DIWA Empowers Bauchi Religious Leaders To Counter Extremism

The Development Initiative for West Africa (DIWA) has in partnership with Da’wah Institute of Nigeria trained Islamic religious leaders on strategies to detect and handle traces of violent extremism among children and youths in Bauchi.

The training brought together 50 participants, comprising men and women from different Islamic sects for six days of capacity building.

Abdulmalik Abu-Sufyan, a staff of the Research and Training department of Da’wah Institute of Nigeria said the capacity development, which is a continuation of ‘step-down’ training, adopts a multilingual approach to appropriately get the message across to the representatives of the various Islamic women groups.

He said since the wake of the Boko Haram insurgency, there is a need to empower mothers with the requisite skills to counter extremist ideologies among children because of their role and power in shaping and moulding behaviour.

“The women trained here expected to go back to their communities and clan and empower other women with the skills given at this training.

“The main focus of the training is the prevention of violent extremism spreading among youths. Therefore, the training was designed to be a vaccine for the people of Bauchi against violent extremism.

“Those who attend this training would be able to counter violent extremism narratives and also provide alternative views with cogent reasons to convince people on the best thing to say and best action to take,” he said.

On her part, the leader of the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) Bauchi chapter, Habiba Sa’ad Usman said the training is apt and timely, arguing that women are at the receiving end of violent extremist activities as in the case of Boko Haram.

“Discussing issues that relate to violent extremism is timely because it mostly affects women. Those that are affected by the Boko Haram insurgency are mostly women and children.

She said poverty complicated counter-extremism narratives as most youths recruited into such vanguard are jobless and into drugs.

DIWA trained imams and clergymen on alternative narratives last year.

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