The National Security Adviser, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, says it is the collective responsibility of every individual to rescue the nation from the security challenges bedeviling it.
Ribadu said this on Monday in Abuja at the opening of at a two – day symposium on “Challenges and Innovations in Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism: Strategic Approaches.”
The symposium was organised by the African Centre For Strategic Studies (ACSS) Alumni, Nigeria chapter.
He noted with concern that the current security threats bedeviling the nation had caused untold hardships to citizens.
”From homegrown insurgency and terrorism in the Northeast to banditry and kidnapping in the Northwest, militancy in the South-South and secessionist agitations in the Southeastern parts of the country among many other violence fueled clashes.
”It is therefore, our collective responsibility to ensure that our country is rescued from this menace and this is the reason we are all gathered here today,” he said.
He said that the Federal Government’s response to the emerging security dynamics of the nation led to the enactment of the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act (TPPA) 2022.
”This act, informed the establishment of the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC). The Center is charged with the coordination of counter-terrorism policies, strategies and plans in the country, ” he said
According to him experience, globally, had shown that kinetic measures or the hard approach alone was insufficient when dealing with terrorism and Violent Extremism (VE).
”What is needed to combat the menace is a combination of both kinetic and non-kinetic measures.
”For this reason, the United Nations, under the former Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon in 2015, developed the plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.
”In the Plan, the UN Secretary General called for a comprehensive approach encompassing not only essential security-based counter-terrorism measures but also systematic preventive steps to address the underlying conditions that drive individuals to radicalise and join violent extremist groups.
”To this end, Nigeria in 2017 developed the PF NAP for PCV,” he said.
He said the policy framework was a complementary, whole-of government and whole-of-society approach for addressing threats posed by violent extremist groups.
”The framework seeks to build capacity, improve coordination, strengthen the justice system and by integrating strategic communication, provide alternative narratives to VE.
”It also, provides guidance, direction and most importantly coordination of all non-kinetic operations to prevent and counter violent extremism and terrorism within our borders.
”The Whole-of-Society and Whole-of-Government approach to our non-kinetic operations require dedicated and concerted efforts by every citizen and governments at all levels,” he said.
While commending all delegates for their resolute commitment and sacrifice to be part of the symposium, he implored them to see the event as a call to re-awaken interagency cooperation, collaborative and coordination efforts which all must embrace.
”’I therefore, implore you to see this event as a call to re-awaken our interagency cooperation, collaborative and coordination efforts which we all must embrace.
”We must ensure that challenges being experienced such as negative public perception of government policies, limited resources, uncoordinated/ disruptive activities of some International Partners and weak capacity of relevant stakeholders responsible for implementing PCVE.
“Including weak institutional and legal frameworks for some components of PCVE amid the complex demography of our land even as the conflict is ongoing are resolved with solutions proffered at this symposium within the next two days.
”I am fully assured that with the level of expertise and experience of delegates here present, we will make good progress, ” he said.
The Commandant of Nigerian Defence College (NDC), Rear Admiral Makinde Olotu, in his remarks noted that world was currently in an era where terrorism and violent extremism had become the foremost threats to global peace and security.
He said that terrorism and violent extremism are complex and multifaceted phenomena that transcend national, cultural and religious boundaries.
”They pose significant challenges to peace, security and human rights, and require multidimensional and collaborative responses from governments, civil society, private sector and the academia.
”The rise of extremist ideologies coupled with advancement in technology has made it easier for terrorists to carry out attacks and spread their massage of hate.
”Nigeria is still listed among the 10 most impacted countries by terrorism in the world. Therefore, any discourse on the subject matter is very relevant, timely and of significance to us all, ” he said.
He said the challenges faced in countering terrorism and violent extremism had continued to evolve.
According to him, terrorists for instance are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their modus operandi.
”They employ bespoke tactics including the use of emerging technologies in their operations, while exploring the social media and other online platforms to radicalise and recruit new members.
”Bearing in mind the economic realities and geopolitical influences especially in developing countries, it has become essential to adopt innovations that would enhance our abilities to detect, prevent and respond to terrorist threats.
”These innovations should be tailored towards addressing the deep rooted causes and drivers of terrorism and violent extremism in our nations,” he said.
He said that countering terrorism and violent extremism would require multi – sectorial and multidisciplinary approaches to develop comprehensive and effective solutions including counter narratives, dialogue and mediation as well as community resilience.
He expressed confidence that the symposium would provide the platform for fruitful discussions and exchange of ideas on how innovations could be leveraged to counter terrorism and violent extremism.
The President of Nigeria Chapter ACSS, retired Commodore Abimbola Ayuba, said that the symposium was to interrogate the current challenges which confront the sub-region particularly in Sahelian West Africa.
He said that it was also to take a good look at the security challenges in the Lake Chad Basin, which had been a theatre of terrorist activities, banditry and a plethora of other cross border crimes.
”It is expected that its outcomes would be trail blazing and impactful in the future of Security and conflict management in our world, ” he said.