FG Restates Commitments To Tackling Violent Extremism

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Alhaji Lai Mohammed

By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON

The Federal Government remains resolute in dismantling the structural
conditions that make violent extremism to thrive in the country, the
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said.

According to a statement signed by his SA, Segun Adeyemi, the Minister, who stated this in Abuja on Tuesday at the public
presentation of the ‘Policy Framework and National Action Plan for
Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism’, identified such
structural conditions to include unemployment, poverty, lack of
education, corruption, and other social-economic factors.

He said the Federal Government has embarked on developmental
programmes as part of efforts to dismantle the conditions that feed
into violent extremism.

“For example, the Anchors Borrowers programme has created over 6.3
million jobs for farmers through rice farming. Equally significant,
the Federal government has served no fewer than 246.4 million meals to
Primary school pupils across 20 States under the National Home Grown
School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP) to encourage children enrolment in
schools.

”According to a widely reported recent survey, no fewer than 10.27
million children have been enrolled in public primary schools in the
North West and North Central Zones of the country in the last one
year, representing an increase of 20% in some of the states. This was
attributed largely to the school feeding programme. Development
programmes like the school feeding scheme are at the heart our effort
to prevent violent extremism.,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

He also said the N-Power programme of the Federal Government has
engaged and deployed over 200,000 young Nigerian to public primary
schools, primary healthcare centre, and in agriculture development
project centres across local government areas in the country, adding:
”This is with a view to helping build community resilience against
violent extremist group. That number is set to increase by 300,000
this year.”

The Minister said the government is also taking a bold step to address
the issue of recharging the Lake Chad Basin, which has shrunk by 90%
between 1963 and now, thereby impacting negatively on the livelihood
of the people that depended on it for farming activities.

He said that as part of its soft approach in tackling security
challenges, the administration is equally engaging in dialogue with
different key stakeholders in order to find possible and lasting
solutions to the issue of herder-farmer conflicts, which is one of the
security challenges confronting the nation.

Alhaji Mohammed said the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture
is committed to developing narratives and communication strategies
that will completely dismantle and neutralize Boko Haram ideology and
messages.

“We did that when we launched the national sensitization campaign
against insecurity in December 2015. I am sure many of you would have
heard the slogan, ‘if you see something, say something. We intend to
take that campaign further’.

“As you are very much aware, extremist groups thrive on two major
things: One is to get their ideologies and messages out to the public,
which today has been facilitated by the democratisation of the
cyberspace, for the purpose of recruitment and radicalization. The
second is publicity, which is the oxygen that they live on,” he said.

While applauding the critical role the media is playing the fight
against terrorism, the Minister encouraged the media to sustain the
momentum and deny extremist groups the oxygen of publicity which they
badly crave.

Alhaji Mohammed hailed the leadership and political will demonstrated
by President Muhammadu Buhari, which has served as a morale booster
for the military to decimate Boko Haram and put the terror group on
the run.

He said the Sambisa Forest, which used to be the fortress of Boko
Haram, has become too hot for the terror group, which is now escaping
to the neighbouring communities.

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