President Muhammadu Buhari has canvassed that the fund being mobilised by members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to combat terrorism should be used strictly for internal peace support arrangements within the continent and not to subsidise the mandate of the United Nations Security Council.
’In this regard, my delegation will always fervently contest attempts to make Africa subsidise the primary responsibility of the UN as clearly provided in its Charter,’’ he said. President Buhari, who spoke at the meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council on the state of peace and security on the continent at the 33rd summit of the union held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the weekend, commended the renewed vigour by the ECOWAS member states to mobilise their own resources to tackle insecurity in the sub-region.
Buhari called for new strategies by the union to effectively prevent, manage and resolve conflicts in the face of new circumstances and emerging challenges.He announced that Nigeria had fulfilled its financial obligations to the AU Peace Fund up to 2019, pledging to continue investing in peace and security on the continent.
On ECOWAS matters, Buhari declared that Nigeria was proud to continue to serve as a strong contributor to the peace roles played by the regional bloc.‘’In Burkina Faso, we (ECOWAS) pledged to mobilise one billion United States dollars to address the challenges of insecurity in our region and the Sahel. In Guinea Bissau, ECOWAS successfully midwifed the general elections.
‘’Nigeria, along with other ECOWAS member states, led in the restoration of democracy and peace in the Gambia,’’ he said, while welcoming the collaboration of the AU with other regional economic communities in resolving conflicts on the continent.On the security challenges in Africa, the Nigerian leader said it was regrettable that terrorism, violent extremism and other forms of vicious conflicts had continued to cause mayhem and untold crisis on the continent.
‘’Nigeria condemns, in the strongest terms, the perpetrators of terrorism in Libya, the Sahel, Lake Chad Basin, and parts of the Horn of Africa. We reiterate that efforts must continue to be pooled to mitigate this dreadful violence and secure the future of our continent,’’ he said.
On new strategies to resolve conflicts on the continent, President Buhari said: ‘’The AU must strengthen its own capacity for mediation and develop an effective intervention roadmap.’’He added that more emphasis should be placed on promoting national dialogue, reconciliation and social cohesion in order to rally all actors towards sustainable peace.
Buhari also welcomed the decision of the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) to adopt the regional stabilisation strategy for the Lake Chad Basin and the renewal of mandates of the Multi National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and the G5 Sahel Joint Force. He told the meeting that Nigeria was very encouraged by the resolution of the continent’s standing decision-making body for conflict prevention, management and resolution, on the Lake Chad Basin.
‘’We are hopeful that the Inter Water Basin Transfer Initiative for the recharging of the Lake Chad will address some of the drivers of terrorism, particularly the impact of climate change and inter-communal clashes over access to natural resources.
‘’We equally call on the Assembly to direct the full implementation of these AU-inspired initiatives,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the acting General Officer Commanding (GOC), 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Brig-Gen. Abdul Ibrahim, has directed troops to be offensive in their operations against the Boko Haram terrorists.
Ibrahim gave the task while addressing troops of 26 Task Force Brigade at Madagali military post, Adamawa State.Madagali and other communities of Sabon Gari, Gulak and Michika have suffered several attacks from the southern flank of the Sambisa Forest.
“I urge you to sustain the offensive operations against Boko Haram and
Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) terrorists,” he said, assuring the troops that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai pledged to raise their welfare and allowances as soon as possible.
The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj-Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, said that no Borno State local government area was under the control of the Boko Haram insurgents since 2017.Adeniyi made the declaration at the weekend while briefing journalists on the ongoing counter-insurgency operations at the Theatre Command Centre, Maiduguri.
“There is no inch of the Nigerian territory that is under the control of Boko Haram insurgents. Since 2017 the army has technically defeated the Boko Haram terrorists and we have succeeded in taking over the areas from Boko Haram insurgents.“In 2013, Boko Haram transmuted from a terrorist group to a terrorist
army sustaining intense attacks on towns, villages, communities, markets and military bases,” he said, noting that it was only then that the military commenced a series of serious operations against them.
He claimed that the army recaptured 24 towns and villages that were under the complete control of Boko Haram.He assured the people that troops would continue to fight Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) terrorists for peace to reign.
But a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Borno State, Baba Ahmed, said that the insurgents had continued to launch attacks on soldiers, motorists and civilians in five local government areas of Abadam, Guzamala, Ngala, Marte and Bama, located on the southern flank of Sambisa Forest and shores of Lake Chad.Ahmed, in an interview yesterday in Maiduguri, said: “Communities, military posts and civilians are being attacked weekly. Even though the military is trying its best to end this war, there is much to be done.
President Buhari had last week directed the service chiefs to continue the fight against Boko Haram in the Northeast. The insurgents are still hibernating in six council areas around the Sambisa Forest and the Lake Chad region and they have continued to claim more lives and property not only in Borno but in the neighbouring states of Adamawa and Yobe.
Ahmed, who said he was responding to claims by the military that insurgents were no longer occupying any part of Borno State, queried: “If insurgents are not occupying any part of the state, how could they launch attacks and kill soldiers and civilians?”