A 4-DAY NATIONAL TECHNICAL WORKSHOP ON AMNESTY MANAGEMENT, DERADICALISATION AND COMMUNITY-BASED REINTEGRATION ORGANISED BY THE NATIONAL COUNTER TERRORISM CENTRE, OFFICE OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER IN COLLABORATION WITH INTERNATIONAL ALERT NIGERIAHELD IN ABUJA FROM 31 JANUARY TO 3 FEBRUARY, 2023.
In realisation that no one size fits all in combatting the security situation of violent extremism and terrorism currently besieging the country and the globe as a whole, the Nigerian government has been making concerted efforts to ensure a peaceful society and strengthen community resilience against this menace. Among such measures being put in place was the convening of a 4-day National Workshop on Amnesty Management, Deradicalisation And Community-Based Reintegration, in collaboration with International Alert (IA) Nigeria from 31 January to 3 February, 2023.
The aim was to promote collaborative learning and establish a shared purpose for advancing DDR policy and practice in Nigeria, as well as to enable partners, participants and delegates have a thorough strategic and operational level understanding of the concepts, approaches and new practices involved in the effective planning, implementation and coordination of DDR.
Participants were drawn from various stakeholder groups including Federal and States Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs), Academia, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Tradition and Religious Institutions among others.
In his opening remarks, the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, represented by Deputy Comptroller of Corrections, Mr. Sylvester Nwakauche, stated that the workshop was part of government’s commitment to finding sustainable solutions to the challenges posed by conflicts and violent extremism in the country. The Minister stressed that addressing the challenges required a multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach, as well as the expertise of government, civil society, academia and the international community. Thereafter, the National Coordinator, National Counter-Terrorism Centre, Rear Admiral YEM Musa (rtd), on behalf of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), in his remarks highlighted the opportunities available in the workshop for Participants to gain strategic and operational level understanding of the concepts, approaches and new practices in effective planning, implementation and coordination of DDR.
Former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Martin Luther Agwai (rtd) during his keynote address titled, “Building prospect (s) for stability, Justice and Reconciliation in North-West and North-East, Nigeria,” posited that building confidence in the minds of citizens and the need for dialogue and subsequent disarmament was key to achieving DDR in the country.
Meanwhile, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, H.E Catriona Laing also, expressed the commitment of the UK government to supporting initiatives that would address security challenges in Nigeria and noted that while amnesty and voluntary DDR processes were essential components of successful conflict resolution, such measures must not be taken in an ad-hoc, uncoordinated manner as this could undermine the prosecutorial and judicial processes of a country. This was followed by remarks by the Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Nicolas Lang, who commended the FGN for adopting kinetic and non- kinetic approaches in dealing with the conflict.
Subsequently, the EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Samuela Isopi, noted that the European Union (EU) had been a long standing partner of Nigeria on both DDR and Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE). Isopi who was represented by EU Nigeria Team Lead, Ruben Alba informed also, that the EU had been supporting a number of activities related to amnesty management, deradicalisation and community-based reintegration in the North East. Lastly, The IA Director of programmes UK, Ms. Kathryn Tomlinson stated that IA programmes in Nigeria would continue to contribute to greater social cohesion and increase the capacity of communities to prevent and manage conflict. Also, while setting the Scene for the workshop, the Country Director, IA Nigeria Mr. Paul Nyulaku noted that the gathering provided an opportunity for stakeholders to come together to review, benefit from peer learning and experience sharing among Federal and State institutions.