ONSA launches strategy on prevention, countering violent extremism



The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) has publicly presented a Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism in Nigeria.

Presenting the document on Thursday in Abuja, the Coordinator, Counter Terrorism Centre, ONSA, retired Rear Adm. Yaminu Musa, said that  the action plan was a major landmark in ONSA’s collaborative efforts to counter violent extremism in Nigeria.

Musa said that the document was momentous, owing to the critical and holistic drive in the national efforts undertaken by ONSA to ensure an operational policy framework and national action plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.

The coordinator said the framework was critical to building a strong, national evidence base around policy framework and national action Plan for PCVE implementation in Nigeria.

According to him, the document as it stands; reflects the will of the people and the Nigerian government to utilise the whole of government and whole of society approach against the threats and risks of violent extremism bedeviling the global space.

“It has been reiterated over and over again, yet cannot be overemphasised that Nigeria has a zero-tolerance for terrorism and violent extremism; hence, the imperativeness of the national action plan to achieve this position of government.

“This plan therefore establishes an important link between the activities designed in the policy, how to monitor and evaluate these activities, while also providing strategic guidance on how to design future programmes within the PCVE context.

“Monitoring and Evaluation strategy no doubt would further ensure free flow of information among various stakeholders, to guarantee more transparency and efficiency in the implementation of the Policy Framework and National Action Plan on Prevention and Countering Violent Extremism in Nigeria,” he said.

He said the document would further guide in defining the scope of activities, establish interventions when things went wrong, and give everyone an idea of how those interventions affect the rest of the activities.

The Head, PCVE in ONSA, Mrs Mairo Abbas, said the activities of the unit was tied to the Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy to enable tracking and measuring of achievements of all PCVE activities in Nigeria.

Abbas said the development of the strategy, which was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017, was supported by the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF) under its SARVE III Project.

According to her, relevant stakeholders made inputs, while ActionAid engaged members of the Steering Committee for PCVE to develop the document.

“It is our expectations that the Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy will serve as an important mechanism to further boost the implementation of PCVE interventions by various stakeholders.

“We therefore, urge our international partners as well as all PCVE stakeholders to use this framework as a tool for effective PCVE Implementation in Nigeria,” she said.

The Country Director, ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi, represented by Mr Andrew Mamedu, said that violence had become fatally routine and a daily affair in the country within the last few years.

Obi said that acts of violence in their intensity, scale, and frequency had become endemic, and rapidly acquiring a pandemic nature, adding that statistics were alarming, damning, and requires dire urgency in addressing the situation.

She said that a Nigeria Civil Society Organisation (CSO) disclosed that at least 14,641 people had died from mass atrocities perpetrated across all geo-political zones in Nigeria between January 2019 and December 2021.

According to her, this figure includes 6,895 fatalities because of mass atrocities in 2021 compared to 4,556 in 2020 and 3,188 recorded in 2019.

“This trend is not declining; instead it shows a significant increase of more than 116 per cent over the 2019 figure in 2021.

“Within the last 6 years, ActionAid has successfully implemented the first and second phases of a System and Structure Strengthening Approach against Radicalization to Violent Extremism (SARVE) project in Kogi, Nasarawa and most recently, Kano and Kaduna state.

“Within this period, the project, funded by GCERF supported building of community resilience against radicalisation to violent extremism through strengthening of community agencies, enactment of laws and creating of economic empowerment for youth and women.

“The successes of the SARVE project were attained through partnerships, and collaborations with various ministries, departments, agencies, CSOs, traditional and religious leaders,” she added.

Obi called for active involvement of the private sector in the prevention of violent extremism across Nigeria to join donors in funding community led programmes that offered educational, vocational, and cultural alternatives for youths.

She said that directing more of your CSR responsibilities and projects towards the marginalised communities and groups in form of trainings, mentoring and provision of start-up grants would constructively engage the youths and steer them away from violence.

According to her, an investment in preventing violent extremism today is an investment in future growth of Nigeria. (NAN)