story is told by his friend and his message to anyone is to warn that ‘the truth is hidden from you.’
Abba Goni

Spread the Truth

Zaynab Kyari's Story - English

Bukar's Story - English Version

Bukar's Story - Hausa Version

Radio Programme (Hausa)