A Coventry University graduate has spoken of how he stopped a young man from joining ISIS with just hours to spare and of his ongoing commitment to fighting terrorism during an alumni event in Ghana on April 29.

Mutaru Mumuni Muqthar, a graduate of Coventry’s International Terrorism masters course, spoke at the University Alumni Association event held at its partner institution, Ghana Technology University College.

The 34-year-old has already helped at least 20 people turn away from extremism in Ghana since he set up the West Africa Centre for Counter-Extremism (WACCE) after graduating from Coventry University in 2013.

He and his team have so far helped 22 radicalized people to turn their back on terrorism and last year prevented a 21-year-old from joining ISIS in Syria.

Speaking about his life-changing work to graduates in Ghana on Saturday, Mutaru said “last year I saved a young man’s life. He had been radicalized online and was on his way to join the terrorist group ISIS after he spent time online looking for meaning in his life.

“Just a day before leaving to join the group he watched my TV outreach program on counter-radicalization – that was what changed everything and he changed his mind. West Africa is one of the deadliest regions for terrorism. My plans are to expand my counterterrorism work to include the entire West Africa region, helping to dissuade vulnerable groups and individuals from engaging in violent extremism and falling into the void of terrorist recruitment.“

 Mutaru originally from Accra, works across West Africa to deepen understanding of violent extremism and radicalization to promote the support available to vulnerable people at risk.

He appeared as a guest speaker at the University event, which was run in conjunction with the British Council, and included masterclasses on entrepreneurship and employability for around 100graduates.

Mutaru hopes that by speaking to others about his work and how postgraduate study helped him develop the skills he needed to act, he can encourage more people to use education and make a difference.

John Latham, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University, said “our students and alumni make a significant contribution to their communities, be they in the UK or internationally. Mutaru’s is among the most significant and important. His team’s work will shape many young lives and spread a message of peace and I am delighted that his journey began in Coventry.The success of our alumni is in part down to the experiences they have here and the opportunities they take throughout their studies.”