The Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) has announced the creation of the Association of Nigerian Authors Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (ANA PCVE) programme. This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with STRADA Development Initiative, an Abuja-based NGO.
Under the MoU, former ANA PRO (North), Richard Ali, is named Programme Manager. The Association has also created a six-man Committee on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism. Other committee members of the programme include: Obari Gomba, Jack Vincent Fidelis, Halima M. Usman, Chief Macpherson Okpara, Isah Dan Musa.
ANA, being an organisation committed to social advocacy, has been concerned with the rise of hate speech and extremism in Nigeria, particularly violent extremism. ANA PCVE will be a specialist programme to combat the challenge of extremism using a cultures-based approach which leverages on the Association’s extensive network of writers and primacy across the genres of prose, poetry and drama and allied arts. Extremism can only be effectively countered when the individual citizen becomes a point of dissemination of correct narratives about all social groups.
Ali, speaking from Abuja, said, ANA PCVE programme will follow a cultures-based approach. “Cultures are complex and composite and, in spreading knowledge and information about the threat of violent extremism and radicalisation of various sorts, a cultures approach is essential. So, our method will balance rigorous socio-scientific research with a targeted use of the arts to disseminate measurable programme objectives.”
He added: “We will carry out research and then develop work plans and plan projects. Partnerships with all class of stakeholders will also be sought. Our emphasis is on the Counter-radicalisation and Strategic Communications streams of CVE activity and we will key into national and international platforms.
Ali, whose parents hail from Idah in Kogi State, is an Abuja-based lawyer who has consulted widely with the government on public sector policy and strategy issues. He is also the COO of Lagos independent publishing house, Parresia Publishers Ltd, which has published continental voices ranging from Helon Habila (Caine Prize, Commonwealth PrizeAfrica Region) to Chika Unigwe (NLNG Nigeria Prize) to Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (BBC African Performance Prize, NLNG Nigeria Prize).
ANA was founded in 1981 by late Professor Chinua Achebe and has become the biggest writers’ organisation in Nigeria with 28 state chapters and well over 10,000 members.