ORGANISING NGOS AND FAITH-BASED ORGANISATION FOR DEVELOPMENT PURPOSES

Boko Haram, Herdsmen, Islam, law enforcement, SEcurity, Terrorism, War

Counterterrorism has to be woven into the everyday workings of every department. It should be included on the agenda of every meeting, and this new role must be imparted to officers on the street so that terrorism prevention becomes part of their everyday thinking.” Kelling, G L. & William K. B, (2006) Policing Terrorism, Civic Bulletin 43, New York: Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, September 2006.

Terrorism has become a political tool in the 20th century and its spread has become so dynamic that it has now become on of the “new wars” that nations today fights. Emergency response and preventive measures have to become more flexible and adapt to the dynamism of attacks. Terrorist related incidence must be documented, researched and evaluated in line with local needs. The current randomness of terror attacks in Nigeria put all at risks and we must have a structure plans in place to restrict and mitigate these strikes.

Basic understanding of terrorism, its goals and operational method would have sufficed in allowing for designing proper response. It is a waste of resources fighting a reactive battle against terrorists. The Nigerian response to terrorism has been flawed by the lack of institutional understanding of what terrorism is all about. Proactive resources can only be deployed when we are all able to deduce the fact that terrorism is not fought using heavy machinery and standing armies but through employment of psychological warfare that is designed based on proper analysis of the terror groups operational methods, recruitment operations and goals.

Terrorism is a form of rebellion against the state. Modern terrorists have better equipment and global media as its mouthpiece. The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism, (START) Department of Homeland Security Think-Thank based in the University of Maryland, United State is one of the center set up by the US government to analyse and design engagement protocol for counter-terrorism in US. One of the conclusion of this center that changed the US counter-terrorism engagement was the fact that in over 1000 years of review of terrorism engagement by states globally, the use of military force eliminated the threat in only 4% of such engagements, while the use of proper local security, policing and development programmes was able to achieve end of these groups in more than 40%.

Development NGOs are committed to working towards economic, social or political development in developing countries. The Norwegian bilateral aid agency, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) defines development-oriented NGOs as organisations that “attempt to improve social, economic and productive conditions and are found both as small community-based organisations at village and district levels, and as large professional development agencies at state or national level”

Northern Nigeria economic environment has been described as backward and has continued to regress in the period after the 1970s. The average Disposable Income, access to education and basic infrastructure has equally fallen in the past decades. Lack of access to proper education has created a huge mass of unemployable youth in an environment experiencing a burgeoning youth population. Available data point at a growing youth population in an environment without corresponding growth in infrastructure and industry has led to high pressure on resources leading to perennial class conflict in the region.

Failure of government institutions to deliver on appropriate economic and infrastructural reforms has led to conflicts between state officials and citizens. Increased distrust of officials has led to several clashes and self-help actions. Uncoordinated rebellions in the past decades had eventually matured into current terror operations by the Boko Haram insurgents.

The war on terror have been severely stunted by the growing supply of radical youths from the stock of unemployable youth that littered the streets of northern Nigeria in need of sense of spiritual emancipation from years of poverty and lack. Many literatures had maintained the fact that poverty is not an impetus for rebellion acts yet it has been proven through direct observation that rebellion thrives where the state failure and poverty is evident. As a matter of fact, the basis for international humanitarian efforts in Africa has been based on prevention of high criminality that may result from unchecked growth in poverty and hunger in several failing states in the continent.

One major challenge to the provision of public infrastructure development has been in the slow bureaucratic processes and the attendant high corruption of government officials in most African countries. NGOs and Community Based Organisations has been a bridge between the people and the government in actualizing people oriented development projects.

As development actors, NGOs have become the main service providers in countries where the government is unable to fulfill its traditional role. In the education sector, many NGOs have moved beyond ‘gap- filling’ initiatives into capacity building activities. This paper seeks to address the role of NGOs in development through the lens of capacity building. Through academic articles and NGO working papers, we can determine the effect of NGOs on capacity development and their role in building capacity on all levels, using a framework based on positive hypotheses:

NGOs are increasingly involved in capacity development. As the development discourse leans towards developing skills and tools for strengthening society, NGOs have reacted accordingly. They wish first and foremost to remain important stakeholders in development and to impart their extensive knowledge in the education sector. This involvement changes the ways in which NGOs operate. Capacity-building activities complement traditional service provision, though this does not mean that all NGOs have good relations with government.

