Army seeks holistic approach to combat violent extremism
The chief of training Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Sani Mohammed, says violent extremism requires a holistic approach involving both kinetic and non-kinetic means to address.
Mr Mohammed said this at the inauguration of the countering violent extremism course 3/2023’ at the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPCK) on Monday in Abuja.
He said the course, put together by MLAILPKC and UNDP, would develop the capacity of the participants, who were drawn from across West Africa.
The commandant said it would focus on social, political, cultural, religious, economic, environmental and humanitarian factors linked to violent extremism.
Mr Mohammed added that the course would assist troops involved in multi-dimensional peacekeeping operations to understand the activities of non-governmental organisations and other mission partners in countering all forms of extremism.
This, he explained, would create synergy and ensure seamless operation between troops and the organisations working to eliminate violent extremism.
“Consequently, we expect you to impart this knowledge to all the security agents and colleagues at your bases and countries,” he added.
Earlier, the commandant, MLAILPKC, Brig.-Gen. Obinna Onubogu, said the nature of conflicts had changed dramatically in Africa, with many countries experiencing violent conflicts based on extremist political and religious ideologies.
Mr Onubogu said this challenge made it necessary to train members of the armed forces, police, paramilitary and other agencies, as well as governmental and non-governmental organisations working to counter violent extremism.
The course, according to him, is aimed at enhancing the ability of the participants to identify drivers of violent extremism and understand its links to terrorism and insurgency and their strategies.
The commandant, represented by his deputy, Col. Tahir Abdallah, said the course would further assist participants in designing policies and programmes to mitigate violent extremism and improve national and subregional security.
“The course will offer contemporary insights into existing situations within the world.
“Therefore, it is expected that at the end of the course, you will have received a series of presentations, syndicate discussions and tabletop scenario-based exercises.
“Which will go a long way in expanding your horizon on countering all forms of violent extremism during peace support operations, as well as internal security operations,” he added.
A former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, lauded the centre for its foresight and for expanding its scope.
Mr Agwai lauded the UNDP and the Japanese government for supporting the war against violent extremism and other forms of security challenges in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.
According to him, peace and security have become complex and multi-dimensional and require multidimensional approaches to address.
He challenged the participants to strive to become experts in dealing with conflicts and serve as mentors to others.
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