Home Foreign News ECOWAS Spreads Anti-Terrorism, Violent Extremism Crusade …In MRU Region

ECOWAS Spreads Anti-Terrorism, Violent Extremism Crusade …In MRU Region

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By: Linda Gbartie

MONROVIA: The Resident Representative and Ambassador of the President of the ECOWAS Commission to Liberia, Madam Josephine Nkrumah, has said that education is the most relevant measure any country can initiate in the prevention of terrorism and violent extremism.

Ambassador Nkrumah also rallies support from the public to avert any occurrence of terrorism and violent extremism in the Mano River Union basin and other parts of the ECOWAS region.

She emphasized that terrorism and violent extremism are real which put every citizen at risk.

According to her, violent extremism and terrorism are real and all citizens remain at risk in fighting violent extremism, as such economic crimes and money laundering would not be heightened.

She said such crimes are often funded through money laundering measures.

Ambassador Nkrumah made the pronouncements on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, in Monrovia when she spoke at the formal launch of an ECOWAS/GIABA funded project that seeks to raise awareness against terrorism and violent extremism in the Mano River Union region.

The event was held at the University of Liberia in Monrovia brought together students from various universities in the country.

The ECOWAS Ambassador highlighted the need for more vigorous education interventions among the youth populace owing to their vulnerability to terrorism and violent extremism across the ECOWAS region.

“Why this conversation is important to young people is that violent extremism often finds roots in the youth, radicalizing young people who feel disheartened by lack of good governance, who feel disheartened because they do not have job and skills, who feel excluded from the conversation of governance in their country,” she said.

She continued: “Those people are the ones who are vulnerable to be radicalized by other violent extremists. When you talk about violent extremism often you will find that the few people are young men and women who have been illusion, whose mindset has been reoriented and viewing violent extremism as means of finding their own relevance in society.”

Additionally, Ambassador Nkrumah rallied the support of the public to prevent terrorism and violent extremism from taking root in the society.

She identified education as being one of the most pivotal drivers of preventing violent extremism and terrorism.

The ECOWAS Ambassador pledged the regional body’s support to the work being carried out by the Center for Economic Crimes and Security Studies.

She called on the local media to play pivotal role by using their various platforms to educate and sensitize citizens on the requisite information they need to know about terrorism and violent extremism.

For his part, CESS Interim National Coordinator, Trokon A. Freeman, giving the overview of the project, said on September 14, 2019, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, at their extraordinary meeting held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, adopted a political declaration and a regional action plan against terrorism.

Mr. Freeman said the action plan has eight components, and component six is devoted to countering the financing of terrorism in the region.

According to him, GIABA was mandated to lead the implementation of this component.

“GIABA has provided funding to two civil society groups to carry out sensitization and awareness on violent extremism and terrorism and other preventative measures in the Mano River Union and Northeastern Nigeria, with the Center for Economic Crimes and Security Studies (CESS) leading the process in the Mano River Union countries (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast),” he added.

Mr. Freeman also pointed out that violent extremism, political radicalization, and terrorism are major factors that continue to impede the rights to peace, stability and to a larger extent the right to life, liberty, and happiness.

“The project we are launching today is a testament to our collective resolve to not only confront these challenges but to lay the groundwork for a future where peace and prosperity can flourish. Through a comprehensive approach of citizens’ engagement and mobilization, we aim to dismantle the networks that perpetrate these crimes and offer a beacon of hope to those who might otherwise be lost to extremism,” he added.

Meanwhile, he revealed that with support from the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), the Center for Economic Crimes and Security Studies (CESS) will over the next six months lead the efforts on preventive measures in the Mano River Region by partnering with key Civil Society Organizations in the Republic of Sierra Leone and Guinea and it will focus and engage with stakeholders, religious leaders, youth, and women groups on the preventive measures against extremism.

“We have seen the rise of violent extremism in our region in some instances due to political disagreement or religious belief, we all need to act to avert the worst that will have not only security implications on our region but economy. The project will also engage with the press, eminent statesmen and women and will hope to bring the three-defense chiefs in a room to motivate young people and the public on the dangers of violence and the optional approach of the rule of law or dialogue,” he said.

He said: “Though the duration of the project is short however, CESS and its partners in the two countries will continue to follow up and come up with monthly, if not quarterly report on monitoring and reporting of violence and other forms of incidents that are undemocratic and give rise to extremism and violence”.

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