In any case, NGO activities are increasingly diverse. They have an impact on the interpretation of capacity development. NGOs are influenced by the ideology of capacity development as defined by the hegemonic development discourse, but they also influence its meaning from the outside. This modified interpretation of capacity development can weaken central government but strengthen it in the long term. NGOs have the capacity to innovate and adapt more quickly than national governments; therefore, their actions can undermine government initiatives. But if they scale up their activities and impart their knowledge and techniques at the government level, the country as a whole can benefit.

NGOs have a significant impact on the whole process but are also plagued by severe obstacles. NGOs continue to suffer from a lack of resources and from their general estrangement from the state. Unless they become partners with government, and not competitors, capacity-building initiatives will continue to be stunted.

The environment in Northeastern Nigeria remains inundated by high-level insecurity that makes development programme seem essentially impossible. While most stakeholders abstained from the area due to high risk factor and the ongoing sate of emergency has further negated the infrastructural capacity of these three states under the military onslaught on the insurgents. The apparent lack of trust for state institutions in these areas will make the use of conventional government MDA approach to development clearly unwelcome. Locally based NGOs, CBOs and FBOs can easily breach this gap and stand in as the only way to reach out and provide succor to non-combatants and civilians in these areas. Government should provide funds for locally established and managed Community Based and Faith Based Organisations to drive development agendas in the tri-violent states of Yobe, Bauchi and Borno to kick start development in these areas.

The advantage of using locally based organisations in handling the development programmes in these areas are two pronged:

1. Train employable locally Based service delivery experts: One of the problems with the region remains in the increasing number of unemployable youth, given low economic activities in the areas. Inflow of fresh funds may increase economic activities and create expansion of local industry to support the increase in demand for resources in the area. The use of locally based personnel should avail the growth of necessary local experts needed for the entrenchment and maintenance of programme. The failure of most INGOs has been traced to the lack of proper local supports for their programme.
2. Increase trust in the process: Most locals may become part of the process since it is being handled through local personnel known to them. Trust in the process may enhance collaboration and could boost the programme at all level.

Recommendations:

Civil societies or NGOs in Nigeria has had a cheered history, from a vibrant, uncompromising and result focus pre-independence era, through a government hampered and corrupt operation before mid-1990s to a strong indivisible front during the democratic struggles of the late eighties and this era of political activism, corrupt leadership and weaken structure.

Regrettably, there cannot be a sustainable reform without the supports and inputs of the civil societies. Civil societies are needed to act as middlemen between the policy makers and their communities. Hence the role of these groups in reforms may includes:

• Raising public awareness on issues and reasons for reforms: There is a need for proper information, direct and people oriented to educate the public. These should not be media driven but generated and managed by the people. The CS could be empowered through seminars and workshops to educate the public on the needs for direct engagement in programmes and their roles in reforms in Nigeria.
• Promoting debates and talks on issues, practices, challenges and reforms required:
Policies can only succeed when the public opinion form its bedrock. The NGO programme should be directed to organize formal public debates and hearings on important policy and inform the state of their reports.
• Spreading Reform Information:
Organizing and maintaining civil societies in areas where there is no awareness and education level is low. Thereby reaching out to lower cadres of the society with proper information on reforms.
• Monitoring and Evaluating the Reform Processes: Exposing and reporting to appropriate authorities’ misconducts, demanding transparency and accountability from all security organization through a nationwide monitoring system. Reporting and writing articles on reform issues to educate the public and the police officers alike.
Creating framework and opportunities for future reforms through the setting-up of bodies to monitor and collate data on PSC operatives and organizations and the police operations in all areas of the country.
• Partnering:
Organizing local and international workshops, talks and town hall meetings to share, discuss, teach and compare feedbacks on policing issues from different unit of the society and publishing their memorandum in national press.
• Act as links between the public and police:
Encouraging and involving community groups in policing, creating neighborhoods watch and vigilante groups -under proper legislations- to guard and secure their environment.

