Efforts in the prolonged fight against terrorism in Nigeria – especially the Boko Haram menace in North-East Nigeria – have surged recently. This is because the European Union (EU) revealed a three-year funding plan that had commenced in April 2018.
The communications officer of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Mr. Sylvester Tunde Atere, spoke in a recent statement about the move. He stated that the move was the final project steering committee meeting involving Nigeria. It also involves the EU and UNODC officials. The aim is to reflect positive achievements made under the second phase of the EU-Nigeria-UNODC partnership to counter terrorism in Nigeria.
The two-year project funded by the EU came to a close at the end of March. It was designed to strengthen the capacity of Nigerian criminal justice officials to effectively investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate terrorism cases. This was in accordance with the rule of law and human rights best practices.
This project is built on the formidable plan that is laid under the auspices of the previous EU-Nigeria-UNODC project, delivering 82 capacity building activities. This includes the provision of extensive training to select groups of investigators and legal advisers. This also includes defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges on a range of practically-focused terrorism-related criminal justice issues.
Strengthening the capacity of Nigerian criminal justice training institutions and providing an in-depth of train-the-trainer courses to groups of Nigerian trainers on counter-terrorism investigations, adjudication of terrorism cases, and human rights thereby producing a manual on counter-investigations for use by the police practitioners and trainers.
Mr. Kurt Cornelis from the European Union has spoken on this. He said that the EU is pleased to support the Nigerian Government towards addressing the significant terrorist threat facing Nigeria. This will be done by working with Nigeria to develop an action plan on the criminal justice responses to terrorism in North-East Nigeria. This will support the implementation of the policy framework and the National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.
The EU looks forward to partnering with Nigeria on its implementation plan during the next phase of the project at the final Steering Committee meeting. Ms. Catherine Udida from the Office of the National Security Advisor gave a statement. She said that over the last two years, Nigeria has made important progress in its fight against terrorism.
Nigeria appreciates the partnership with EU and UNODC in addressing this challenge of the insurgency. They also appreciate the support provided to the Nigerian Policy Framework and the National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism. This serves as an important framework for Nigerian efforts to counter terrorism.
Ms. Elisabeth Bayer from the UNODC Office in Nigeria once thanked the EU and Nigeria for their on-going close collaboration. The project has been tailored to the needs identified by the Nigerian Government. It has given birth to a significant framework of trained Nigerian counter-terrorism practitioners who are armed with the skills and knowledge needed to respond to the challenges that Nigeria is facing.