Proceeds of kidnapping being used to finance terrorism – ONSA

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By Sumaila Ogbaje

Retired Rear Adm. Yaminu Musa, the Coordinator, National Counter-Terrorism Centre in the Office of the National Security Adviser (NCTC-ONSA), says proceeds of kidnapping is 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.

“Evidently, the menace requires concerted and sustained efforts by every citizen, government at all levels, international community and the media which of course is the Fourth Estate of the Realm.

“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.

According to him, the agenda setting role of the media cannot be over emphasised in the fight against terrorism and other associated crimes like kidnapping.

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“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.

The Programme Manager, National Crime Agency UK, Mr Chris Grimson, said the workshop was a fall out of a number of agreements between Nigeria and the UK to create a multi-agency kidnap fusion cell.

Grimson said the purpose of the workshop was to identify and explore what was needed to create the fusion cell or whatever it turns out to be.

One of the facilitators of the workshop, retired Rear Adm. 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.

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“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.

“Before now that is missing. As to what the security agencies are doing and in some instances, it is assumed that the security agencies are not doing anything, which in most instances is informed by lack of knowledge of what the security agencies are doing.

“So the essence of this phase of training is for us to develop what we call a clear and effective information sharing strategy and an effective information sharing platform,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop has participants drawn from the media, military, security agencies, ministries, departments and agencies. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Gregg Mmaduakolam/Maharazu Ahmed

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