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 National Security Strategy of Nigeria outlines the major security concerns of the nation for which policies and strategies have been articulated and how the government plans to deal with them. The document is general in content and its implementation depends on other national strategic documents such as the National Counter Terrorism Strategy, Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy, the National Defence Policy and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
The National Security Strategy underscores the belief and generally acknowledged view that security is the cornerstone of development and progress in a free society, and that security is a guarantee of the well-being of citizens and stability of the state. The notion of security adopted here however reflects the contemporary paradigm shift away from the state centric focus of security to one which is comprehensive and emphasizes human security.
Nigeria is currently facing serious threats from violent extremism (VE) targeted against individuals, groups and the state. These threats have gravely undermined economic development, social progress, political stability, national and human security, and peaceful coexistence in the country.
The activities of violent extremist individuals and groups have claimed thousands of innocent lives, destroyed private properties and public facilities worth billions of Naira, and forced millions of citizens to flee their homes and communities, thereby created a huge population of internally displaced persons and refugees.
In the past few years, Nigeria has been confronted with security challenges ranging from insurgency in the North East, militancy in the Niger-Delta, kidnapping, armed robbery sectarian conflicts, to piracy in the maritime domain and serial violence between pastoralists and crop farmers. These have had far-reaching consequences for the nation, as in some instances lives of citizens were irrevocably altered. Every security challenge, irrespective of where it occurs, potentially puts at risk the livelihood and well-being of every citizen. Security challenges could be man-made, nature made or a combination of both. The lives and livelihoods of the Nigerian people are continually at risk from one form of security challenge or another.
This is the reality of the world in which we live today. This reality is global and not peculiar to Nigeria alone. This, however, is not to say Nigeria is not more vulnerable in certain aspects than some other nations and vice versa. Nigeria’s National Security Strategy recognizes that while the country must continue to focus on the persistent and evolving terrorist threats, it must at the same time address the full range of potential catastrophic events, including man-made and natural disasters, due to their implications for national security. The purpose of Nigeria’s National Security Strategy is to guide, organize and harmonise the nation’s security policies and efforts.
The strategy provides a common framework on which the entire nation should focus its efforts. In order to properly articulate government’s strategy for combating these security challenges, there is need for a strategic plan in form of a document to guide security agencies in conception of ideas, formulation of policies and conduct of operations so that every single agency will be properly guided and seen to be working towards the same goal, aware that individual agencies are part of a larger whole, which when properly coordinated would present a neat, coherent, orderly and complete system.
The Handbook however, is not an encyclopaedia of security and safety measures, neither does it claim to provide all the essential tips required in critical situations. It remains a basic guide and an outline to be improved upon by individual experience, situational awareness and environment.
The National Handbook on Safety and Security Tips is a compilation of simple guides for personal and corporate security. The handbook is tailored to enlighten individuals, households, schools, managements of government, public and private infrastructure on critical security measures required at all levels of terror threats. It also spells out actions to be taken in situations of improvised explosives devices attacks, including suspicious objects scenarios amongst others.
The National Counter Terrorism Strategy (NACTEST) is a living document that will continue to undergo reviews, as the issues involved are fluid and constantly evolving. The review will be on a bi-annual basis or as the situation demands. Over the years, and especially between 2010 when Nigeria recorded its first major terror attack and now, the menace has continued to show the ability to wreck major havoc. The phenomenon lends itself to reckless and indiscriminate use of violence and has assumed a level of sophistication that has seen incidents rise in profile.
Reference can be made to the bombings of 1 October 2010 (Eagle Square); 16 June 2011 (Police Headquarters); 28 August 2011 (United Nations Office); the 25 February 2014 Buni Yadi Killings and the 14 April 2014 Chibok Schoolgirls abduction as game changing incidents. However, the unrelenting response of the Security Agencies, especially in the North East, and the complimentary effort of the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Program – Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) has recorded major achievements and contributed to the reduction in the spate of attacks