The National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. General Babagana Mungono(rtd), has said riding on misconceptions of religion, prolonged unresolved conflicts, structural and governance challenges, perceptions of injustice committed, untold abuses and violations of human rights and the rule of law are some of the conducive conditions that violent extremist feed on to perpetrate their extremism.
Mungono stated this yesterday in Abuja while delivering his key note address at the public presentation of the Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.
He said the great people and cultures emerging in the years before Colonial Rule were faced with wars and internal strife, yet evolved into Kingdoms that excelled in art and commerce, confronting the menace of disease and trade wars adding that our landscape always ensured the movement of goods and services, and long before amalgamation, we were melting into one another as different cultures, ordained to become a nation.
The NSA further said growing up in Nigeria, Nigerians knew only the harmony that existed between the different tribes and religions, noting that climate change, ethno-religious conflicts, herder-farmer conflicts and bad politics combine to present imminent security challenge for all Nigerians.
He said present day government was taking steps to strengthen the Law Enforcement and Security Agencies in dealing with these threats to national security,saying that Government will not work in isolation.
Mungono said the Policy Framework and National Action Plan will rest on four major objectives. These are: Strengthening institutions and coordination 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 Programme.
“In developing the Policy Framework, Government did not work in isolation. Starting with a Memorandum of Understanding between my Office and the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme, we engaged key stakeholders through a National Working Group. The National Working Group consisted of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Civil Society Organisations, Media, Labour, Students and the academic community.
“The Group held several technical meetings and also visited Belfast in Northern Ireland to exchange ideas and identify lessons Nigeria could learn from. We were also involved in a Technical Workshop organized by the Preventing Countering Violent Extremism National Action Plan Task Force at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy where 16 countries at different stages of developing their Policy Frameworks shared experiences, which facilitated international validation for our draft Policy Framework.
“Through wide consultation, we have thus developed a Policy Framework that is truly people-oriented and is tailored to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism while countering the dangerous ideology that fuel terrorism.
Furthermore, I am pleased to convey that on 24th day of August, 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR signed the Presidential Directive to the Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.
With this, we have provided a clear policy environment that linter-connects peace, security and development and will strengthen our efforts at mainstreaming peace building into development initiatives at the grassroots” the NSA said.
He maintained that the Policy is for all Nigerians and government will ensure it is rendered in a simple and accessible manner to guide government personnel, NGOs and indeed all Nigerians in developing community based initiatives. “The objective is to cascade down to families and communities to build resilience, prevent and counter all forms of violent extremism” Mungono added.