As the nation counts its losses from the 9 year insurgency in the North East, the Director General of the National Orientation Agency, (NOA) Dr. Garba Abari has urged stakeholders in the reconstruction process in the zone to streamline the humanitarian requirements of high number of abandoned young people in the area.
According to him, by February this year, as much as 49,000 orphans have been picked up by the authorities in Borno and Yobe States with the possibility of higher numbers as the military continues to clear camps hitherto held by the insurgents.
Director General of NOA, Dr. Garba Abari disclosed this in an interaction with the British High Commission’s Head of Counter-Terrorism, Mr. James McCormick who visited the Agency to seek areas of synergy in strategic communication towards countering violent extremism in Nigeria.
According to him, the Agency is following up on its counter-terrorism interventions by developing a counter-extremism narrative to discourage young people in the North East from engaging in acts of terror.
Abari said NOA recently trained the media on reporting peace building processes and has intensified its peace building advocacy while using its Local Government Assembly platform to get Nigerians to dialogue for peaceful coexistence rather than resorting to violence.
The NOA boss said the Agency had overcome initial challenges posed by disagreeing Sunni Islamic sects in Borno and Yobe areas over cooperation in developing the narrative, adding that the groups are now working together to adopt a common narrative which will be finalized soon.
On his part, the British High Commission Counter-Terrorism chief noted that the United Kingdom has lessons to learn from Nigeria in the face of recent terror attacks in that country and was willing to share experience based ideas with Nigeria.
Mr. McCormick said the UK has also learnt the importance of inter-agency cooperation in countering violent extremism which he described as a strong point in Nigeria’s counter-terrorism fight.