Christian Okeke -Abuja
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, on Wednesday, said foreign fighters have added a new dimension to the emerging phase of terrorism in the world.
Addressing the United Nations (UN) Security Council High-Level Meeting on the threat of terrorism to global peace and security, President Jonathan said the world must act immediately to stop the new phenomenon of terrorists and foreign fighters attacking and trying to hold parts of sovereign nations.
He said the international community must do more to support countries like Nigeria, which are in the frontline of the war against terrorism.
Jonathan lamented that from targeted attacks by Al-Qaeda a few years ago, “there are now mobile bands of thousands of terrorists sweeping across vast areas, destroying lives and even attempting to hold territory,” a development he described as unacceptable.
He insisted that the world must capitalise on the commitment and evident determination of the Security Council to seek more innovative responses to the threat of terrorism and, in particular, the growing menace of foreign fighters.
“The council should be concerned about the existence of sources of arming and funding of terrorists. Evidence has shown that Boko Haram, for instance, is resourced largely from outside our country,” he said.
According to him, “we must also commit to ensuring that countries which are in the frontline of this challenge, receive adequate support from the international community.
“Nigeria knows too well the destructive effects of terrorist activities. Over the past five years, we have been, and are still confronting threats posed by Boko Haram to peace and stability predominantly in the north-eastern part of our country.
“The costs are high: over 13,000 people have been killed, whole communities razed and hundreds of persons kidnapped, the most prominent being our innocent daughters from Chibok Secondary School, in North East Nigeria.
“As daunting as the challenge may be, we have faced it with unrelenting determination, mobilising all the resources at our disposal, to ensure that the scourge of terrorism is rooted out of our nation. In addition to our counter-terrorism efforts, we have evolved initiatives to alleviate the plight of the population in the affected communities,” he said.
He added that “we have also launched a Victims Support Fund, which has already raised about $500 million of the expected minimum of $1 billion in direct support of the victims of terrorism.
“This is in addition to the Safe Schools Initiative championed by Mr Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister and currently the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, which is being rigorously supported by Nigeria’s Federal Government.”
President Jonathan also called for reform of the UN Security Council, adding that pressing challenges to global peace and security had made it imperative that urgent action be taken on its reformation.
Delivering Nigeria’s annual statement to the UN General Assembly, President Jonathan also called for an urgent review of UN peacekeeping operations across the world.
He noted that although the global body was established about 70 years ago to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, the world sadly continued to experience conflict and human suffering.
He assured the United Nations that Nigeria is now free of Ebola, but said the world must act in unison to stop the disease from becoming a global disaster.