UN bodies praise Nigeria’s anti-terrorism measures

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The United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) on Friday commended efforts of the Federal Government in its anti-terrorism measures.

Mr Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General of the UNOCT, and Ms Michèle Coninsx, Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of the CTED, gave the commendation at the conclusion of their visits to Nigeria on the invitation of the government.

They were accompanied by Mr Alexander Avanessov, Global Programme Manager and Special Advisor on Preventing Violent Extremism, UN Development Programme (UNDP), and a representative of the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

A statement by the United Nations Information Council (UNIC) in Lagos said the objective of the visit was to identify, in close consultation with the government, concrete areas where the United Nations could provide technical assistance.

The statement said this was in order to enhance Nigeria’s efforts to address the threat posed by Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in the country and in the sub-region.

It said the process took account of recommendations previously identified by the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee and endorsed by the government.

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The joint delegation, the statement said, met Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, key ministers, heads of agencies, as well as the Chairman of Human Rights Commission, Civil Society Organisations, women’s groups, the UN Country Team and representatives of the diplomatic community.

It quoted Mr Voronkov as complimenting the government for the strong cooperation with the United Nations and the adoption of the National Counter-Terrorism Strategy and Plan of Action.

“The government of Nigeria has a strong legal framework to combat terrorism. We want to do more to assist the government to implement this framework in an inclusive manner and in accordance with international standards,” he said.

In her remarks, Coninsx said: “the government has made remarkable progress in countering terrorism and in addressing violent extremism in a challenging and complex environment.

“Despite the continuing asymmetric threat posed by Boko Haram, authorities have mobilised their capacities to develop rehabilitation and reintegration programmes with limited resources”.

“Addressing underlying conditions that may be conducive to terrorism and a cycle of violent extremism requires a long-term commitment, adequate resources, and coordinated support by the government with all partners,” she said.

Also, Avanessov said that the joint delegation witnessed the strong commitment and political will of national partners, including civil society.

“They have been able to focus on the prevention of violent extremism through development and local initiatives with particular attention to youth and women as well as reintegration and rehabilitation programmes,” he said.

The joint delegation visited the Bulumkutu Transit Centre in Maiduguri, Borno, where they met the Theater Commander and civil society organisations as well as boys and girls participating in the rehabilitation programmes.
They also visited Abuja international airport where they were briefed on challenges related to aviation security and the impact of the capacity-building programme provided to airport staff through the support of UNOCT.

At the conclusion of the visit, the joint delegation reiterated the strong commitment of the UN to support Nigeria and to provide technical assistance in seven priority areas.

These areas include, the implementation of the National Action Plan in accordance with the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy and the prevention of violent extremism and support to rehabilitation and reintegration processes.

They also include the provision of support to criminal justice processes in compliance with the rule of law and human rights principles and the empowerment of women and girls to counter terrorism and violent extremism.

Other areas are in aviation and maritime security, border management and strategic communication to prevent violent extremism.

This joint visit was conducted within the framework of the shared efforts of UNOCT and CTED to facilitate the delivery of counter-terrorism related technical assistance to member states in accordance with Security Council resolution 2395 (2017).

Mandated by the General Assembly, UNOCT was established in June 2017 to provide leadership to the implementation of General Assembly’s counter-terrorism mandates, to enhance coordination and coherence and to strengthen the delivery of the UN counter-terrorism, capacity building assistance to member states.

In the past years, UNOCT and its predecessor had supported several projects to assist Nigeria’s counter-terrorism efforts, particularly on border security and management.

The Integrated Assistance for Countering Terrorism (I-ACT) initiative was implemented in Nigeria in January 2012.
It included capacity building projects on the promotion of peace and counter-terrorism education, law enforcement and criminal justice measures.

Established by the Security Council, CTED is a Special Political Mission of the global body tasked with assisting the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee in monitoring the effective implementation of Security Council Resolution 1373, 2001, and other relevant counter-terrorism resolutions.

CTED conducts independent country assessments that constitute the basis for the concerned technical assistance and capacity-building projects.

CTED has been working closely with Nigeria for over 10 years including through the conduct of three assessments: a comprehensive visit (Nov. 2006), a follow-up visit (Oct. 2015) and a regional joint high-level visit (February 2017). NAN

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