Don Michael Adeniji, MA, pnm
Director, Security Policy Analysis.
African Initiative for Peace and Human Development

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Communication, A Key in Countering Violent Extremism -Medium

News, Terrorism

There is no overstating the significance of communication between the various key stakeholders when it comes to Countering Violent ExExtremis Proper communication averts misunderstanding, which is often the prelude to violent conflict.

What today’s youth want, is that their understanding of what progress and success means, and their preferred means of attaining such success must be communicated to, and understood by the older generation.

Likewise, the needs of a girl child must be understood, in the same manner, by other groups in society. Because all groups must work together and make compromises before they can see that issues are better addressed through dialogue, rather than violence.
We cannot know what each of us want without communicating with each other. Only then could we prioritise and tackle problems without resorting to violence. For instance, when you are discussing Reintegration in the NorthEast Nigeria without including community representatives, religious leaders, traditional leaders and also the Civilian Joint Tasks Forces (CJTFs), I don’t think the discussion is complete.

Failure to communicate well will push aggrieved groups towards violent ideologies, with grave consequences.
Let’s start talking to others, and encourage others to talk to us, without them worrying about being judged or attacked for their positions on issues. There is so much possibilities in dialogue, whereas violence can only engender ill will and suffering. It is the lack communication that generates frustration and anger, which in turn makes it seem like there is no option but violence.
Let’s talk to each other, so we can be there for each.

#NotAnotherNigerian #CounteringViolentExtremism #UntoldStoriesOfTheNorthEast

Boko Haram will take years to ‘eliminate’: UN envoy

Boko Haram, News

File: AFP

Despite military successes scored against Boko Haram jihadists, it will take years to “completely eliminate” the group, a United Nations envoy told AFP Tuesday.

“Boko Haram has proven to be a resilient group…I think it will take time to totally eliminate,” said Muhammad Ibn Chambas, special envoy to the UN secretary general for West Africa and the Sahel.

“What we are seeing is that Boko Haram has become part of an international terrorism network.”

Chambas was speaking on the sidelines of a Lake Chad regional summit in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state and birthplace of Boko Haram.

Governors from four countries straddling the lake – Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon – are meeting for two days to discuss regional co-operation on stabilisation, peace building and sustainable development in the area.

His remarks come at a time the Nigerian government and military is insisting that the war against Boko Haram is over, despite a recent spate of attacks by the extremists.

On May 1 at least 86 people were killed in twin suicide attacks targeting a mosque and a nearby market in the town of Mubi in Adamawa state.

Chambas said that the Islamist insurgents were likely still holding on to territory in the region.

“It is relative,” he said in response to reports that Boko Haram was holding territory in the northeast states of Yobe and Borno.

“As long as they are not totally defeated obviously they are present in some areas”.

The Islamist insurgency has killed at least 20 000 people in nine years of violence that has spilled from northeast Nigeria into Niger, Chad and Cameroon, creating a dire humanitarian crisis.

The four countries formed the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to fight the Islamic extremists who criss-cross the porous borders in the remote region.

Chambas commended the MNJTF counter terrorism fight as “appreciably successful” but warned it was far from over.

“We of course ask that the MNJTF remains vigilant in its fight against Boko Haram, we cannot take it for granted and assume they have been totally defeated”.

In December 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari declared Boko Haram had been “technically defeated” after reclaiming swathes of territory back from the jihadists.

But claims that the jihadists are a spent force have been put under scrutiny as the jihadists continued to launch deadly suicide and gun attacks on military and civilian targets

US builds drone base in Niger, crossroads of extremism fight

Africa, Boko Haram, News, Tech, Terrorism

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On the scorching edge of the Sahara Desert, the U.S. Air Force is building a base for armed drones, the newest front in America’s battle against the growing extremist threat in Africa’s vast Sahel region.

