The National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in Collaboration with the International Alert Nigeria, organised a Policy Planning and Strategy Development Workshop on National Approach to Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR)/Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) from 7-9 August, 2023.

The Guest of Honour at the Workshop, Permanent Secretary, Special Service Office, OSGF, Alh. Aliyu Shehu Shinkafi, while giving his keynote remarks

The goal of the workshop was to enhance strategic, operational and community level understanding of the concepts, approaches and new practices involved in the planning and implementation of DDR and Community Stabilisation initiatives in the North-East, Nigeria and the wider Lake Chad Basin Region.

SSG, Sokoto State, Alh. Muhammed Bello Sifawa (Left) in a warm hand shake with the National Coordinator, NCTC, Rear Admiral YEM Musa (rtd), as the Director, PCVE, NCTC, Amb. Mairo Musa Abbas watches.

Participants at the workshop were drawn from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government and States of the Northeast, Northwest; the UN Agencies, International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) both at the Headquarters and in the field, as well as Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and community/religious leaders in affected States of the North-East and Lake Chad Region.

National Coordinator, NCTC in a chat with Director PCVE

The Permanent Secretary, Special Services Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Aliyu Shinkafi, who declared the workshop open, called for collective action in preventing and countering violent extremism in Nigeria.

A cross section of some of the participants at the workshop

Alhaji Shinkafi said the current security threats ranging from home-grown insurgency, terrorism in the Northeast, to banditry and kidnapping in the Northwest, militancy in the South-South and secessionist agitations in the South-East had caused untold hardship on citizens. He called for the collective responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure that the country was rescued from the menace of insecurity.

Zamfara State SSG, Mal. Abubakar Nakwada (left) with Sokoto State SSG, Alh. Muhammed Bello Sifawa (Right)

Earlier, in his welcome remarks, the National Coordinator, National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Office of the National Security Adviser, Rear Admiral YEM Musa (rtd) noted that the experiences from combating insurgency and counter terrorism had shown that kinetic means alone was not sufficient to defeating the threat; stressing that the nation had continued to review its laws, strategies and coordination frameworks such as the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022, National Security Strategy, 2019, National Counter Terrorism Strategy 2016, among others. He added that the various laws and policy documents provided for kinetic and non-kinetic approaches and involved all stakeholders including the citizens. According to the National Coordinator, significant success had been achieved with the security efforts in the North-East, noting further that the shifting strategy of violent groups and the need to stabilise displaced communities and populations had created key challenges.

Participants and officials in a group photograph

In a Presentation on the Overview of DDR/PCVE in Nigeria, Amb. Mairo Musa Abbas, Director Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE), NCTC-ONSA, noted that due to improved political will, the nation now boasts of about 120,000 returnees and the Federal Government had encouraged every state to carry out PCVE activities in all their MDAs.

Director PCVE, NCTC, Amb. Mairo Musa Abbas

Also in his scene-setting remarks, the Country Director, International Alert, Nigeria, Mr. Paul Nyulaku said with the ongoing military operations in the Northwest, there was need to initiate rehabilitation programmes for victims and associated groups.He said this would help to consolidate earlier efforts by Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara states’ amnesty programmes.

Country Director, International Alert Nigeria, Mr. Paul Nyulaku

According to the Country Director, while the amnesty for ex-militants in the Niger Delta adopted a traditional approach where the groups and their demands were known, the case was a bit different in the Northeast and Northwest. He urged the government and the military to encourage defection and surrender of armed groups, to encourage individuals to voluntarily renounce association with non-state armed groups and cooperate to some degree on actions aimed at degrading or defeating it. He added that the objective could be promoted through inducing rank-and-file or high-level defections while aiming to rehabilitate low risk associated groups.

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