Yaminu Musa, the coordinator of the National Counter-Terrorism Centre in the office of the national security adviser (NCTC-ONSA), says proceeds of kidnapping are being used to partly finance terrorism.
Musa said this on Wednesday in Abuja during the ‘anti-kidnap multi-agency fusion cell media and communication workshop’, organised by ONSA in collaboration with the British High Commission.
“Kidnapping for ransom is also identified as one of the means of funding terrorism.
“Thus, carnage unleashed by kidnappers in affiliation with terrorist groups all over the world leading to loss and disruption of lives and properties, is a major concern. Hence the need for collective efforts in advancing measures to check the threat.”
He added that the menace required concerted and sustained efforts by every citizen, government at all levels, the international community and the media.
“You will agree with me that proceeds of kidnap for ransom enterprise have continued to serve as a platform for financing terrorism not only in Nigeria but across the Sahel,” he said.
Musa said the workshop was pertinent to the overall success of the government’s effort to curtail the menace of kidnapping.
He added that the media would help to build the kind of relationship the NCTC-ONSA desired on the efforts of security agencies in the protection of lives and properties in the country.
He said the agenda-setting role of the media was crucial in the fight against terrorism and other associated crimes.
“In an increasingly interconnected world, where information spreads at an unprecedented pace, the media has the power to either amplify or mitigate the impact of security-related news events.
“The consequences of inaccurate or sensationalist reporting can be detrimental to public trust, exacerbate fear and anxiety, and even hinder counterterrorism efforts,” he said.
The coordinator said it was vital that the government and the media work together to establish a framework of synergy and standardisation for reporting on security-related matters.
He said that such collaboration would not only enhance the accuracy and quality of news reporting but also contribute to national security.
Chris Grimson, the programme manager of the National Crime Agency UK, said the workshop was a fallout of a number of agreements between Nigeria and the UK to create a multi-agency kidnap fusion cell.
According to Grimson, the purpose of the workshop was to identify and explore what was needed to create the fusion cell or whatever it turned out to be.
One of the facilitators, Leye Jaiyeola, said “The fusion cell workshop was designed to come up with a joint decision model to allow for an effective multi-agency use and conflict resolution’’.
Jaiyeola said the workshop was meant to set up principles that would provide participants with an agreed framework to support decision-making, and develop appropriate legislation for effective management and resolution of kidnapping issues.
He said that kidnapping had become a major threat in Nigeria, hence the need to develop an agreed national kidnap fusion and coordination mechanism.
“Our focus is to make sure that we maintain a strategic national kidnap operation posture, get all the agencies involved in doing it, so that we will be able to put our feet at the right spot and come up with a set of principles so that the commanders will be able to deliver.
“We have looked at coming up with standard operating procedure, looked at developing the doctrine itself and this session of workshop is the session that involves relating with the public so that they will build trust and confidence in the security.”