Three hangars and the first layers of a runway command a sandy, barren field. Niger Air Base 201 is expected to be functional early next year. The base, a few miles outside Agadez and built at the request of Niger’s government, will eventually house fighter jets and MQ-9 drones transferred from the capital Niamey. The drones, with surveillance and added striking capabilities, will have a range enabling them to reach a number of West and North African countries.

Few knew of the American military’s presence in this desperately poor, remote West African country until October, when an ambush by Islamic State group-linked extremists killed four U.S. soldiers and five Nigeriens.

The $110 million project is the largest troop labor construction project in U.S. history, according to Air Force officials. It will cost $15 million annually to operate.

Citing security reasons, no official will say how many drones will be housed at the base or whether more U.S. personnel will be brought to the region. Already the U.S. military presence here is the second largest in Africa behind the sole permanent U.S. base on the continent, in the tiny Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti.

The drones at the base are expected to target several different al-Qaida and Islamic State group-affiliated fighters in countries throughout the Sahel, a sprawling region just south of the Sahara, including the area around Lake Chad, where the Nigeria’s Boko Haram insurgency has spread.

As the U.S. puts drones at the forefront of the fight against extremists, some worry that civilians will be mistaken for fighters.

“We are afraid of falling back into the same situation as in Afghanistan, with many mistakes made by American soldiers who did not always know the difference between a wedding ceremony and a training of terrorist groups,” said Amadou Roufai, a Nigerien administration official.

Civic leader Nouhou Mahamadou also expressed concerns.

“The presence of foreign bases in general and American in particular is a serious surrender of our sovereignty and a serious attack on the morale of the Nigerien military,” he said.

The number of U.S. military personnel in Niger has risen over the past few years from 100 to 800, the second largest concentration in Africa after the 4,000 in Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. About 500 personnel are working on the new air and drone base and the base camp is marked with an American and Nigerien flag.

Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance are crucial in the fight against extremism, U.S. Africa Command spokeswoman Samantha Reho said.

“The location in Agadez will improve U.S. Africa Command’s capability to facilitate intelligence-sharing that better supports Niger and other partner nations, such as Nigeria, Chad, Mali and other neighbors in the region and will improve our capability to respond to regional security issues,” Reho said.

The intelligence gathered by the drones can be used by Niger and other U.S. partners for prosecuting extremists, said Commander Brad Harbaugh, who is in charge of the new base.

Some in Niger welcome the growing U.S. military presence in the face of a growing extremist threat in the region.

“Northern Mali has become a no man’s land, southern Libya is an incubator for terrorists and northeastern Nigeria is fertile ground for Boko Haram’s activities … Can Niger alone ensure its own security? I think not. No country in the world can today alone fight terrorism,” said Souleymane Abdourahmane, a restaurant promoter in the capital, Niamey.

Threats include al-Qaida-linked fighters in Mali and Burkina Faso, Islamic State group-affiliated fighters in Niger, Mali and Nigeria and the Nigeria-based Boko Haram. They take advantage of the vast region’s widespread poverty and countries’ often poorly equipped security forces.

Foreigners, including a German aid worker kidnapped this month in Niger, have been targeted as well.

The U.S. military’s use of armed drones comes as its special forces pull back from the front lines of the fight. The focus is changing to advising and assisting local partners higher up the chain of command, said U.S. Special Command Africa commander Maj. Gen. Marcus Hicks.

Ibrahim Maiga, a Mali-based researcher for the Institute for Security Studies, said more needs to be known about the U.S. military presence in the region.

“The U.S. military footprint in the Sahel is difficult to grasp, just as it is not easy to assess its effectiveness,” he said. “There isn’t nearly enough information in the public space on this presence.”

Mud homes line the barbed wire fence at the edge of the main airport in Agadez. Residents watch the U.S. forces come and go with curiosity.

Shebu Issa, an assistant at a Quranic school, stood in one doorway as goats and children roamed the sandy roads.

