From Esther Akaa, Lafia
The Country Manager, Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), Sarah Le Mesurier, has recommended media communication, network building, youth volunteering as well as the use of new online tools as positive measures to improve socio-economic development in post COVID-19 era.
Le Mesurier made the recommendation recently while speaking on the Overview of GCERF partnership with Nigeria, during the
SARVE II Mid-Term Report (MTR) dissemination held virtually.
According to her, increased digital literacy was a positive measure to addressing the post COVID-19 challenges and would improve the socio-economic development of the country.
She also stressed the need to build social cohesion between different groups and government entities, in order to prevent violent extremism in the society.
“Awareness of violent extremism is already high, but not how to address it: Develop systems and structures to respond to radicalisation. Significant proportion of people, especially youth, see violence as a legitimate response, and few people promoting non-violence.
“Serious challenges around inter-community relationships and
communication: Emphasise building social cohesion between
different groups, opening space for interaction and non-violent people trust conflict resolution mechanisms, but a significant proportion do not see it as effective: Build on trust and improve their effectiveness,” she said.
She, therefore, called on people, especially the youth to build trust with local community leaders, in order to prevent violent extremism in their communities.
In her remark, the Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, Mrs Ene Obi decried the high rate of insecurity in the country, especially as it affects women and girls, calling on government at all levels to rise up to the task of providing security for its citizens.
“ActionAid believes that conflict issues affecting women, girls and young people must be tackled. In August 2019, for instance, there was a news report by Radio Nigeria about an attack by some suspected bandits, on the convoy of Nasarawa State Deputy Governor while in transit to the nation’s capital. During this attack, we lost three policemen, but the bandits were arrested few days later.
“Also, in November 2019, political tension escalated into violence and resulted to the burning of one of the parties’ women leader in Ochadamu ward of Ofu Local Government Area, after the Kogi state gubernatorial election.
“These are but, tiny bits of the many security and life-threatening challenges facing citizens in the country daily, which are sometimes instigated by prolonged disagreement, conflict, or marginalisation,” she said.
Mrs Obi said ActionAid’s engagement with vulnerable communities in Nigeria through the SARVE II Project, seeks to address conflicts and violent extremism through its activities in Kogi and Nasarawa states.
She called for peaceful coexistence and dialogue as means of preventing violence and promoting peace among communities.
GCERF, an organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland is funding the System and Structure Strengthening Approach Against Radicalisation to Violent Extremism (SARVE II) Project, being implemented by ActionAid Nigeria, alongside her local partners in Kogi and Nasarawa States.