Coordinator, Counter-Terrorism Centre, Office of the National Security Adviser, Commodore Yem Musa, said Nigeria has emerged stronger in the face of violent extremism that ravaged the Northeast part of the country for several years.
Musa stated this while unveiling Nigeria’s Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) at a UN General Assembly event in New York.
The event was organised by the Global Solutions Exchange, a global civil society advocacy, policy analysis, and collaboration platform dedicated to preventing violent extremism and supporting the implementation of relevant global frameworks.
The counter terrorism chief explained that Nigeria now understood the threats of terrorism better adding, the country now has a clear policy direction in this regard.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari, on August 24, issued a presidential directive for the full implementation of Nigeria’s Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.
Musa said: “After five years of experimenting with several approaches to complement our national counter terrorism measures in dealing with violent conflicts in our country.
“Addressing the underlying conditions that are conducive to the spread of terrorism and helping communities recover from the consequences of violence.
“Nigeria has emerged stronger in the face of violent extremism. We now understand the threat better; our policy is backed by a clear evidence base.
“We are convinced that international cooperation works and that when Government works closely with Civil Society, we will always be closer to dismantling the menace of violent extremism in our societies”.
He said showcasing Nigeria’s policy framework and national action plan at the event was a remarkable occurrence.
“A plan is successful only to the extent that clear objectives are defined. When we commenced work on our national action plan, our objectives were not as clear as we wanted them to be.
“With hard work and consistency, further along in the drafting process, we learnt lessons that shaped the plan we now have.
“Importantly, taking full view of our experiences and that of our partners, we developed four objectives that brought coherence to the plan we set out to develop,” he said.
According to him, the Nigeria’s Policy Framework and National Action Plan for PCVE have four objectives.
These are; to strengthen institutions and coordination of PCVE programming; and strengthen accessible justice system, human rights and the Rule of law.
The others are to strengthen community engagement and build resilience; and to institutionalise and mainstream strategic communication into PCVE programming.
“We are undertaking research, capacity building, embedding new systems as well as taking legislative and administrative measures to ensure that implementing agencies are able to undertake PCVE tasks as directed by our President.”
On strengthening institutions and coordination of PCVE programming, Musa said “we are measuring our success by the number of violent extremist offenders who promptly access the justice system”.
On strengthening accessible justice system, human rights and the rule of law, he said “we ensure that while we continue to enforce rule of law based approaches, we fully protect human rights as guaranteed in Chapter IV of our Constitution”.
To strengthen community engagement and build resilience, he stressed the need to provide livelihoods and support victims and communities to recover from the consequence of violence to disrupt the cycle of radicalisation in society.
To institutionalise and mainstream strategic communication into PCVE programming, the counter terrorism chief said the Centre was integrating messaging and countering the narrative of violence in all programming.
According to him, the Centre is taking measures to ensure the use of the right language that express our values of peace and unity.
He said the counter terrorism plan was organic and in between phases, implementing actors have been guided to refine their initiatives in order to achieve the objectives of the plan.
“Nigeria has opened up the space for effective engagement in PCVE. We will work with you to meet our stated objectives. We invite you to partner with Nigeria for safer and resilient communities.” (NAN)