Boko Haram; UNIMAID launches center for counter terrorism

University of Maiduguri
University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID)

The University of Maiduguri, one of the most attacked tertiary institutions in the ongoing Boko Haram conflict, has commissioned a newly established resource centre for countering violence extremism (CVE) within and around the Lake Chad region.

Named CVE Resource Centre, the facility, which was commissioned on Thursday, is expected to carry out research and develop counter-narratives against extremism like Boko Haram. It is donated by an international aid agency, the North-East Region Initiative (NERI).

Located within the complex of the university’s already existing Centre for Disaster Risk Management and Development Studies, the CVE Resource centre, a first of its kind in the country, is to be operated by staffers of the university, while NERI takes charge of its funding.

The University of Maiduguri has suffered several attacks by Boko Haram.

The insurgents had carried out suicide attacks in the varsity during which several lives including that of a professor were lost in 2017.

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Speaking during the commissioning of the centre, Program Manager of NERI, Suleiman Dauda, said the centre was initiated in accordance with the desire of NERI to have a very stable recovery in the post insurgency period.

“We believe sustainable recovery cannot be achieved unless we prepare grounds for such to thrive; and that involves engaging the right human resources, putting in place the right scholarly and knowledge based research and ideas; because the ideas of stabilisation and recovery must have to come from a recognised body of knowledge or institutions”, he said.

“That is the basic reason that informed us choosing the University of Maiduguri for the purpose of establishing the countering violence extremism center which will work collaboratively with other universities across the Lake chad basin to ensure that we forge a common front in countering violent extremism. This collaboration will seek the active involvement of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

Mr Dauda said the day to day activities of the centre will be solely run by the University of Maiduguri while the NERI will continue to function as a facilitating partner until the project becomes sustainable.

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“NERI is a donor funded project and as such it comes with a life span; so we are hoping that by the time NERI is folding up some day, we will be able to leave behind a very sustainable system that the University who has all the manpower can effectively carry on.

He said NERI is responsible for the design and provision of support mechanism for the establishment of the centre.

“We have provided the furniture, the e-library, the dozens of computers, 20kva generator, air conditioning of the offices, office equipment like printers, photocopiers, the internet facilities, and of course funds for the daily running the generator,” he said.

“NERI is also responsible for designing organogram and what is expected of the centre in terms of objective research and promoting programmes that will promote the core objective of the CVE.

“Our broad expectation is for the CVE Resource Centre to achieve a very stable post insurgency recovery across the communities in the Lake Chad region, through the churning out of information that are credible and making it accessible to those in the highest position of government, the federal legislature, the military and other stakeholders in the northeast for the purpose of effective decision making and policy formulation”.

NERI commended the University of Maiduguri for opening up and accepting the idea of such partnership despite what it had experienced in the continuing Boko Haram insurgency.

The centre was declared open by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri, Abubakar Njodi, who described the CVE resource centre as one of the best collaborative partnership that has ever happened in the life of the institution.

He said the CVE Resource Centre is not the first kind of support that NERI had given to the university, saying ‘the campus’ FM radio station would not have been on the air today without the ample support from NERI”.

He said the establishment of the centre is the kind of support that the university has been craving for especially in this challenging times of insecurity. He said the centre is coming at an appropriate time and place because there is no better place to establish such centre for countering violent extremism other than Maiduguri and the university in particular which is the epicenter of the entire insurgency.

The don who was represented by a deputy vice chancellor, Haruna Godowoli, advised the managers of the CVE centre to link up with the Nigeria Armed Forces Resource Center for possible collaboration in countering extremism.

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