The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has advocated for an alternative narrative to counter the spread of hate and violence which the sponsors of terrorism around the world preach as religious ideologies.
The Director General of the Agency, Dr. Garba Abari made this call when a delegation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (MCTC) led by Brigadier-General Abdullah Al-Fehaid visited the NOA headquarters in Abuja.
The four man military delegation is in Nigeria to meet with relevant agencies to discuss specific collaboration opportunities across areas of interest in counter Terrorism in Nigeria.
Dr. Abari said the two major sects in Islam namely Sunnis and Derik need to work together on a scholarly response to the Boko Haram ideology relying mainly on the Quran and the Hadith. According to him, the Agency has a robust network of platforms to spread the new narrative across the country in a bid to achieve peace and development in Nigeria.
The Director General who identified extremism to be of two types said the planned narrative will be very successful in dealing with religious extremism while criminal elements can be dealt with in accordance with the law of the land. He called on the stakeholders especially those in countries where religious extremism is undermining peace and progress to work together to fight and counter the blight of terrorism around the world.
Explaining the work of the Agency in the fight against terrorism, Dr Abari said it has been engaging with Islamic Clerics (Ulamas) Christian church leaders, traditional rulers, opinion leaders, schools, Civil Society organizations and security agencies on intelligence gathering and peace building processes to develop alternative orientation that will curb the spread of radical ideology around the world.
In his remark, the team leader of the Saudi delegation, Brigadier Al Fehaid agreed with the NOA DG saying the team was in the country to strategise and unite with members of the coalition countries and complement the efforts made by these countries to eradicate violent and radical ideologies in these countries.
Al-Fehaid said the 2018 work plan is to leverage and enhance coalition engagement and communication, seek impactful initiative and strengthen institutional capacity among member countries. He said the terrorism coalition which Nigeria is a member is also in partnership with non-member countries particularly, the United Kingdom, France and United States for information gathering, finance restriction and review of media narrative on counter terrorism.