FG Developing Narratives to Dismantle Boko Haram Ideology & Messages – Lai Mohammed.

Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has disclosed that the federal government is committed to developing narratives and communication strategies that will completely dismantle and neutralize Boko Haram ideology and messages.
Speaking at the public presentation of Nigeria’s Policy Framework and National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism in Abuja on Tuesday, he said, “As you are very much aware, extremist groups thrive on two major things:
One is to get their ideologies and messages out to the public, which today has been facilitated by the democratization of the cyberspace, for the purpose of recruitment and radicalization. The second is publicity, which is the oxygen that they live on.

 It is upon this realization that the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture has resolved to work closely with all the core constituencies, as defined in the Policy Framework.
We are committed to developing narratives and communication strategies that will completely dismantle and neutralize Boko Haram ideology and messages.
We did that when we launch the national sensitization campaign against insecurity in December 2015. I am sure many of you would have heard the slogan, if you see something, say something. We intend to take that campaign further.

Thanks to the leadership and political will demonstrated by President Muhammadu Buhari, which has served as a morale booster for our gallant men and women in uniform, Boko Haram has been decimated and put on the run by our gallant military.

The record of success is there for all to see: At least 30,000 hostages kidnapped by Boko Haram extremist group, including women and Children, have been rescued by the military.
More than 100 Chibok girls have so far been rescued. The government is committed to the safe return of the remaining Chibok girls while rehabilitating and reuniting them with their families and communities.
Sambisa Forest has become too hot for Boko Haram and they are now escaping to neighbouring communities. Boko Haram is no longer able to carry out organized attacks.
They hold no territory and their flag, which they
were flying in Bama and other territories they used to occupy, has become a shroud.

But the challenge is for us to develop the strategies to counter the dangerous ideologies and messages being peddled by the extremists.
The Federal government is not unmindful of structural conditions that make an environment conducive to the growth of violent extremism, such as unemployment, poverty, lack of education, corruption, and other social-economic factors.
Through various policies and programmes of this administration, these structural conditions are being addressed on a daily basis.

For example, the Anchors Borrowers programme has created over 6.3 million jobs for farmers through rice farming.
Equally significant, the Federal government has served no fewer than 246.4 million meals to Primary school pupils across 20 States under the National Home Grown School feeding Programme (NHGSFP) to encourage children enrolment in schools.
According to a widely reported recent survey, no fewer than 10.27 million children have been enrolled into public primary schools in the North West and North Central Zones of the country in the last one year, representing an increase of 20 per cent in some of the states.
This was attributed largely to the school feeding programme. Development programmes like the school feeding scheme are at the heart our effort to prevent violent extremism.

Also, the N-Power programme of the Federal Government has engaged and deployed over 200,000 young Nigerian to public primary schools, primary healthcare centre, and in agriculture development project centre’s across local government areas in the country.
This is with a view to helping build community resilience against violent extremist group. That number is set to increase by 300,000 this year.

Government is also taking a bold step to address the issue of recharging the Lake Chad Basin, which has shrunk by 90% between 1963 and now.
The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Water Resources, is organizing an International Conference on Lake Chad later this month, in order to come up with holistic plan on the Lake Chad, which has impacted negatively on the livelihood of the people that depended on it for farming activities.

As part of its soft approach in tackling security challenges, our administration is engaging in dialogue with different key stakeholders in order to find possible and lasting solutions to the issue of herder-farmer conflicts, which is one of the security challenges we face today.

The role of the media in the fight against violent extremism cannot be over-emphasized.
It is on this basis that I applaud the critical role which the Nigerian Media has played, and continues to play, in the fight against extremists group in our country.
Despite intimidations and attacks on some media outfits by Boko Haram, the Nigerian media stood firm and is still standing by the Nigerian people.
I encourage the media to sustain this momentum and to deny extremist groups the oxygen of publicity which they badly crave, until we collectively dismantle Boko Haram extremist ideologies through constructive alternative narratives.

Furthermore, I also encourage you to engage in a responsible use of the social media so it doesn’t become a platform for spreading fear, hatred and violence, which are capable of tearing apart any

In conclusion, building resilience against violent extremism in our communities requires collective responsibility of all of us, including women and girls, families, faith-based organizations, civil society organizations, media and social media influencers, political leaders, the private sector, community leaders, artists and social mobilizers.

I urge you all to join hands with Federal, States and Local Governments to make our country a safer place to live by preventing and countering violent extremism through the use of the soft approach.

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