The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) have agreed to activate community-based platforms for preventing and responding to violent extremism across Nigeria.
This was disclosed at a validation meeting of the study on Preventing and Responding to Violent Extremism (PCVE) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and selected states in Nigeria which held recently in Abuja.
The growth of violent extremism and the devastating impact of groups promoting violent ideologies is not only setting in motion a dramatic reversal of development gains already made, but threatening to stunt prospects of development for decades to come.
The Team Lead, Governance, Peace and Security, UNDP, Mr. Matthew Alao, said the essence of the validation meeting was to bring on board the stakeholders that contributed to the research work carried out on PCVE in five states and FCT. He noted that UNDP’s partnership with ONSA revolved around three major areas: Strengthening coordination capacity; Support security providers and communities to prevent and address violent extremism; and Support to vulnerable women and at-risk youth in the hot-spot areas to play leading roles in prevention and response to violent extremism.
The Head, Prevention and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE), ONSA, Mrs. Aisha Umar Garba, who represented the Coordinator of the Counter Terrorist Centre, Rear Admiral Musa YEM, urged states to develop action plans and community-based platforms to check the spread of VE in Nigeria.
ONSA made presentation on PCVE Policy Framework and NAP at the event while UNDP Consultant, Dr. Gbemisola Animasawun, made a presentation on key findings of the survey and the recommendations. He observed that some states were not taking cognizance of the reality and consequences of VE. He noted further that family unit, illicitly acquired weapons, ungoverned spaces, abuse of illicit drugs, amoral politics, vulnerability of households to extreme poverty, and illiteracy amongst others play critical roles towards VE in Nigeria.
Building on the 2017, Policy Framework and National Action plan for preventing and countering violent extremism (PCVE), the Responding and Preventing Violent Extremism Project initiated a survey to support empirical analysis and understanding of the roots causes of VE at community level to identify underlying factors; explain push and pull factors; analyze inhibitions of responses; and make recommendations.
The objectives of the technical evaluation session included: An authentication and endorsement of the findings of the study; Further sensitization on the PVE National Strategy and National Action Plan among key stakeholders and partners; and Create a sense of ownership among key stakeholders on the findings and recommendations of the report.
The project is designed to address the immediate and underlying factors that foster the growth of violent extremism and leverages UNDP’s on-going work on the long-term root causes of violent extremism - such as weak governance, under-development and marginalisation. It is anchored in a human security approach, which builds a conceptual link between human security and development i.e. “a people-centred,comprehensive, context-specific and prevention-oriented response.