“It’s no big deal to us, they come and they don’t bother us. We appreciate they want to help in the fight,” he said. “We live a hard life, and don’t make much money, so we hope maybe this will help us get more.”

___

Associated Press writer Dalatou Mamane in Niamey, Niger contributed.

US urges Nigeria to change tactics against Boko Haram – AFP

Boko Haram, News, Nigeria, Nigerian Army, Terrorism
afp.jpgNigerian forces battling Boko Haram jihadists need a change of mindset to overcome an evolving guerrilla threat, US military officials said this week on the sidelines of an African security summit.

Boko Haram’s tactics – from improvised explosive devices to hiding within the local population – necessitate a shift away from conventional strategies, said Lieutenant-Colonel Sean McClure, the US defence attache in Abuja.

“We haven’t necessarily seen that kind of adaptation cycle,” he told AFP. “They’re trying to figure out how to do this.

“How they think in terms of combat, in my opinion, is still thinking of things as conventional warfare.”

 As the United States steps up its military presence in Africa, it hopes to share lessons learned in the Middle East with Nigeria and other countries in the Sahel fighting extremist groups.

The Sahel region is host to a string of Islamist groups including Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali and Boko Haram in Nigeria and the wider Lake Chad area.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with more than 180 million people, has been fighting Boko Haram since 2009 and has repeatedly claimed to have defeated the group.

Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, declared on Tuesday there was “no doubt Boko Haram terrorists have been defeated, they don’t have the capacity”.

But persistent attacks against soldiers and civilians, including a brazen new kidnapping of over 100 schoolgirls from the northeastern town of Dapchi on February 19, suggest otherwise.

Meanwhile, the emergence of an ISIS-allied faction of Boko Haram, whose strategy is to provide an alternative government for people living in the impoverished region, poses a new threat.

“It starts to become a very wicked problem,” McClure said.

 ‘Acrimony’ 

At a military demonstration in Gwagwalada, a town on the outskirts of Abuja, Nigerian special forces performed a battle drill in front of Africa’s senior commanders.

Soldiers rappelled from helicopters as the midday sun blazed over the savannah, then the infantry moved in to liberate mock hostages from a compound.

But with Borno state, the centre of the Boko Haram conflict nearly twice the size of Belgium, Nigeria cannot rely on soldiers alone.

It also needs the support of the local population.

Buratai told the summit that winning the hearts and minds of people in the northeast has been a “big challenge”. Human intelligence has long been seen as vital to winning the war.

But rights groups have accused Nigeria’s military of killing, torturing and arbitrarily arresting thousands of civilians on suspicion of being Boko Haram members or sympathisers.

That has stoked tensions in a region already wary of the government and made people in hard-to-reach rural areas particularly reluctant to cooperate with the authorities.

“People thought the military action was aggressive to them, so this brought acrimony,” admitted Buratai but he added: “We have done a lot since then and the perception has changed.”

 Human rights concerns

Similar tensions have been seen elsewhere in Nigeria in relation to separate threats, including over the military handling of protests by pro-Biafran separatists in the southeast.

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Protests calling for the release of an imprisoned pro-Iranian Shiite Muslim cleric hung over the Abuja summit, again turning the attention to tactics and possible rights abuses.

Two days of protests on Monday and Tuesday saw at least 115 supporters of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky arrested after running battles with police, who fired tear gas and water cannon.

Zakzaky, the head of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, has been in custody since December 2015 after troops attacked his supporters in the northern city of Zaria.

More than 300 were killed and buried in a mass grave, according to Amnesty International.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has launched a judicial panel to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in the military.

But experts warn any reform will take time – if it happens at all.

“It’s very difficult for the Nigerian army to overturn 50-plus years of a bad reputation,” said Yan St-Pierre, a counter-terrorism specialist at the Modern Security Consulting Group in Berlin.

“People are squeezed between a rock and a hard place. Some don’t feel comfortable with the army or Boko Haram,” he said, warning that “if the military doesn’t have popular support basically the insurgents will have it”.

