By Friday Idachaba

ActionAid Nigeria Country Director Ene Obi has indicated that the organisation has engaged 1,614 youths and women in programmes on preventing violence in Kogi in the last six years.

Obi stated this at the end of the second phase of the System and Structure Strengthening Approach Against Radicalisation to Violent Extremism (SARVE I and SARVE II) project learning and dissemination meeting in Lokoja on Wednesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria NAN reports that the occasion also featured the inauguration of the Kogi Youth Action Plan for the domestication of United Nations Security Council resolution 2250.

The country director, represented by Mrs Funmilayo Oyefusi, ActionAid Director, Organisational Effectiveness, noted that the organisation had succeeded in engaging 1,105 young men and women.

According to her, it also equipped 509 adult women in Kogi with valuable life and economic empowerment skills with the aim of reducing their vulnerability to violent extremism.

Obi explained that ActionAid Nigeria partnered with her local rights partners in Kogi, Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) to execute the projects.

She said that the project in last six years had dwelled in the area of building community resilience against violent extremism in Kogi with funding support from the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF).

She added that in April 2019, ActionAid Nigeria, building on the successes in the implementation of phase one of the SARVE project expanded the coverage to 12 communities across six local government areas.

She said that the project implemented in Igalamela/Odolu, Ankpa, Adavi, Okehi, Lokoja and Kogi focused on identifying and digging deep into the fundamental causes of the types of violence that exist in the host communities.

”Benefitting communities in Kogi were also supported against injustice and inequalities through series of activities targeted at building tolerance, strengthening community agencies where violent extremists exploit weak governance.

Obi added that Actionaid had, within the period, built the capacities of 120 middle and higher-level media professionals on conflict sensitive reportage, feminist journalism and peace building.

“In addition, 60 police officers (15 women, 45 men), were trained to respond to rising issues of violent extremism through the fundamental Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) while working closely with existing community policing structures.

“Other landmark achievements include the establishment of 12 Local Government Conflict Management Alliance (LOCMA) structures in 12 local government areas in Kogi and Nasarawa State to prevent conflicts from escalating in the communities and promoting peace in the states at large”, she said.

Obi noted that the SARVE II project also achieved some milestones at the institutional levels with the enactment of Kogi Youth Development Commission Law.

The commission, she said was designed for the inclusion and engagement of youths in government and increased employment opportunities as part of efforts towards reducing the vulnerability of youths to violent extremism.

Earlier in her opening remarks, the Executive Director of PIBCID, Halima Sadiq, said tthat the aim of the project was to reduce the vulnerability of the at risk young men and women and creation of enabling environment to reduce youth restiveness and prevent violent extremism.

She said that the journey so far had been exciting with great milestones achieved and attributed the success so far to the support of Kogi government which demonstrated commitment towards the successful implementation of the project.

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