By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North
The effort by Nigeria to counter violent extremism, manifesting in the raging insurgency in the North East, has received a boost from the European Union, which has begun training of Nigerians on how to de-radicalise elements capable of causing harm to the nation’s security.
The programme, which is domiciled in the Office of the National Security Adviser, will also involve officials of the Nigerian Prisons Service, who are to implement certain components of the exercise intended to drastically reduce insurgency in the long run.
This was unfolded by the Director in charge of Behavioural Analysis in the Office of the NSA, Dr. Fatima Akilu, at a news briefing in Abuja on Friday.
According to Akilu said the de-radicalisation programme was designed to create awareness of the threat of violent extremism, identify and strengthen credible voices in communities and collate data of religious figures , sects, places of worship and capture the kind of teachings/preaching in schools and worship centres.
It will also identify and strengthen the channels of distribution of counter-narratives, initiate and conduct training for peace initiatives including inter and intra-faith, identify and start-up small business in flash point states, work with law enforcement agencies to increase the reach of community policing in Nigeria.
Deputy EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Richard Young, said at the ceremony that there was urgent need to check violent extremism since the effect of terrorism was being felt across the world.
Young said the programme of de-radicalisation in Nigeria would enable the stakeholders to share ideas and strategies for countering terrorism in the country and save it from further violence that could disrupt its progress as a nation.
The Controller General of the Nigeria Prisons Service, Dr. Peter Ekpendu, said that many officers and men of the agency would be trained in the process of instituting de-radicalisation in the NPS with a view to making it go down the strata of the service.