Role of state government. in preventing and countering violent extremism
News analysis by Kayode Adebiyi of the Nigerian News Agency (NAN)
In 2017, the federal government, through the Office of the National Security Advisor (ONSA), launched the policy framework and national action plan for the prevention and response to violent extremism (P / CVE) .
On August 24, 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari gave a directive on the implementation of the National P / CVE Framework and Action Plan setting out roles and regulations and urging state and local governments to get involved. .
“We are committed to creating safe spaces for our people to engage and contribute to the prevention of violent extremism. While security measures remain necessary to address the threat of violent extremism, a whole-of-government and whole-of-government approach is urgently needed if we are to address the drivers of violent extremism in our society.
“This strategic framework addresses all aspects of our short, medium and long term objectives. The Policy Framework will integrate peacebuilding into our efforts to address the economic and social consequences of violent extremism in the reconstruction and stabilization of the North East and other areas of Nigeria recently affected by violent conflict.
“In developing this policy framework, we ensured the participation of several government agencies and civil society, including women, youth, trade unions, faith-based organizations, media and academia, and benefited contributions from the international community.
“This effort has resulted in this strategic framework which will be implemented by all relevant federal ministries, departments and agencies as part of their annual activities. States and local governments are also encouraged to reflect and develop action plans that are relevant and specific to their communities to address the threat of violent extremism, ”the president said.
National Security Advisor Babagana Monguno, whose office coordinates government efforts to prevent / counter violent extremism (P / CVE), said the policy framework is a complementary, whole-of-government and whole-of-government approach to making in the face of threats posed by violent extremist groups. .
“Through existing and new platforms, the framework seeks to build capacity, improve coordination, strengthen the justice system and by integrating strategic communication, offer alternative narratives to violent extremism,” he said. -he declares.
The presentation of the policy framework was a recognition by the government that there must be a broad structure capable of underpinning the various interventions launched to address the threat of violent extremism in the country.
The policy framework has four basic objectives, namely: to institutionalize, integrate and coordinate P / CVE programs at national, state and local levels; and strengthen the accessibility of the justice system and respect for human rights and the rule of law.
Others are: building the capacity of individuals and communities to prevent and counter violent extremism and to recover from violent events; and institutionalize, mainstream and mainstream strategic communication into P / CVE programs at all levels.
Since becoming the NSA, Monguno has strengthened the CTC to lead the implementation of the policy framework and national action plan for preventing and countering violent extremism.
Through collaboration with bilateral and multilateral organizations, as well as with partner countries, the Office has engaged in significant efforts leading to significant achievements of Nigeria’s P / CVE program objectives.
For example, in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Office developed the Demobilization, Dissociation, Reintegration and Reconciliation (DDRR) action plan for the country.
An operational project team (OPT) was also formed to monitor the implementation of the DDRR.
The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), recently launched the STRIVE Juvenile project in Nigeria aimed at prevent and respond to violence against children in terrorist groups and violent extremists.
Through this new STRIVE action, action would be taken to develop cohesive strategies that better serve and protect children by strengthening safe and resilient communities, in which human rights and the rule of law guide the approach to children. the fight against violent extremism.
At the launch, Monguno, represented by Rear Admiral YEM Musa, Head of the CLC, said that “the launch of the STRIVE Juvenile project provides an opportunity to demonstrate the Nigerian government’s strong commitment to fighting terrorism and underscores our efforts. in the fight against terrorism. prevent and combat violent extremism affecting children ”.
Additionally, in partnership with UNDP, it is undertaking a series of P / CVE awareness workshops targeting the National Youth Service Corps, which could lead to an effective grassroots P / CVE community outreach network.
However, although President Buhari persuaded states and local governments to replicate the action plan to address specific needs, state participation in P / CVE programs has been minimal.
In updating the policy framework and national action plan for P / CVE, it is important that government at all levels integrates and integrates the federal government’s P / CVE efforts.
Some states have shown notable interest; for example, Nigeria is a beneficiary country of the Global Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience and the states of Kaduna and Kano are members of the Strong Cities Network.
However, much remains to be done on the part of states and local governments, whose communities are directly at risk of violent extremism and radicalization.
NAHO has made efforts to more actively involve states in its P / CVE programs in line with the first central objective of the policy document.
In 2017, as part of the implementation of the policy framework, the Office established a partnership with UNDP to organize PCVE awareness and community advocacy workshops in five northern states (Kogi, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau and Territoire of the federal capital).
The workshop aimed to sensitize communities and stakeholders on how to integrate efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism.
NAHO sent a team of facilitators to visit states to organize workshops with stakeholders to bring the benefits of the strategy to them.
It also provided the ability for state-level MDAs to integrate the implementation of federal government P / CVE programs into the fight against terrorism.
It’s not hard to see why collaboration is essential to any modern effort to counter violent extremism and terrorism.
At the government level, whenever there is a terrorist attack, federal, state and local governments bear both the burden and the loss.
In the past, the argument had always been that response efforts at the national level lacked adequate coordination and harmonization.
However, the current ONSA has since made coordination, interagency collaboration and strategic communication core principles that drive government P / CVE programs, as it understands that the multiplicity of uncoordinated efforts can be countered. productive.
Under the current policy framework, states are encouraged to appoint national P / CVE coordinators to implement national P / CVE action plans.
The policy framework and the national plan of action for preventing and countering violent extremism are expected to be revised every three years.
Therefore, key aspects of its next review should include a very specific definition and clarification of the appropriate roles and responsibilities of states and local governments, as is clearly the case for MDAs.
In addition, NAHO should continue to provide expertise, research and support to states to enable them to increase their level of participation in federal government P / CVE programs. (NAN features)
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