By Ankeli Emmanuel In Sokoto State)
A Non-Governmental Organization, NEEM Foundation, organized a one-day dialogue on Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism in the North-Western States of Nigeria.
The meeting which brought together Sokoto State Actors towards promoting civilian security in the North-Western region, has State Actors Buy-in and Collaboration", as it's theme.
Stating the objectives of the Trans- Saharan Counterterrorism Project, Mrs Abah Comfort, the Programme Officer from NEEM Foundation, noted amongst others, that it is aimed at promoting civilian security in the North Western region of Nigeria through, "Dialogue, Early Warning, Early Response, Economic and Support to Community members".
While appealing for a participatory session to enable them profile workable solutions to the multiple degrees of insecurity confronting the society and the North Western region of the country, Mrs Abah Comfort, noted that they are also working on, "Prevent and Protect and GBV in addition to the Saharan Counter-terrorism.
Mrs Abah who decried the disturbing trend of banditry, kidnappings, cattle rustling as well as consistent crisis between farmers and herders in the region and other parts of the country, assured that the project is centered on building trust and increased service provision in communities at risk of recruitment of violent extremism through increased collaboration between state and non state actors.
She also added that NEEM Foundation Project has set upPeace and Reconcilation Community in 4 communities of Sokoto, targets 80 communities, train 60 community members on early warning and violence de-escalation.
Continuing, Mrs Abah said the Project provides livelihood support for 30 vulnerable people, engage 15 others in youths and women at risk and entreprenurship skill training; provision of livelihood support for 3 cooperatives and engaging 1 local business in training livelihood beneficiaries.
One of the participants and Sokoto State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Hon Muhammed Mainasara, in his contribution as one of the panelists, said there should be hard and soft security measures towards addressing the security challenges of the region.
Discussing on, "Understanding the Dynamics of Conflicts in the Northwest", Hon Muhammed Mainasara, said the soft security measures can only be carried out by the locals themselves while the security agencies will carry out the hard measures. He also suggested knowing your neighbour as the best option to forestalling insecurity.
In his views on the second panel discussion with the topic, "State Actors Role in Promoting Civilian Security, Malam Mohammed Maigero, the Sokoto State Sharia Director from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, suggested youths empowerment, addressing issue of porous borders in the region, as well as increasing sensitization amongst herders/farmers on the need for peaceful coexistence.
Participants at the one day workshop included traditional, religious leaders, security agencies, representatives of MIYETTI ALLAH, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Sokoto Youth Council, Vigilantee Group, Small and Medium Scale Enterprise, and that of State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and select journalists. NNL.