By Harrison Arubu
The United Kingdom says it is currently supporting initiatives to increase economic opportunities for marginalised youth in northern Nigeria with development funding worth nearly 50 million dollars (N15 billion).
Mr James Roscoe, the UK Ambassador on General Assembly Matters to the United Nations, stated this at a UN Security Council meeting on peace and security in West Africa, in New York on Monday.
Roscoe said the UK was providing additional 28 million dollars (N8.5 billion) in funding for projects to “reduce young people’s vulnerability to recruitment by violent extremist groups” in Borno.
The gestures, according to him, are part of the UK’s contributions, working with its partners in West Africa, to support domestic efforts at preventing extremism and intercommunal violence in the region.
Earlier at a briefing, Mohamed Chambas, Special Representative and Head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), said the region had been “shaken by unprecedented violence” in recent months.
Chambas said “relentless attacks on civilian and military targets have shaken public confidence”, citing last week’s attack by militants on a military base in western Niger that left 71 soldiers dead.
He blamed the situation partly on poor management of national resources, inequalities and marginalisation, corruption and the failure of governments in the region to provide security and justice.
The special envoy, however, noted that “recipes against violent extremism” were being put in place in many West African countries.
Specifically, chambas said that some grassroot initiatives, such as inter-faith coalitions in Nigeria, were in place to curtail recruitments by Boko Haram.
He added that grassroots reconciliation initiatives were being evaluated across the region for bilateral assistance at the country level.
The security council, he said, could play a decisive role in accompanying such efforts and more.
He reminded the council that, in addition to donor and technical support, assistance on security-related and law enforcement matters remains vital.
“Curbing the financial and supply corridors used by armed groups, and the links with illegal trade, requires international cooperation.
“Targeted sanctions and other measures recommended by panels of experts, are relevant for leverage,” Chambas recommended.
In separate remarks, council members stressed the need for efforts to be focused tackling the underlying causes of violent extremism and intercommunal conflicts in the region. (NAN)