President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, challenged African leaders to come together to fight the menace of terrorism in the continent, noting that terrorism is undermining the development of the continent.
President Jonathan’s remarks came on the day the French President, Francois Hollande and the British Prime Minister; David Cameron assured Nigeria and indeed Africa of their support in the fight against terrorism on the continent.
President Jonathan, who spoke at the International Conference on “Human security, Peace and Development: Agenda for 21st Century Africa, organised as part of the Centenary celebration, to mark the amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria, said no expenses would be spared by Nigeria to ensure that those who murdered innocent students at a Federal Government College in Yobe
State are brought to justice.
He said: “We must emphasize that human security and peace are intertwined. Peace is not just the absence of violence or war. Peace encompasses every aspect of social tranquillity and well-being. The peace we strive for is a state marked by the absence of severe human want and avoidable fear. In our lifetime, this peace is attainable in our nations and our continent.
“The current state of human security, peace and development in our dear continent presents a picture of hope as well as challenges. For over a decade, Africa has consolidated on its democracy and many countries have exited military dictatorship. There is now a heightened commitment to the tenets of good governance and the rule of law.
“Nigeria has always sought security, peace and development. We are steadily developing a strong and vibrant democracy. There is enthusiastic participation across the nation, with a purposeful government and active opposition parties. This was clearly expressed in the last national elections held in 2011, which received wide national and international acclaim, and was adjudged the freest and fairest ever in our nation’s history.
Terrorism must be condemned
“Terrorism, which is a global menace, has extended its tentacles to Africa and Nigeria. In concert with our regional and global partners, we will continue to respond strategically and decisively to this scourge, and together with our people we shall end the killings and bring terrorism to an end.
“Terrorism must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. We all must work together, collectively, to rid our world of haters of peace, who use terror to maim, kill, instil fear and deny people their rights to peace and security.
“The Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria is one of such condemnable acts of terror. We have continued to deploy human and military intelligence, in close collaboration with our partners, to bring an end to their nefarious activities.
“The enemies of the state today in Africa are always faceless, driven by religious extremism, ethnic mistrust and rivalries and propaganda of hate. Their nefarious actions are not limited to any single country and no one is immune. Therefore, as leaders, we also must change our approach and work more closely together to confront and defeat terrorists and conveyors of hate. Terrorism does not respect borders or boundaries.
Terrorism does not respect borders
“I always say that our new security architecture must recognise the fact that the terrorists are trans-border criminals that do not respect our boundaries and our borders. Our law enforcement agencies have to respect our international boundaries; there won’t be compromise on this if we effectively root out trans-border crime.
“While we respect international boundaries, terrorists move in and out of our borders. It is now time that we agree as African leaders that acts of terror against one nation is an act of terror against all nations. We must not allow our countries to be safe avenues for terrorists, we must operate maximally in better managing our political boundaries; we should adopt protocol that allows countries to pursue terrorists well into their safe havens in other nations. While we cannot redefine our borders, we must redefine our collective approach to ending trans-boundary terrorism and insurgencies.”
African leaders must come together to fight terrorism
While noting that the African continent has witnessed its fair share of wars, President Jonathan said it was time for African leaders to come together to stamp out wars and especially treat the root cause of such conflicts.
He noted: “And the cost of wars and insurgencies are too high. It has been estimated that Africa loses $18 billion per year from wars as well as insurgencies. Wars, insurgencies and conflicts impact neighbouring countries even more due to displacement of refugees, illegal trafficking of arms and disruption of economic activities.
“When there are wars or conflicts, we all lose. When there is peace, we all win. We must deepen our resolve to regulate the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, strengthen our enforcement of the regional protocols, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, Their Ammunition and Related Materials; and the Nairobi Protocol for the Prevention, Control and Reduction of Small Arms and Light Weapons in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa.
Britain, France pledges support against B/Haram
In his remarks, the French president, Francois Hollande, promised to support Nigeria in her fight against terrorism, while condemning the recent attack by the Boko Haram terrorists in Yobe State.
According to Hollande, “we will always stand ready not only to provide our political support but our help every time you need it because the struggle against terrorism is also the struggle for democracy. Your struggle is also our struggle.”
In his statement, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, who was represented by Foreign Office Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, said the British government was ready to deepen its unique relationship with Nigeria by extending support to all areas.
He noted that Nigeria stands in a very good position to lead other African nations to a path of greatness if it is able to get its acts right.
We’ll stand by Nigeria against Boko Haram —World leaders
World leaders, yesterday, made unified statement to stand by Nigeria and help defeat the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
In a communiqué read by Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshida, at the end of the Centenary Conference, in Abuja, the leaders strongly condemned the acts of terror and reassured that they would work collectively to end the Boko Haram terrorist activities.
Specifically, they agreed on intelligence sharing and checking the proliferation of small arms among not only the neigbhouring countries in West Africa but across the globe to end the violence which has claimed several thousands of innocent lives in the country and now affecting its neighbours.
“In this connection, in addition to calling for greater cooperation in intelligence gathering and sharing, African leaders have resolved to stem the proliferation of small arms and light weapons which aid terrorism and other transnationally transmitted organised crimes,” the statement said.
It was also agreed that Africa and the international community should act in concert to reduce the drivers of illicit trade and transfer of small arms and light weapons.
Similarly, the world leaders pledged to step up good governance and the cost of elections to deliver the full dividends of democracy to their people.
Jammeh urges Nigeria to reconcile differences peacefully
The Gambian President, Alhaji Yahya Jammeh, who received a standing ovation for his remarks on the state of insecurity in the country, appealed to all Nigerians to reconcile their differences peacefully and maintain Nigeria as a strong and unified power house of black Africa.
His words: “There is no country in the world that is comprised of one region, one religion and one ethnic group. The beauty of Nigeria and any country for that matter lies in her cultural, religious and regional and diversity.
“Our diversity should be a source of strength, unity and pride and not division, weakness and violence.
“The people of The Gambia, and Black Africa in general look up to all Nigerians to maintain and strengthen the unity, peace and prosperity of Nigeria as Africa’s most populous nation and Black Africa’s power house.
“All Nigerians should understand that a divided Nigeria can only mean catastrophe for the entire black race. Please preserve the unity and peace of Nigeria and remember that Nigeria is bigger than any regional, ethnic or cultural considerations or interest.”
By Ben Agande & Victoria Ojeme