The Federal Government on Monday said that “soft approach’’ was required to win the ongoing fight against insurgency in the country rather than relying only on the “hard approach’’.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), disclosed this on Monday in Abuja while launching Nigeria’s “De-radicalisation Programme Guide”.
Monguno’s speech was read by Amb. Aminu Nabegu, Permanent Secretary, Special Services, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
He explained that terrorism had become an international phenomenon that required the cooperation of everyone to defeat it.
“As we are all aware, terrorism as an international security threat, requires a multi-dimensional, multi-stakeholder, multi-layer approach, often disseminated as both “hard and soft approach’’.
“The hard approach is encapsulated by the military campaigns to degrade and root out the activities and capabilities of the insurgents.
“The soft approach derives from our Countering Violence Extremism (CVE) programme, which is a strategic component of our National Counter Terrorism Strategy,” he said.
He said that Nigeria was committed to the good practices as set out in the Ankara Memorandum on Good Practice for a Multi-Sectoral Approach to Countering Violent Extremism.
Monguno said the NSA’s office was mandated by the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 to implement the memoranda on good practices for rehabilitation and re-integration of violent extremism offenders in Nigeria.
He added that Nigeria’s National Security Strategy 2014, states the “realisation that military approach alone cannot adequately counter ideology-based terrorism and insurgency.
According to him, the government has adopted a soft approach to counter terrorism, which has resulted in Nigeria’s programme for countering violent extremism.
Furthermore, the approach also involves a design of a prison-based de-radicalisation programme for inmates under the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2011.
“This is for Awaiting Trial Suspects as well as an after-care component for those who might be released by courts or in the event of government decision arising from ongoing dialogue,” he said.
He said the NSA’s office had been coordinating the Nigerian Prisons-based De-radicalisation programme for convicted and awaiting trial prisoners since March 2014.
Monguno also explained that the launching of the De-radicalisation Guide and the one-week seminar on the document would greatly contribute to Nigeria’s evolving CVE policy.
He added that it would also help to bring peace, stability and sustainable prosperity not only to areas that had been devastated by the insurgency, but to the whole country.
In his address, the Deputy Head of EU Delegation to Nigeria, Mr Richard Young, said EU’s support to the NSA’s office to address terrorism had been in place since 2014.
“Countering Violent Extremism is a critical part of the global efforts to counter terrorism.
“As we know from elsewhere in the world, Europe included, and as NSA mentioned, military force alone will not bring about a lasting and stable peace.
“Peace requires not just an end to violence but a change in attitude of those who advocate violence; a willingness on their part to carve a pathway away from violence,’’ he said.
According to him, it also requires those who advocate violence to make a decision to live their lives in such a way that contribute to safe and prosperous community.
“This is the very core of Nigeria’s approach to de-radicalisation,” Young said.