Read more on:    al qaeda  |  isis  |  boko haram  |  nigeria  |  west africa

ISS Spotlight: building a new corps of dedicated African counter-terrorism experts

Africa, Boko Haram, Terrorism
With its skilled staff, professional networks and wealth of original research, ISS helps Africa tackle an evolving threat.

2018-04-11-training-spotlight-banner.jpgThe Institute for Security Studies (ISS) is helping African police to understand and combat terrorism on the continent, and to investigate and prosecute terrorism cases. Willem Els, a senior training coordinator at the ISS, is building a corps of well-trained African counter-terrorism experts while adapting international best practice to local conditions.

Threats include Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin, al-Shabaab in Kenya and Somalia, and al-Qaida affiliates across the Sahel and North Africa. Three African countries – Nigeria, Somalia and Egypt – are in the global top ten countries most affected by terrorism, according to the 2016 Global Terrorism Index. Terrorism on the continent is particularly lethal, with six African states (Nigeria, Tunisia, Chad, Niger, Kenya and Cameroon) in the top ten countries with the highest average deaths per attack.

Police and prosecution services need specific skills to detect, combat, investigate and prosecute terrorism. The ISS helps to build these capacities through its expert staff and professional networks.

Els has an abundance of skills and experience. He served 28 years as a police officer in South Africa, with leadership positions in the national bomb squad, and time as an undercover sky marshal in the aviation anti-hijacking unit. He is a member of the International Association for Bomb Technicians and Investigators, with experience preparing disposal experts to work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now Els is sharing his knowledge with African police and prosecutors, working in partnership with policing organisations in East and West Africa, as well as Interpol, the United Nations, African Union and the EU.

‘It is rewarding to see my skills and experience embraced and integrated into the daily operations of people who deal with terrorism in Africa,’ he says. ‘We are investing in and empowering the next generation of passionate and competent counter-terrorism experts.’

Effective counter-terrorism requires an integrated training approach. The ISS has helped to create the official counter-terrorism manual for police agencies in East, West and southern Africa. Essentially an African counter-terrorism training handbook, it covers intelligence, explosives and bomb disposal, crime scene handling, weapons of mass destruction, causes of radicalisation and the evolution of terror.

ISS training spans national, regional and international legal instruments, extradition, state-sponsored terror, counter-intelligence, border control, biological weapons, dirty bombs and collection of evidence. ISS trainers are supported by African experts with world-class experience in subjects ranging from hostage negotiations, incident management andprosecution of terrorists.

Discussions are underway with a top South African university to accredit the training to diploma or post-graduate level and then offer it as a distance learning module.

The recognised value and impact of ISS training is based on its comprehensive and integrated counter-terrorism curriculum, and the deep working relationships with African police services and Interpol offices across the continent.

‘We go well beyond professional relationships based on technical expertise,’ says Els. ‘We bond as friends and comrades who face a common threat.’

‘The ISS is welcomed and respected as an African organisation which cares deeply about the continent’s security. We are embraced as true African partners who find local solutions to African challenges.’

Working with east African police, Els and other experts have produced standard operating procedures which serve as an investigators’ field guide following an incident. Terrorism is a threat that keeps evolving, so Els runs refresher courses for investigators, and specialised training when required. This includes bringing together frontline bomb technicians and intelligence experts from different terror hotspots to share their experience.

Annual field training supported by the ISS sees hundreds of police from across Africa participate in simulated hijackings, hostage negotiations, tactical interventions, defusing explosives, working with dogs and investigating a terror scene.

The ISS also hosts annual workshops where African heads of counter-terrorism and crime investigation discuss and agree regional priorities and identify new focus areas, such as the role of women in extremism. These discussions are informed by the wealth of original ISS research on violent extremism in Africa.

Working as a counter-terrorism trainer is not without its emotional challenges. Els tells a harrowing story of a late-night call from Somalia where three policemen had been blown up after following on-site instructions to approach a suspect vehicle. The caller survived the incident because he followed protocols learned in his ISS training.

For more information contact:

Willem Els, ISS: +27 82 554 7695, wels@issafrica.org

Picture: Jacqueline Cochrane/ISS