STRIVE Juvenile in Nigeria: the path towards enhanced national ownership

Abuja, 13-14 July 2021 – The European Union (EU), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Nigerian Governmental and Non-Governmental actors gathered on the occasion of the 1st National Roundtable (13 July) and the 1st Steering Committee Meeting (14 July) of the STRIVE Juvenile project in Nigeria.

During the National Roundtable, conducted by UNODC under the guidance of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), the participants discussed the findings of the Situation Analysis related to the issue of children recruitment and exploitation by terrorist and violent extremist groups. Representatives from more than 30 institutions, including the Office of the National Security Adviser, Federal Ministry of Justice and State Ministries of Justice Yobe and Adamawa states, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and State Ministries of Women Affairs, Yobe, Adamawa and Borno states, Nigerian Military, Nigerian Police Force, National Human Rights Commission, Nigeria Correctional Services, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs critically analysed the findings, provided additional information and highlighted the importance for strengthening national coordination to strengthen the prevention of children recruitment and exploitation, the rehabilitation and reintegration of children who have been recruited and exploited, and the security and justice responses.

Coordinator, Counter Terrorism Centre, Office of the National Security Advisor, Rear Admiral Y.E.M Musa stated: “Through the Situation Analysis, the development of a better understanding of existing institutional and social structures which exist at national and local levels to address the issue of children’s recruitment by terrorist and violent extremist groups, is key to boost the national ownership drive towards the implementation of STRIVE Juvenile.”

The following day, the EU, the UNODC, the Nigerian Government and national stakeholders, including representatives from Civil Society Organizations, met to hold the 1st National Steering Committee Meeting, which constitutes the primary national level governance mechanism to ensure continued dialogue, optimized coordination and sustainable national ownership within the STRIVE Juvenile project. This meeting was used to clarify the composition of the National Steering Committee and its role, brief participants on the Situational Analysis and to present to them the proposed activities for the first year of project implementation. Throughout the meeting, representatives of the EU and the UNODC highlighted the importance of national ownership, emphasizing that the National Steering Committee plays a key role as a forum for project stakeholders to guide, follow-up, and monitor progress. The lively discussion and the contributions from the members of this Steering Committee demonstrated the strong locally buy-in of STRIVE Juvenile and the interest of the participants to actively contribute to the project implementation, thereby ensuring that the project addresses national priorities.

Cooperation Officer, Delegation of the European Union to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS, Jérôme Rivière said: “Establishing national level governance mechanisms and credible platforms for dialogue at all levels, such as the Steering Committee Meeting, remains crucial to enhance national ownership and enables STRIVE Juvenile partners to set up viable and sustainable project infrastructure and architecture operating at the federal, state and local level.”

UNODC Country Representative, Oliver Stolpe stated: “The Government of Nigeria and the EU are key partners for UNODC when it comes to strengthening the rule of law and the rights of children. The new STRIVE Juvenile project provides an opportunity to work together to protect children from terrorist and violent extremist groups in line with UNODC’s Strategic Vision for Africa.”

All participants agreed on the fact that sustaining the project implementation through national ownership requires a greater focus on coordination among all actors and integrating planning and management operations surely enshrined in the STRIVE Juvenile project design.

 

The RoundTable and the Steering Committee Meeting are co-sponsored by the European Union, the Government of Nigeria and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.