Sunday, December 5, 2021

Nigeria must look beyond kinetics to address violent extremism, says NSA

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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The National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, says kinetic approach alone cannot eradicate the threats of terrorism and other forms of extreme violence and their devastating effects.

Mr Monguno stated this during a Three-Day Masterclass on Strengthening Nigeria’s Implementation of the Policy Framework and National Action Plan, NAP, for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, PCVE, in Nigeria, on Wednesday in Abuja.

The masterclass was organised for PCVE officers and NAP Steering Committee members by the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, in collaboration with the Government of Netherlands.

Mr Monguno, who was represented by the Coordinator, Counter Terrorism Centre in ONSA, Rear Adm. Yaminu Musa, said the government had also adopted the non-kinetic or soft approach by developing a policy framework and action plan for preventing and countering violent extremism.

He said the policy framework recognised the integrated roles of government agencies with the larger society as critical by adopting a “Whole-of-Government” and a “Whole-of-Society approach”.

He said it encourages the active participation of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), as well as critical stakeholders from different sectors of the civil society such as religious actors, youth, teachers, women, law enforcement, the media and community based organisation.

“This is essential in order to build networks of peace that create safe and resilient communities across Nigeria, in which human rights and the rule of law guide the approach to combating violent extremism.

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“The development and implementation of a policy framework prioritises the strengthening of institutions and coordination; access to justice, rule of law, and human rights approaches; engaging communities and building resilience; and integrating strategic communication in PCVE Programmes.

“To enhance the coordination of implementation of the PCVE framework and action plan the government constitute the PCVE steering committee and a functional Secretariat reflecting the broad range of stakeholders across government and civil society according to the guiding principles stated in the framework.

“The committee is designed to ensure an integrated, coordinated, comprehensive and adaptive approach in implementation of the plan and various levels of government from national, states and local governments,” he said.

The NSA said the masterclass would serve as a veritable initiative that would directly support the attainment of the different objectives designed for strengthening institutional capacity for PCVE in Nigeria.

He said programmes would also help in strengthening communities and building resilience as well as integrating strategic communication in PCVE programming.

Mr Monguno stated that the government was committed to addressing the issues of Disengagement, Disassociation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DDRR) within the criminal justice system.

He added that the effort in Operation Safe Corridor (OPSC) and the Ministry of Justice led prosecution of Boko Haram associates were two key initiatives aimed at rehabilitating repentant terrorists and also bringing them to justice.

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He expressed confidence that the masterclass would increase understanding and create robust knowledge bank that would strengthen PVE committee members across sectors, shape decision making and enhance capacity of stakeholders towards the implementation of the PCVE framework.

He urged participants to leverage on the even to further help in addressing the issue of terrorism in the country.

The Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, Henry Van Dijk, said his country had been involved in proffering solutions towards addressing violent extremism and handling of the repentant terrorists in the North East.

Mr Dijk said the collaboration was to develop an effective way to preventing violent extremism national action plan.

According to him, national security is a dynamic and evolving field ranging from terrorism to climate change, adding that a national security strategy must identify preventive and proactive approach.

On his part, the Coordinator, CTC-ONSA, Rear Adm. Yaminu Musa, said the third masterclass programme was designed to equip and build capacity of the national PCVE steering committee members on the various aspects of implementation of the prevention of violent extremism framework.

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Musa said that various issues that gave rise to violent extremism would be discussed towards ensuring that people were resilient against violent extremism in Nigeria.

“The whole essence is to equip them to be conversant with the various factors behind violent extremism and various way to address it.

“The civil society organisations are also part of the event because in carrying out the implementation of the policy framework is a partnership project across the government and the society,” he said.

Also contributing, Peter Knoope, a Counter Terrorism Expert and a resource person, said there was the need to analyse reasons why people join armed groups like Boko Haram to be able to address the root cause.

Mr Knoope said to effectively fight terrorism, it was important to understand the motives of the people involved in it, adding that there was need to know whether it be financial, ideological or security concern to defend their position.

“We have analysed these factors in the previous classes and it has led to the reduction in terrorism activities in the country.

“This class will focus on some of the historical perspectives, we will focus on coordination mechanism and on how to work together with communities using whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach,” he said.

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