Jonathan wants international corporation to fight terrorism in West Africa.
Nov. 5 (PREMIUM TIMES) -President Goodluck Jonathan, on Monday, called for the strengthening of bilateral and multilateral cooperation to fight international terrorism.
Mr. Jonathan made the call while declaring open the Regional Conference on Counter-Terrorism, which had the theme: “Containing Terrorism in West Africa”, held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, on Monday.
The president, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, said the collaboration became imperative in view of the transnational nature of terrorist activities.
He said Nigeria had strengthened bilateral and multilateral cooperation with countries in the region.
“I have had extensive discussions with most of my brother presidents on the issue of collaboration on security matters in the region and we have constantly stressed the need for better collaboration among all our security agencies.
“Accordingly, as you go into in-depth deliberations, my charge is that you should come up with a comprehensive regional counter-terrorism strategy.
“I urge you to view the developments in the region as potent threat to Africa and indeed the global community and proffer practical policy options that would assist West African States to overcome our current security challenges.”
He, therefore, expressed the hope that the conference deliberations would advance the cause of preventing, combating and eliminating terrorism in all its forms in West Africa.
On the national front, Mr. Jonathan identified the militancy in the Niger Delta region and the Boko Haram insurgencies as the main security challenges facing the country.
The president, however, expressed delight that normalcy had been restored in the Niger Delta region after the Federal Government proclaimed the amnesty programme and embarked on a number of initiatives in 2009, to address the grievances of the people.
He said the next major issue is the act of terrorism in certain parts of the country masterminded by some individuals who claimed to be members of the Boko Haram sect.
Mr. Jonathan said an assessment of the sect’s operations indicated a rapid transformation in its capabilities within the last three years.
“From a largely crude force bearing unsophisticated arms, the sect has been transformed into one capable of carrying out coordinated large-scale attacks, including suicide bombings in cities across Northern Nigeria,” he said.
He said that a number of measures are being put in place to strengthen the nation’s security outfits against all forms of terrorism, including the Boko Haram menace.
“Recognising the complex and mutating nature of terrorism, we adopted a comprehensive and over-reaching counter-terrorism approach that integrates national, regional, multilateral and functional responses.”
He said the fundamental response had been predicated on providing citizens focused legal framework that would underpin counter-terrorism efforts, in line with the administration’s focus on ensuring that the Rule of Law guides all aspects of national life.
To further enhance the capability of counter terrorism efforts in the country, the president said a position of counter-Terrorism Coordinator in the Office of the National Security Adviser was created, to coordinate efforts of the various counter-terrorism units in all the security agencies.
“Other measures include setting up of a Fusion Centre that would serve as a processing point for all-source intelligence and deployment of appropriate technology.”
Earlier, the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki and Special Adviser to the President on Counter-Terrorism, Major General Sarki-Yaki Bello, commended Jonathan for his efforts at tackling the nation’s security challenges.