CVE and Community Resilience in Nigeria

In spring 2014, ICCT commenced an 18-month project on countering the appeal of terrorism in Nigeria and building community resilience. The project is funded by the United Nations’s  Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) within the framework of the Integrated Assistance for Countering Terrorism (I-ACT) Initiative, and is carried out by ICCT jointly with the Human Security Collective / Cordaid (HSC) and the Office of the National Security Advisor (ONSA) in Nigeria.

The proliferation of violent activities by violent extremist groups such as Jama’atu Ahlis Sunnah Ladda’awatih wal-Jihad, also known as  Boko Haram, has increasingly destabilised the security situation in Nigeria and threatens to contribute to further violent activity in the region.

During a fact-finding mission to Nigeria on behalf of CTITF, ICCT and then-Coordinator of the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 Monitoring Team Richard Barrett looked at radicalisation in Nigeria, discussed government strategies to counter the influence of Boko Haram and violent extremists, and identified possible areas for further action. Due to their unique standing and legitimacy, civil society organisations (CSOs) were acknowledged by the project team and the government as important partners when designing an effective strategy to counter the threat of extremist groups in the country.

In Nigeria, many CSOs from various backgrounds and with different aims, work on conflict resolution, peace-building, and related areas. These organisations focus on issues like conflict prevention, countering violent extremist (CVE), de-radicalisation, education, inter-religious dialogue, as well as social and economic development. Due to their work and their formal and informal relationships in the north of Nigeria, some of these organisations have a profound understanding of the historic background of Boko Haram and other extremist groups, their functioning, convictions and mobilising force. Therefore it is crucial to engage with these CSOs when looking for an effective strategy to counter these threats and to identify ways in which they could cooperate with government forces in a broad counter violence strategy.

The project consists of three phases during which a wide array of relevant governmental and non-governmental actors will be brought together to discuss the threat posed by Boko Haram and areas of CVE engagement across society. This project will also include practical and relevant training on CVE related matters. The outcomes of the first and second phase will result in a common agenda for peace and security with specific topics identified for in-depth focus for the third phase of the project: a series of local dialogues and a joint agenda activities between CSOs and government with this latter step acting as the springboard for tangible working projects.

ICCT has reported on the security situation in Nigeria for instance in the Research Paper “Interrogating the Drivers of Public Support for Boko Haram” by Visiting Fellow Akinola Olojo.

For more information on this project, please contact ICCT Programme Officer Eva Entenmann.