Boko Haram: Nigeria rolls-out Soft Approach to Counter Terrorism

Former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki
Former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki

“The first stream is the, de-radicalisation of convicted terrorists, suspects awaiting trials…”

The Office of the National Security Adviser, NSA, in Abuja on Tuesday rolled-out Nigeria’s Soft Approach to Countering Terrorism, NACTEST.

The National Security Adviser, NSA, retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, who unveiled it, said the NSA office, international partners, experienced academics and selected non-state actors, developed the counter terrorism strategy.

Mr. Dasuki said that the strategy was developed taking into account the root causes of terrorism, adding that the approach was to understand the problem in order to apply appropriate solutions.

“What we have learnt is that there is not one particular path that leads to terrorism; rather, there are many often complicated paths that led to terrorism.

“The NACTEST seeks to prevent attacks before they happen by preventing our people from becoming terrorists in the first place.

“The soft approach to counter terrorism which has resulted in the development of a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programme that is vertical and involves the three tiers of government -federal, state and local.

The programme is also horizontal, involving civil societies, academics, traditional, religious and community leaders.

According to him, the programme utilises existing structures within and outside government to deliver targeted programmes and activities that further the overall objective of stemming the tide of radicalism.

Mr. Dasuki said that the approach would be divided into four streams:

“The first stream is the, de-radicalisation of convicted terrorists, suspects awaiting trials, and those who might be released through court orders or such order government arising from the ongoing engagement and dialogue with repentant terrorists.

“The second will move from government to society approach on counter terrorism thinking. The third will be building capacity through strategic communication for the military and law enforcement agencies.

“The fourth stream, based on our understanding of the economic root causes of terrorism and global best practice in addressing them will be working with the governors of the six North-Eastern states to design an economic revitalisation programme targeted at the states most impacted by terrorism.’’

He said that through families, communities and faith-based organisations, resilience to violent extremism would be built.

According to him, every Nigerian has a role to play in countering violent extremism.

Mr. Dasuki stressed that the soft approach would provide the country a framework that identifies roles and responsibilities of every segment of the society.

He gave assurance that government was doing everything to protect lives and property.

“We have developed a programme that is inclusive and our doors are open to new ideas or inputs that the public may have,” he said.

He said that the office of the NSA was equally developing a monitoring and evaluation framework that would track implementation of each stream of the CVE programme.

It would also publicise the reports and share best practices learnt.

The Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, said that the initiative was timely and useful in the counter-terrorism efforts.

Mr. Adoke said that as a follow up to the soft approach to counter-terrorism, he had decided to draw attention to the imperatives of combating terrorism within the confines of the law.

“This is to allow the measures adopted by government to ensure that counter-terrorism process conform to dictates of the law.

“As the Attorney-General of the Federation, I have to ensure that those involved in combating terrorism adhere strictly to the rules of engagement and human rights norms.

“Let me assure you of this administration’s commitment to the observance of these existing norms in our counter terrorism efforts.

“We believe that it is only through strict compliance to these norms that confidence and support of the citizens, especially in the affected communities, will be assured,’’ Mr. Adoke said.



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