18 March 2014

Nigeria: Counter Terrorism Is Not Against Muslims - NSA

The Nigerian government has unveiled a new strategy aimed at tackling insurgency in the north east. Addressing a news conference in Abuja on ... ( Resource: Nigeria Unveils New Approach To Tackle Boko Haram )

National Security Adviser (NSA), Mohammad Dasuki, has assured that the fight against terrorism is not targeted against Muslims in Nigeria.

The NSA who spoke in Abuja when he unveiled the 'Nigeria's Soft Approach to Countering Terrorism,' said "we will ensure that the fight against terror is not misconstrued by Muslims in Nigeria as a fight against them."

He also noted that terrorism is un-Islamic, whilst encouraging Muslims to speak out against terror; "terrorist twist and pervert the true meaning and spirit of religious text to win support for their evil cause."

Dasuki said the government's 'Soft Approach to Counter Terrorism' in Nigeria is derived out of the desire to ensure a comprehensive counter terrorism strategy, particularly after the State of Emergency in the north east region.

He explained that in finding lasting solutions to terrorism, studies by the offices of the NSA have shown that poverty in itself is not an automatic cause of radicalization.

Dasuke listed conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism to include poverty, joblessness, prolonged unresolved conflict, social injustice, a growing youth bulge, and unfulfilled desire for self actualization.

He stressed that individual differences or an identity deficit that confuses and creates conflict based on religion, tribe and region, fuels the narratives of terror groups like 'Boko Haram.'

The NSA explained that the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program which is a component of the Soft Approaches initiative is aimed at involving all tiers of government, including traditional, religious, civil society and community leaders in stopping radicalization.

"The program utilizes existing structures within and outside government to deliver targeted programs and activities that further the overall goal of stemming the tide of radicalization and through families, communities, faith based organizations build resilience to violent extremism," Dasuki said.

He further stated that de-radicalization targets convicted terrorist through prison programs engaging them in theological, ideological and entreprenual value change that leads to a change in behavior.

The NSA said two prisons have been refurbished in collaboration with international development partners to provide appropriate structures for this program within prisons.

He also said government is partnering with faith based organizations and non-governmental organizations to deliver counter radicalization programs at community levels.

Also speaking, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Bello Adoke, said counter terrorism efforts must adhere strictly to the rules of law.

He said government is working to ensure that those arrested as suspects of terrorism are arraigned in court promptly.

Adoke also said eight convictions have been obtained in court through the use of the 2011 Terrorism Prevention Act.

Responding to a question on why government has not arrested alleged sponsors of terrorism, the minister said "we have not been able identify sponsors, when we do we will go after them."

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