By Innocent Odoh As part of measures to stem the tide of radicalization and violent extremism, which have triggered terrorism that has killed scores in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa, the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) in collaboration with Peace Building Development Foundation (PBDF) has organized stakeholders workshop on Radicalization, De-radicalization and Counter-radicalization (RADEC) in Abuja on Tuesday.
Speaking during the opening session of the workshop, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) David Babachir Lawal, noted in his remarks that extremism thrives on the shadows of personal, social, political and economic marginalization, adding that it capitalizes on the grievances of those who feel cast aside, left behind, ignored, or repressed.
Represented by Mr. Suleiman Halilu, the SGF said that the workshop was necessary stressing that it has become incumbent on stakeholders to put heads together to understand the challenges of violent extremism and suggest policies to counter it with bright light of education, inclusion, tolerance, good governance and opportunity.
He noted that the federal government has made significant progress in the fight against violent extremism, saying “we have a comprehensive strategy which includes training, equipping men of the Armed Forces, stabilizing and rebuilding liberated areas, stopping the flow of foreign fighters into and out of the Nigeria, cutting off Boko Haram financing and countering its propaganda, providing life-saving humanitarian assistance and promoting political accommodation so that our military success is sustainable.
“Violent extremism does not stop at the borders or distinguish among its victims. It is the responsibility of everyone here to use the knowledge you have to support this fight,” he urged.
The Director General of the IPCR, Professor Oshita Oshita, who was represented by the Director of Democracy and Development Studies at the Institute, Barrister Gabriel Jiya, said that dealing with radicalization, de-radicalization and counter radicalization should not be seen only as an affair for military and security enforcement agencies to the exclusion of civil institutions and agencies.
“My take is that the social factors that influence the process of radicalization should equally be priority vis-à-vis the military-security concerns. It is my opinion that more resources should be dedicated to preventive efforts aimed at countering violent extremism through de-radicalization. For me radicalization is a social and psychological process that takes place over time,” he said.
Project Coordinator of the event, Mr. Kayode Bolaji, told reporters in an interview that people are radicalized when they have particular extremist view whether religious or political stressing that some of these views are due to perceived injustice.