Over 35,000 persons have lost their lives to violent extremism – UNDP

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At least, more than 35,000 innocent souls had perished in Nigeria following Violent Extremism (VE), Deputy Resident Representative (Programme), UNDP, Mr. Lealem B. Dinku has said.

Dinku spoke at the inauguration ceremony of the Countering Violent Extremism Course 3/2023 Organized by the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPCK) at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC), Abuja.

The course had participants from other West African countries.

According to the United Nation’s envoy, violent extremists have been active in some West African States since 1960s principally due to economic challenges, effect of climate change, ineffective governance and growing ungoverned spaces.

 

“However, the prevalence and persistence VE in West Africa has continued to create difficult environment for sustenance of human survival, good governance, and widespread impact of raving climate change. VE has resulted significant impacts, such as, mass casualties of inhabitants, displacement of the populations, socio-economic disruptions, and destruction of infrastructures in the region.

 

“You will agree with me that violent extremism (VE) has continued to be ingrained in scope and impact since creeping into Nigeria geographical space in 2009 but has been more pronounced since 2013.

 

“ It was estimated that between 2009 and 2023, Nigeria has suffered no less than 35,000 causalities while billions of dollars have been lost due to destruction of property, public infrastructures, disruption of socio-economic activities including livelihoods and displacement of mass population.

 

“Nigeria is still grappling with the menace of VE and its attendant socio-economic implications till moment.The Governments of Nigeria in collaboration with the Governments of the West Africa sub-region and technical and financial assistance from the development partners have determinedly been taking steps to confront VE and address the underlining factors that are propitiating the spread of VE in the region.

 

“This CVE capacity building course is one of the numerous interventions being deployed by the government of Nigeria and its partners – UNDP and the Government of Japan to curtail the menace and escalation of VE in Nigeria and in the West Africa region. This course is, therefore, targeted to build and strengthen the capacities of relevant stakeholders drawn from the ECOWAS region.

 

“The course is made possible with the technical and financial assistance from UNDP and the Government of Japan. It is in furtherance of the Government of Japan and UNDP support to MLAILPKC to conduct courses in Peace Support Operations (PSOs), Countering Violent Extremism and Anti-Piracy for relevant stakeholders in the ECOWAS and the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) regions since 2014. Cumulatively, MLAILPKC has trained over 800 persons across the regions. This is a marked achievement by the Centre.” He said.

 

Japan Defence attaché to Nigeria, Lt.-Col. Morita Tatsuya conveyed the Embassy of Japan in Nigeria’s appreciation to the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Center and UNDP for organizing Countering Violent Extremism Course for security agencies.

 

According to Tatsuya, “Unfortunately, Nigeria has been subjected to the adverse effects and attacks of Boko Haram and ISWAP in the North-East for quite long time. The activities of terrorists have resulted in the loss of many lives and properties, the displacement of millions of residents, and enormous economic losses.

 

“More recently, terrorists have expanded their sphere of influence to the North-West and other parts of the country. Therefore, there still is an urgent need to sharpen the capacity of security authorities regarding counterterrorism and the protection of civilians, and the Government of Japan believes that it is quite timely and beneficial to have this capacity building course to counter violent extremism.

 

“We are very committed to improving the world’s ability to fight against violent extremism. In order to prevent and eradicate terrorism, the international community must unite in its efforts to combat terrorism and it is also important to implement measures to counter violent extremism, which is at the root of terrorism.

 

“At the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD, held last August, the Government of Japan also pledged to contribute to the “realization of sustainable peace and stability” in Africa. Combating terrorism and violent extremism is a global priority. We can achieve peace by preventing terrorist activities and addressing their root causes.

 

“We are very happy that this course is starting today. We hope that all of you will return to your home countries and apply the knowledge and skills you have learned in this course.

 

“The Government of Japan, along with other international partners, will continue to contribute to peace and stability in Nigeria, and to the livelihood of the Nigerian people.”

 

Former Chief of Defence Staff, General Martin Luther Agwai noted: “UNDP and the government of Japan and other foreign governments have been very supportive to the Centre, but the government of Japan turns out for the effort they have put in in enabling our officers.

 

“Not only Nigerians but from West African sub regions benefit from knowing, even if knowing each other and knowing that you have friends across the border of your country.

 

“Knowing that you have friends that you can interact and you can ask questions and you can feel at home even when you want on leisure or other visit to another country, that is a great opportunity and we must thank the government of Japan for that. I want to welcome all our foreign brothers.”

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