From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The Resilience Programme Coordinator with the ActionAid Nigeria, Anicetu Atakpu has said that the only solution to preventing Violence Extremism is for government at all levels to focus on youth empowerment and job creation.
He advocated that government expenditures should be targeted at providing access to public services such as creating jobs, and empowering young persons to reduce poverty and criminalities in the land.
Atakpu who is the Team Lead of the Serve 11 Project for ActionAid, in Conjunction with Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development, (PIBCID) with funding from Global Community Engagement and Resilience Funds, made the observation at a one -day policy dialogue with civil society organizations and the media.
Atakpu listed issues of unemployment, perceived marginalization and illiteracy as issues government must address using the annual budget.
He maintained that focus on Projects that are geared towards addressing infrastructure gaps, human and capital development would be useful disincentives to violent extremism.
Analysing public spending in the prevention of violent extremism in Kogi and Nasarawa State, Atakpu lamented situation where funding governance took a large chunk of the Kogi State 2021 budget with 18.06% as against 3.24% allocated to entrepreneurship and youth engagement, key drivers of violent extremism.
The Resillience Programme Coordinator also lamented a N100m allocation for Youth Development under the governor’s office in Kogi State in the 2021 budget, wondered why the funding should be under the governor’s office and not the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
He expressed worries that allocation to women and youths in 2021 is a paltry 1.32% of the total budget as against 1.79% renovation work in the offices of the governor and his deputy.
He noted that projects targeted at empowering of youth and women in agriculture, as well as engaging opportunities in entrepreneurship would turn the attention of young people from acts of violent extremism.
He called for budget allocation to physically challenged who are also drivers of violent extremism, stressing that engagement by the media should be such that will help in the fight against violent extremism.
Earlier in a welcome remarks, Halima Sadiq, Executive Director of Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development, (PIBCID), said the one- day dialogue was aimed at budget funding, tracking allocation, and spending geared towards preventing extremism in Kogi State.
She explained that the dialogue seeks to look at actual budgetary, allocation, and releases as drivers of violent extremism.