BY KINGSLEY OMONOBI, Abuja
Following widespread complaints and apprehension about the deployment of Nigerian troops and officers of the Nigerian Police Force to spearhead the quelling of the deadly Malian Crises, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Suleiman has said the mission is to checkmate the spread of Boko Haram and movement of Al Qaeda groups into Nigeria and neighbouring countries.
Suleiman made the disclosure just as the minister of state for Defence; Erelu Olusola Obada disclosed that terrorism is an international crisis that should be nipped in the bud especially in Mali which is in Nigeria’s backyard so that it does not spread to other parts of the continent.
Speaking to Saturday Vanguard on the vexed issue, the ECOWAS Commissioner, a former minister of state for foreign affairs, said, “Firstly, Nigeria ’s territorial and national interest is at stake. Another thing people should know is that it has been proven that Boko Haram terrorism which is rocking Nigeria today, originated from Mali . Nigeria is able to survive it because of her endowment and capable security agencies but same cannot be said of smaller countries around hence the need to stop the spread”.
Disclosing that the Commission was deploying 3,000 troops plus Police Officers while the Malian authorities would provide 5,000 troops as back up, Mrs. Suleiman said the logistics, ingredients and other requirements for the mission’s duration would be taken care of by the United Nations in partnership with the African Union.