Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi has advocated for a multi-country partnership in order to combat violent extremist crimes that are spreading across West Africa.
“In order to combat violent extremist crimes that are spreading across West Africa, it is important to have a multi-country partnership, not just a single country,” he said.
Kazuyoshi stated this Friday at the closing ceremony of the Countering Violent Extremism Course 3/2023 organized by the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPCK) in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC), Abuja.
A total of 30 participants drawn from Nigeria, Benin republic, Ghana and Sierra –Leone attended the training.
According to him, violent extremist crimes, including terrorism, kidnapping, small-weapons smuggling and robbery, are on the rise across West Africa.
He said the course was aimed at strengthening capacities of security agencies in the West Africa sub-region to tackle violent extremism.
“Recently, military operations against terrorists have resulted in civilian casualties and serious damage in some cases.
“This project, launched this year, focuses on strengthening the capacity of security authorities and actors in West African countries to counter violent extremism and protect civilians in armed conflict.
“In short, the project will contribute to peace and stability in Nigeria and, by extension, throughout West Africa,” he said.
He disclosed that the course is a fulfillment of Japanese government’s pledge to contribute to peace and development in Africa.
“In August last year, the Japanese government, together with UNDP, the World Bank and the AUC, hosted the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Tunisia, inviting African heads of state and government.
“Japan pledged to contribute to realization of ‘sustainable peace and stability’ and ‘strengthening human resource development’ in Africa. This course represents both of these pledges,” he said.
He added that the government of Japan, together with other international partners such as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), will continue to contribute to peace and stability in Africa and to the livelihoods of the African people and to economic growth and prosperity.
In his remarks, the Team Lead, Governance, Peace & Security, UNDP Mr. Matthew Alao, noted that the course is relevant to global peace, stability and development.
He said: “We would like to use this medium to stress the importance of this course to the global and regional peace, stability and development, as well as the attainment of SDGs and agenda 2030.
“ Building the capacities of the relevant partners to effectively counter violent extremism will improve socio-economic wellbeing of the respective population, sustain regional and national peace and development, enhance the professionalism of the beneficiaries, and significantly boost citizen-government trust and confidence. “
He urged participant to nurture the knowledge and expertise acquired in the last two weeks and apply them in all related assignments.
Also speaking, a former Chief of Defence Staff, and Chairman Board of Trustees of MLAILPCK Gen. Martin Luther Agwai, urged participated to use the knowledge they acquire during the course to contribute to peace and stability in their respective countries.
He said advancement in technology has increased security threats across the world.
“You will agree with me that in the world you are living in today is different from the world some of us grew into when we young. The more knowledgeable people are becoming, he more gadget that you have, the threat to security become.
“Today, you don’t need to organize any lecture, all you need is to go on a websites, put things, and you will find followers; those who are agreeing and disagreeing with you. It is a tough time for you especially those who have something to do with human security,” he said.