One Year of Unflinching Counter Terrorism Efforts in Nigeria

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March 15, 2024

By Towoju, Raphael B., SO Stratcom, NCTC

                                                    The National Counter Terrorism Centre, Nigeria

For over a decade now, Nigeria, as common to many countries of the world, has been faced with terrorism, banditry, cultism, violent extremism and other violent crimes. These had not only impacted negatively on the socio-economic lives of the people but also dealt a great blow on the overall development of the country.

National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu (left) being welcomed into the Office by the National Coordinator, NCTC, Rear Admiral YEM Musa (rtd)

National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu (left) being welcomed into the Office by the National Coordinator, NCTC, Rear Admiral YEM Musa (rtd)

National Coordinator, NCTC, Rear Admirar YEM Musa (rtd) presenting his welcome remarks at the event.

National Coordinator, NCTC, Rear Admirar YEM Musa (rtd) addressing a gathering at an event.

Several efforts have been made by successive administrations to get out of the quagmire, part of which was the repositioning of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) with the unveiling of the National Counter Terrorism Centre on 21 March 2023, in line with the provisions of the Terrorism Protection and Prohibition Act (2022).
Situated at the Three Arms Zone in Abuja, the NCTC was established to lead the national efforts to combat terrorism, prevent and counter violent extremism by coordinating and integrating international support with national multi-stakeholders’ joint terrorism analysis, information and intelligence sharing and related activities to implement whole-of-Government and Whole-of-Society approaches to secure the national Counter terrorism objectives.

The National Coordinator, NCTC Rear Admiral YEM Musa (rtd), PhD {Middle} in a group photograph with participants at one of the CT events at the Centre

The National Counter Terrorism Centre has proven to be “Centre of Excellence for Counter Terrorism activities in Nigeria and mobilise a stronger response to counter all forms of terrorism and violent extremism in line with its vision. The Centre employs coordinated actions based on knowledge derived from research and innovation to meet the dynamism of terrorism threat environment and strengthen collaborative partnership to attain terror free nation and world.” The NCTC under the leadership of the National Coordinator, Rear Admiral YEM Musa (rtd), PhD, has shown unwavering commitment to meeting the yearnings of Nigerians in ensuring peace and security in the land through a coordinated approach involving relevant Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), State Governments, Civil Society Organisations, International Organisations, research institutions, the media and a host of others.
It is worthy of note that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu did not hesitate to align with the vision of the Centre which he demonstrated just few days (5 June 2023 to be precise) after his inauguration as the President and Commander- in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria on 29 May, 2023, by paying a working visit to the ONSA

where he inspected the new facilities and made some declarations to show the readiness of the new administration to rid the nation of all forms of violent extremisms saying and I quote:
“Security shall be the top priority of our administration because neither prosperity nor justice can prevail amidst insecurity and violence.
“Terrorism is an effective danger to democracy; terrorism is also an effective danger to development as it had consistently reversed the gains in development and increased instability in families and communities.
“Growth and prosperity cannot be achieved until terrorism is totally eliminated.
“Terrorism is a global threat that must be fought with adequate knowledge, national efforts combined with international collaborations.

“Counter terrorism that is not backed by adequate knowledge, coordination, intelligence and information sharing is not going to be of any service to any nation.
“We will consistently need to critically examine the where, how and when of terrorism in order to develop effective solutions.” End of quote.
The president urged all the security agencies in the country to work in synergy through proper information, intelligence gathering and sharing for the sole aim of strengthening the security and stability of the country. To show his unflinching commitment to national security, Mr. President appointed a seasoned lawyer and anti-corruption crusader, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as the National Security Adviser (NSA). As the NSA, Mr. Ribadu is responsible for advising the president on all matters relating to the security of Nigeria and its citizens. He also coordinates the activities of the various security agencies and intelligence services such as the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the Department of State Services (DSS), the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), among others.

A cross section of some of the high level officials at the event.

A group photograph of some of the high level officials at an event

National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu

National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu

Under his supervision, the NCTC has recorded some remarkable achievements. It has among others, attracted high level officials from regional and global partners as well as organisations, including the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), and the UK Government, seeking partnership with Nigeria to engender peace and stability from the harrowing experience occasioned by the non-state armed groups.

The NCTC has been actively involved in prosecuting cases of terrorism and terrorism financing by working closely with law prosecuting authorities, law enforcement agencies, financial institutions, and international partners, Federal Ministry of Justice, NFIU along with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies. The successful prosecution of individuals involved in financing terrorism has not only dismantled financial networks but has also served as deterrence to potential supporters of terrorism.

The National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu (left) with the UK Deputy National Security Adviser, Dame Sarah Macintosh During the 2nd UK-Nigeria Security and Defence Partnership in Abuja recently

Just recently, in February 2024, Nigeria hosted the second edition of the UK-Nigeria Security and Defence Partnership Dialogue as a follow-up to the earlier one held in February 2022 in London where the two nations agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the areas of countering terrorism, violent extremism and other related crimes.


One can authoritatively confirm that though we are not where we want to be yet, but the nation’s efforts in countering terrorism and violent extremism have yielded fruits with mass surrender of over 120,000 former combatants in the north east, the recovery of territories which were previously under the control of terrorists by the nation’s gallant security agencies as well as the successful prosecution of over 360 terrorist suspects.
It is also pertinent to note that with the numerous achievements in the last one year, there are still challenges. However, it is certain that the challenges are not insurmountable. Through collaboration, enhanced legal frameworks, successful prosecutions, local and international cooperation, public awareness and a dedicated focus on the future, the NCTC-ONSA will continue to strengthen Nigeria’s efforts to counter terrorism and ensure justice in accordance with the global best practices.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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