UNODC trains 640 Nigerians on counter-terrorism

UNODCTHE United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has trained 640 Nigerians in different aspects of anti-terrorism intervention to boost the national response to terrorism and multi-dimensional security threats in the country.

The programme is drawn from 33 organizations and beneficiaries of the training would serve as in-country counter-terrorism national officials.

The training was conducted over a 20-month period, with funds provided by the European Union (EU) under the framework of the Nigeria-EU-UNODC-CTED Partnership on Strengthening Criminal Justice Responses for Multidimensional Security.

Trainees included investigators, prosecutors, legal advisers of relevant government agencies, law enforcement agencies, and judges of the Federal High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ roundtable in Abuja to disseminate and discuss achievements of the project, Head of Political Governance and Democracy (Development Cooperation) at the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Alan Munday, said the knowledge gained from the training was significant and serve as tools for anti-terrorism strategies.

He added: “The training has delivered a core of better trained and better aware Nigerian officials dealing with counter-terrorism in different ways and at different levels. We hope that the programme has helped to strengthen the ability not only to counter terrorism but to also deal with perpetrators of the terrorism act.”

Country Representative of UNODC in Nigeria,  Koli Kouame, said international body is actively involved in the fight against terrorism globally and provides capacity building programmes that are adapted to local needs.

According to him, the counter-terrorism project in Nigeria aims to enhance criminal justice capacity for effective rule-of-law-based investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of terrorist cases; promote inter-agency collaboration on counter-terrorism matters, enhance the national legal regime against terrorism, strengthen international cooperation against terrorism and ensure respect for human rights.

Kouame added that the project featured 24 training sessions with practical lessons, role-plays, mentoring, and experience sharing by counter-terrorism professionals from different parts of the world.

“UNODC is pleased to serve an important role of building capacity to bring terrorists to justice. The project has been successful and we hope that it will help in taking the fight against terrorism further,” he stated.

Chief of Terrorism Prevention Branch at UNODC headquarters, Trevor Rajah noted that, “the capacity building programme has been focused on practical issues relevant to the challenges that Nigeria is facing right now. We’re making sure that the technical assistance is specific and tailored to the needs of Nigeria.”

Secretary of the National Planning Commission (NPC), Bassey Akpanyung in his opening remarks at the roundtable, said other high level representatives of 21 Nigerian entities participated in the roundtable.

These included representatives of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigerian Police Force, Department of State Security Services, Office of the National Security Advisor, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nigerian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Prisons Service, Nigeria Securities and Civil Defence Corps, embassies, and the National Judicial Institute.

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