ActionAid Nigeria takes steps towards ending violent Extremism in Kogi and Nassarawa States

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ActionAid Nigeria recently commenced the implementation of the second phase of a project tagged “System and Structure Strengthening Approach against Radicalisation to Violent Extremism” SARVE 2 in Kogi and Nasarawa State, with funding from Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, (GCERF).

According to the group, the 33-months project which was initially implemented in Kogi State only from 2016 to 2018, has now been extended to Nasarawa State and will also cover more LGAs in Kogi state. According to the country Director of Actionaid Nigeria, Ene Obi, the project will reach 36,000 persons directly by supporting the benefitting communities against injustice and inequalities through building tolerance, strengthen community agencies where violent extremists exploit weak governance, and providing positive socio-economic alternatives and life skills to what violent extremists claim to offer.
ActionAid is a global movement of people working together to further human rights for all and defeat poverty.

Speaking during the launch of SARVE 2 in Kogi state recently, the state government warmed politicians in the state against using youths to perpetuate political violence, saying that the government would henceforth take drastic action against perpetuators and their sponsors.

The Secretary to the state government, Dr. (Mrs) Folashade Arike Ayoade gave the government position on during the Lunch of the second phase of System and Structure Strengthening Approach Against Radicalization to Violent Extremism (SARVE), sponsored by Actionaid Nigeria.

While restating the commitment of the state government to partner with Actionaid to eliminate violent extremism and political thuggry from kogi State, Ayoade commended the organization for the successes recorded in the first phase of the programme in the state.

She specifically charge mothers to guide there children so that they will not be led astray, saying that the government of Alhaji Yahaya Bello abhors Violent extremism in all it’s ramifications.

Also speaking, the country Director, ActionAid Nigeria Mrs Ene Obi said that the commencement of the implementation of the second phase of the project tagged “System and Structure Strengthening Approach against Radicalisation to Violent Extremism” SARVE 2 in Kogi and Nasarawa State, with approved amount of $2.5 million dollars was to build on the achievements recorded in the first phase of the SARVE project in kogi state.

The country Director who was represented by Actionaid Director of Programme, Tasallah Chibok, said that the 33-months project which was initially implemented in Kogi State from 2016 to 2018, has now been extended to Nasarawa State and will also cover more LGAs in Kogi state.

Group photograph from the media training at Goshen City, Nassarawa

According to her, the project would reach 36,000 beneficiaries directly, by supporting the benefitting communities against injustice and inequalities through building
tolerance, strengthen community agencies where violent extremists exploit weak governance, and providing positive socio-economic alternatives and life skills to what violent extremists claim to offer.

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“The second phase of the project was informed by the need to decrease vulnerability of at -risk young men and women to violent extremism, strengthen community systems and structures to address violent extremism, and to create an enabling environment for preventing violent extremism.

“The commencement of a second phase was as a result of the impact and achievements recorded in the first phase of the project.
It can be recalled that the first phase of the SARVE project was designed to systematically address the source of extreme restive violence that played out in Kogi state as a result of its numerous porous borders by digging deep into the fundamental causes of the type of violence in the state and to create workable community driven solutions to prevent and address internal conflicts and general restiveness.

“The first phase successfully reached 12,985 youths, 4,230 women and 8,705 men directly with capacity building, sensitisation programmes and socio-economic empowerment. During its first phase, the project set up 9 mini cottage industries (including: rice milling, cassava processing, bakery and block moulding factories in the communities where it was implemented) which contributed to raising more Kogi women and youths above the poverty line.

Actionaid Country Director, Ene Obi left during the presentation of certificates to participants at the media training in Goshen City, Nassarawa

She said The project also leveraged on the “catch them young” principle by reaching children aged 6-16 through peace clubs in schools to make them peace ambassadors from a young age.

According Ene Obi ActionAid Nigeria in partnership with her Kogi State Local Rights Partner; Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) and Global Peace Development (GPD) in Nasarawa State will be implementing the second phase of the project in Kogi and Nasarawa states respectively.

She noted that the project will also work closely with the office of the Governors, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and other relevant MDAs, Community Based Organisations and youth groups in the states to achieve the set target.

While stating that the project implementation will be for 33 months, April 2019 – December 2021 which would be implemented in 6 LGAs in Kogi State (Igalamela/Odolu, Ankpa, Adavi, Okehi, Lokoja and Kogi) and 6 LGAs (Obi, Lafia, Nassarawa-Eggon, Akwanga, Toto and Nassarawa) in Nasarawa State. SARVE two project was also launched in Nassarawa state.

ActionAid Nigeria recently concluded the training of 24 women peer education facilitators from 12 communities as part of its System and Structure Strengthening Approach against Radicalisation to Violent Extremism (SARVE) project in Kogi.
Ms Nkechi Ilochi-Omekedo, ActionAid Programmes Manager, Women’s Rights, disclosed this while speaking with Guardian at the end of the two-day training programme in Okene on Friday.

