FG plans crisis communication centre on Boko Haram – Osinbajo

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OSINBAJO

A crisis communication centre that would provide counter information on violent extremism in the North-East would soon be set up by the Federal Government, Vice- President Yemi Osinbajo said on Tuesday.

Osinbajo gave the hint while receiving the United States Special Envoy on Counter Terrorism Communication, Rashad Hussain, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

A statement from the media office of the Vice-President quoted him as saying that it was critical to define and disseminate positive narratives that would expose the evil of terrorism to assert the ultimate victory of good over evil.

“For some strange reasons something that appears so completely mindless and almost insane gains currency in a way that gets regular recruits,” Osinbajo noted.

He said it would have been understandable if the terrorists had preached better life, equity and such other lofty ideas, wondering why their narratives had gained the kind of attention and conviction it had received.

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He equally expressed surprise that aside from those who were lured into participating in terrorist acts for money, he had seen people who were well-to-do being recruited into terrorism.

Accordingly, he said government was going to put up a campaign involving civil societies, young people and non-governmental organisations, coming together and interacting to provide positive counter narratives against those of violent groups like Boko Haram, the statement noted.

Hussain said based on the American experience and the happenings in other parts of the world, Boko Haram had a strong propaganda in the media that had to be countered.

He observed that the majority of the people had already rejected Boko Haram but the voices of the minority was being played and re-played in the media causing content imbalance.

According to him, Presidents Muhammadu Buhari and Barack Obama had discussed this issue during their White House meeting in July.

He said that there was a need for Nigeria to develop and disseminate contents that would educate and inform audience about efforts to counter Boko Haram insurgency.

The Special Envoy was accompanied by other US officials including Ms Maria E. Bruwer, Deputy Chief of Mission in Nigeria and Stevie Hamilton, Deputy Co-ordinator, Center for Strategic Counter-terrorism Communication at the United States Department of State.

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