Policymakers and practitioners have often engaged in the use of absolute force and a top-down approach in the design of programs to counter violent extremism in Nigeria. This top-down approach relies heavily on the insights from politicians, religious leaders, and few elites while failing to incorporate the insights of those most affected by violence—the shopkeepers, students, farmers, and other ordinary people- in most areas of northeast Nigeria. Increase deployment of resources and finance has been the most employed strategies of succeeding governments in battling conflicts within Nigeria. Unfortunately, the militarisation of conflict management processes have failed to achieve peace and tranquility in most areas of current and past engagements.
Lack of a national Peace Indicators framework and formal process for monitoring and evaluation of successes and failure have been confirmed in the repetitive conflict situation being experienced in all areas of engagement in the country. Lack of formal indices has challenge practitioners in measuring and understanding on how ordinary Nigerian’s can easily assess peace and security and identify factors that lead to violent extremism.
One of the few points of consensus in global debates about violent extremism is the problem of measurement. There are no agreed-upon metrics for what success in countering violent extremism (CVE) might be. When designing CVE programs in Nigeria, policymakers and practitioners are stuck in the traditional top-down approach, consulting religious leaders, elders, local politicians, and other elites. Ordinary citizens at the village level and IDPs who are directly affected by the violence are rarely consulted in a systematic way about the metrics to determine success or failure of programming.
As The Nigerian State are poised at investing further $1billion Naira on CVE operations, there are needs for policymakers and practitioners to determine a formal metrics for CVE successes and failures. Proper accountability processes must be ensured towards getting value for each dollar spent. it should now become important for the state to understand what indicators citizens use in their everyday lives and how they compare to measurements of peace and violence traditionally used by policymakers.
The Nigerian state should create platforms for direct engagement of CVE operators; The Nigerian Military and local actors in an effort to identify the “everyday indicators” of peace in villages in the highly insecure provinces, the use of national security as excuse to loot the national treasury should be discouraged in favour of a more accountable system. Equally, State efforts should be directed at reducing the indicators for violent extremism and radicalisation in Nigeria. Researches have revealed that the most frequently cited indicators of violent extremism were unemployment and gender-based violence.
Aside from spending one billion Dollars -almost $360 Billion Naira on buying arms and armament for security operations, its my believe that seventy percent of this fund should be invested in developing local law enforcement agencies; facilitate equitable and prompt Justice; develop proper evaluation and accountability process towards reducing corruptions in government spendings; industrialization within affected communities towards reducing youth unemployment rate which stays at over 60% by 2016 figures; and develop access to infrastructures and government projects by cities within conflict areas coupled with sustainable youth development projects might influence a reduction in current rate of youth radicalisation in Nigeria. Guns alone cannot keep the peace!!