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The Programme Manager said violent crimes arising from extremism were on the increase with women and children often at the receiving end and there was need to curb it using human development strategy through empowerment and Knowledge of rights.

Ilochi-Omekedo said the training was informed by the realisation that violent extremism had become rampant, assuming a dangerous dimension and affecting everyone.

“The increased number of violence we see in the society is huge and if we do not curb it by using a strategy that looks at human being and at human development, we will continue to experience violence and conflict everyday.

“Part of the the content of this training is looking at violence and managing conflict, it’s looking at emergencies and how we respond.

“So we are hoping to see that through this training, women are more empowered and they can go back to their communities and begin to cause those changes to happen, creating safe spaces.

She said that training was a holistic package that looked broadly at women’s issues, how to demand and negotiate their rights and build capabilities to positively impact their families and the wider environment.

Ilochi-Omekedo quickly noted that the essence was not to disrupt homes but build better relationships saying it was a constructive empowerment thing rather than destructive.

Mr Anicetus Atakpu, Humanitarian and Resilience Programme Coordinator for ActionAid Nigeria, speaking on the training programme, said ActionAid was currently taking a lead on the SARVE II project in Kogi and Nassarawa states.

He said the work entailed building community resilience against violent extremism and planned to provide a platform for women to discuss issues of their safety as the most vulnerable group.

“We plan to establish in the 12 project communities, safe spaces for women and young female adults where they can come together to discuss issues around their safety. Issues around reducing their vulnerability to violent extremism.

“So we are establishing safe spaces in those communities to ensure that women are protected, provided with the needed support and are given the atmosphere to air their views and build capacity towards reducing their level of vulnerability.

Hajia Zainab Ibrahim, Head of Department, Health, with Kogi Local Government and one of the peer education facilitators said she learnt from the training that peace in any society must starts from the family and women should strive to ensure peace at their homes.

Akowe Victoria and Maria Abuh, facilitators from Igalamela-Odolu Local Government said they learnt more about hygiene in the home, child spacing, care for the elderly and effects of climate change among others.

Mrs Dorcas Yahaya, Women Leader from Ukowa in Ihima, commended ActionAid for the opportunity provided her to learn saying she had always been very hostile to her son but had had a change of mind after the training and would try to be friendly with him from now.

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According to Actionaid Nigeria, the phase of the project was informed by the need to decrease vulnerability of at -risk young men and women to violent extremism, strengthen community systems and structures to address violent extremism and to create an enabling environment for preventing violent extremism. The commencement of a second phase was as a result of the impact and achievements recorded in the first phase of the project.

It added that the first phase of the SARVE project was designed to systematically address the
source of extreme restive violence that played out in Kogi state as a result of its numerous porous borders by digging deep into the fundamental causes of the type of violence in the state and to create workable community driven solutions to prevent and address internal conflicts and general restiveness.

In order to make journalists part of the implementation of the SARVE two project, selected journalists from kogi and Nassarawa states were trained by Actionaid with funding from Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, (GCERF), at the Goshen City, Nassarawa state. Journalists were urged to focus more on peace building stories rather than sensational ones which can trigger crisis

The Country Director, Actionaid Nigeria, Ene Obi, during the three day workshop, called on journalists to focus more on stories that are geared towards peace build, conflict resolution and prevention of violent extremism in the communities across Nigeria.
The country Director was represented by Fumilayo Oyefusi, Actionaid Director, Organizational effectiveness, at the three day media training for selected journalists from Kogi and Nassarawa States, on Advanced Conflict Sensitive Reportage held at the Goshen City.

According to her journalists must always take note of their personal safety while reporting crisis situations, stressing that no story is worth the life of any journalists.

She insisted that reports on violence and crisis situation must be balance, accurate, while also giving fair hearing to all sides in conflict to avoid the escalation of the conflict.

Speaking also Anicetus Atakpu, Resilience Programme Coordinator, noted that the the phase two System and Structures Strengthening Approach Against Radicalization to Violent Extremism ( SARVE), was aimed at strengthening community resilience against violent extremism in kogi and Nassarawa States.

According to him, the programme which will last for a period of three years, would be implemented in twenty four communities and in twelve local government areas in kogi and Nassarawa States.

The six LGAs in Kogi State are; Igalamela/Odolu, Ankpa, Adavi, Okehi, Lokoja and Kogi, while six LGAs in Nassarawa State are; Obi, Lafia, Nassarawa-Eggon, Akwanga, Toto and Nassarawa.

The targeted groups for the SARVE two project includes, school children of ages 0-15years, youths within the age bracket of 15- 35 years, women and men from ages 36 and above.




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