Nigeria's President, Muhammadu Buhari, has urged leaders of countries in West Africa not to allow terrorist groups destabilise the region.
Buhari addresses the Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on Counter-Terrorism in Burkina Faso (image courtesy: Nigerian Presidency)

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has urged leaders of countries in West Africa not to allow terrorist groups destabilise the region.

Speaking at a one-day ECOWAS Summit in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso on Saturday, the Nigerian leader decried that terrorism had become a major security threat across the globe.

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Concise News understands that ECOWAS leaders gathered in the capital of Burkina Faso to talk about counter terrorism.

“Our region has made commendable progress in the realisation of its regional integration and we must not allow terrorist groups to destabilise our Community and undermine the aspirations of our people for a safe, secure and prosperous environment,” Buhari said, according to a statement issued by his media aide Femi Adesina.

President Buhari warned that the activities of terrorist groups constitute a grave danger to peace and security in West Africa, the wider Sahel and the global community.

“It is, therefore, our collective responsibility not to let up but to win the fight against terrorism and stamp out the scourge from our region,’’ he added.

“The frequency of attacks, the determination and resilience of the terrorist groups as well as the ease with which they raise funds and acquire sophisticated weapons are matters of serious concern, which should engage our attention as a Community.

“Equally worrisome, is the continuing spread of the menace of terrorism in the region and the growing link between terrorism and organised crime. This is why we must not relent in our efforts until we defeat the monster completely.

“And the best way to achieve this objective is through coordinated regional actions and responses against terrorism, insurgency, banditry, inter-communal disputes, while we also put in place policies and measures that will address their root causes, including the re-establishment and protection of livelihoods.”

The President also told the summit how Nigeria is tackling Boko Haram terrorist activities.

“Our counter-terrorism strategy, which includes prevention, prosecution and reconstruction is also in full compliance with the Yamoussoukro counter-terrorism strategy adopted by ECOWAS Member States,” he said.

“In combating terrorism and addressing the resultant humanitarian crisis, through regional and international collaboration, ECOWAS as a Regional Economic Cooperation, would need in partnership with the African Union, to galvanise international support and solidarity to combat and defeat this menace in our region.”

The Nigerian leader also used the occasion to update the regional leaders on the situation in the Lake Chad Basin and the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).

Buhari noted that the area has become an abode for terrorist groups and extremists, whose primitive intent is wanton destruction of lives of innocent citizens and properties as well as public infrastructure.

He said, “MNJTF has largely succeeded in degrading the Boko Haram terrorist group. This could not have been accomplished without the recognition by the affected countries and Benin Republic of the need to harness our efforts and resources to confront our common enemy, which has now been substantially weakened.

“While much still remain to be done, I encourage MNJTF to stay steadfast in their mission, as I urge the political leadership of the LCBC countries to continue to preserve our solidarity and commitment towards achieving durable peace and sustainable development in these areas.

“In this regard, it is imperative that we continuously strive to provide the necessary resources and tools to the MNJTF, the G5 Sahel Joint Force, the Accra Initiative and similar initiatives, to lead the war on terrorism, violent extremism and trans-border crimes across the region.”