Violent extremism (VE) has claimed no fewer than 35,000 persons in Nigeria, according to Deputy Resident Representative (Programme), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Lealem Dinku.
Dinku made the disclosure during the inauguration of Countering Violent Extremism Course 3/2023, organised by the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPCK) at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC), Abuja.
The course had participants from other West African countries.
According to the UN envoy, violent extremists have been prevalent in some West African states since the 1960s, principally due to economic challenges, effect of climate change, ineffective governance and growing ungoverned spaces.
He observed: “However, the prevalence and persistence of VE in West Africa have continued to create a difficult environment for sustenance of human survival, good governance, and widespread impact of raving climate change. VE has resulted in significant impacts such as, mass casualties of inhabitants, displacement of the populations, socio-economic disruptions and destruction of infrastructures in the region.
“You will agree with me that violent extremism (VE) has continued to be ingrained in scope and impact since creeping into Nigeria’s geographical space in 2009, but has been more pronounced since 2013”.
“It was estimated that between 2009 and 2023, Nigeria has suffered no less than 35,000 casualties, while billions of dollars have been lost due to destruction of property, public infrastructure, disruption of socio-economic activities, including livelihoods and displacement of mass population.”
Japan Defence attaché to Nigeria, Lt.-Col. Morita Tatsuya, conveyed the Embassy of Japan in Nigeria’s appreciation to the centre and UNDP for organising the Countering Violent Extremism course for security agencies.