By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his administration will address the root causes of violent extremism and hate in the country.
He spoke Tuesday at the launch of Nigeria’s Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism at the Presidential Villa Abuja .
While expresssing the determination and commitment of his government to tackle violent extremism ,Buhari recalled that Nigeria was before now, a free, peaceful and enterprising nation.
Buhari called on state and local governments to develop action plans for preventing and countering violent extremism at the grassroots.
He said he had directed all ministries, departments and agencies to institutionalise mainstream measures to address the root causes of violent extremism while implementing programmes that build the resilience of Nigerians to recover from the consequences of violence.
He said“I have directed that all ministries, departments and agencies to institutionalise mainstream measures to address the root causes of violent extremism while implementing programmes that build the resilience of Nigerians to recover from the consequences of violence.
“We must now while working together focus in rooting out hate, misrepresentation of religion and violence in our society. “
“I also call on States and Local Governments to develop action plans for preventing and countering violent extremism sat the grassroots.”
In his remarks, the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen.. Babagana Mongonu, retd, said Nigeria was one of the few countries in the world that had developed the policy framework which the country had showcased on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
He recalled that in 2015, President Buhari directed the review of Nigeria’s countering violent extremism programme.
According to him, the review showed the need for a complementary soft approach to the kinetic effort in dealing with terrorism based on principles of whole of government and whole of the society approach.
He said “We also recognised that in line with our focus on transparency, accountability and the rule of law, we needed to build a policy framework that ensures the institutionalisation and mainstreaming on countering violent extremism across ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government.
“While we were taking this step, the then United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Banki Moon in December of 2015, issued a call to member states to develop national plans to prevent violent extremism.
“It is in this context that l wish to thank His Excellency, Mr. President for endorsing the presidential directive on implementing Nigeria’s framework and national action plan for preventing and countering violent terrorism on the 24th or August, 2017.
“I wish also to inform Mr. President that Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world that have developed the policy framework which we showcased on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly held in September 2017 in the New York.
“I wish to state that Nigeria’s effort was overwhelmingly appreciated during the global solution’s exchange side events where donors indicated their willingness to partner Nigeria in implementing the national action plan.
“In developing the policy framework, government did not work in isolation, starting with the memorandum of understanding between the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) on the Nigerian stability and reconciliation programme and United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, we engaged key stakeholders through a national working group.”
He said the framework and national action plan rest on four major objectives which dictate priority components.
He listed them to include ” Strengthening institutions and co-ordination in preventing and countering violent extremism, strengthening the rule of law, access to justice and human rights, engaging communities and building resilience and integrating strategic communication in preventing and countering violent extremism.
“We have also included strategic implementation methods to guide government and non-governmental actors in delivering a three-year national action plan set in this policy framework. Now, in order to achieve these objectives, l wish to highlight some of the needed steps to take, going forward.
“All relevant MDAs are required to include in their annual budgets, preventing and countering terrorism plan for implementation,” he added.
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