In response to the challenges of Terrorism that Nigeria faces, the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 as amended in 2013 was signed into law. The Act designates the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) as the Coordinating Office for Nigeria’s Counter terrorism efforts. The Act also gives ONSA the mandates to “ensure the formulation and implementation of a comprehensive Counter Terrorism Strategy and build capacity for the effective discharge of the functions of relevant security, intelligence, law enforcement and military services.” In line with the foregoing, the Counter Terrorism Centre (CTC) was established in 2012, and is located in the Office of the National Security Adviser.
The Counter Terrorism Centre (CTC) which is headed by a Coordinator, has pioneered key initiatives since 2012. These include, providing leadership, coordination and strategic guidance to security, law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The Centre’s relationships with relevant partners transcend State Actors, to include donor agencies, Counter Terrorism platforms like the Global Counter Terrorism Forum, Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, Hedayah ( based in Abu Dhabi) and the United Nations.
Following the unveiling of the National Counter Terrorism Strategy Document (NACTEST) and the ongoing National PCVE Program in the country, the role of the Centre has been tremendously appreciated as a value-adding entity among its strategic partners. This growing profile has meant increased interest in the activities of the Centre, both home and abroad.
The Counter Terrorism Centre is staffed by experienced officers from government Ministries, Departments and Agencies. It houses the Joint Terrorism Analysis Branch, National Counter Terrorism Strategy, Explosive Devices Analysis Office and the Preventing Countering Violent Extremism Unit which coordinates the implementation of Nigeria’s Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.
National Counter-terrorism Strategy (NACTEST)
NACTEST was the result of considerable research from the departments of the Counter-terrorism Department, in consultation with international experts, security practitioners and academics. The outcome is a robust national strategy that combines the hard military approach, intelligence gathering and use of force, with a soft approach, which aims to win hearts and minds and address the root causes of radicalization within Nigerian communities
NACTEST is based on five pillars:
- Forestall: prevention by engaging the public through sustained sensitization campaigns and de-radicalization programmes.
- Secure: ensuring the protection of life and property, key national infrastructure and services including national interests worldwide.
- Identify: investigating and bringing violent extremist offenders to justice.
- Prepare: adequately preparing the populace in order to mitigate the consequences of terrorist incidents.
- Implement: devising a framework to effectively mobilize and sustain a coordinated cross-governmental population-centred effort.
Through this broad-based strategy we believe that we can limit the multitude of pathways that can lead individuals to being radicalized and prevent terrorist attacks from happening in the first place.
In order to ensure effective implementation the strategy is based on certain fundamental principles. The progress of interventions is being regularly assessed and the Office of the National Security Adviser is striving to be as transparent as we possibly can be, while being mindful of security threats. The office is committed to being flexible, collaborative and proactive in its responses to terrorism.
Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism Policy Framework and National Action Plan
Partnering for safer and Resilient Communities
On 24th August, 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR issued the Presidential Directive for implementation of the Policy Framework and National Action Plan or Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism. The policy framework is aimed at mainstreaming peace building into national efforts in dealing with violent extremism.
Our Policy Framework adopts a whole-of-Government and a whole-of-society approach. Accordingly, it encourages the active participation of line Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as well as critical stakeholders from the different sectors of the civil society such as religious actors, youth, teachers, women, and community based organisations. It provides a National Plan of Action at Federal, State and Local Government levels to ensure the delivery of targeted intervention that are both PCVE-relevant and PCVE-specific. Providing the tools and capacity to undertake these tasks is central to implementation. In working with partners, building trust is key to achieving our objectives. We seek to build networks of peace that create safer and resilient communities across Nigeria. Human rights and the rule of law shall continue to guide our approach to combating violent extremism. In the Policy Framework, we identified guiding principles for critical stakeholders, priority components of intervention, strategies and expected outcomes that are necessary for the successful implementation of the National Action Plan in the short, medium, and long terms.
Our Guiding Principles
Nigeria’s Policy Framework and National Action Plan was formulated in an inclusive process from the start because of the recognition that a coherent framework to prevent and counter violent extremism requires the inputs of stakeholders from core constituencies. The framework development process involved several meetings of a Working Group that cut across line Ministries, civil society, religious, women, youths, law enforcement, and the media. Inputs from states were sought during several sensitization workshops held as part of the implementation of the National Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Further ideas were developed through key informant interviews (KIIs) and feedback from surveys and global good practices to ensure a comprehensive, people-centered, multi-pronged and complementary approach that is locally relevant and culturally intelligent. We believe that our people, culture and diversity present the greatest asset against violent extremism. We are determined to coordinate our efforts to ensure effective implementation of the Policy Framework through our core constituencies. We are partnering for safer and resilient communities.
A Programmatic Approach
For a successful implementation of the National Action Plan, a PCVE National Steering Committee reflecting the broad range of stakeholders across Government and Civil Society will ensure an integrated, coordinated, comprehensive and adaptive approach in implementation of the plan. It shall also engage with States and Local Governments to ensure effective and speedy dissemination and awareness creation of the guiding principles and objectives of the PCVE policy. As the National Action Plan will be implemented in a multidisciplinary manner and by several actors; the strategies, actions, objectives, outcomes, and actors stated in the matrix below are non-exhaustive. The Steering Committee shall produce a detailed plan of programmes, with clear monitoring and evaluation design in close consultation with relevant Agencies which will ensure that programmes at all levels feed into the overall objective of the National Action Plan. A functional Secretariat will provide technical support to the Steering Committee in discharging its mandates.