By Ben Agande, Abuja.
In order to check the security challenge posed by Boko Haram, Nigeria and the Republic of Niger have agreed to immediate take off of the joint border patrols along the border between the two countries.
Similarly the two countries also agreed to equip their National Boundary Commissions with requisite logistics to ensure fast re-demarcation of the Nigeria-Niger International boundary.
These agreements were reached between the presidents of Nigeria and Niger at the end of the sixth session of the High Authority of the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation, held in Niamey, the capital of Republic of Niger.
President Goodluck Jonathan led the Nigerian delegation as co-chair of the session.
The president who was accompanied on the trip by Governors of Jigawa, Sule Lamido, Katsina Ibrahim Shema and Borno, Kashim Shettima.
Others on the delegation include Ministers of Transport, Water Resources, Enviroment, lnterior, Ministers of State for Defence, Foreign Affairs and Works.
President Jonathan also signed bilateral agreement on Defence and Security with the Nigerien government.
In a communique issued at the end of the session yesterday, the two Heads of States expressed worries over the danger of terrorism in the region and emphasised the need to jointly tackle the security challenge in the sub region which is a big threat to peace and stability in the West African sub-region.
While Nigerian’s Foreign Affairs ministers. Dr. Nurudeen Muhammad, signed on behalf of Nigeria Mr. Mohamed Bazoum, Senior Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, African Integration and Nationals in Diaspora signed for the Republic of Niger.
The communique reads:
“At the sub-regional level, the heads of state expressed their concerns over the danger brought by the international terrorism into their sub-region, namely Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, Boko Haram and other weapons and drug trafficking criminal organizations which constitute a big heat to the peace and stability within the the whole of West African region.
” the two Heads of States agreed on the immediate take off of the joint Border patrols along the border between the two countries. The two governments have also been directed to provide envisaged funds and required logistics for the exercise.
“similarly, the two heads of state instructed the relevant authorities to provide the National Boundary Commissions of both countries with requisite logistics for the rapid completion of the re-demarcation of the Nigeria-Niger international boundary.”
They also condemned in strong terms, the taking of hostage by terrorist groups, especially the recent one in Dakoro, Republic of Niger and other acts of violence committed by Boko Haram.
Concerning the political situation in Mali, the two leaders jointly agreed on the need to assist Mali in regaining it’s territory.
In this regards, both leaders adopted the setting up of an international military force for Mali by the United Nations Security Council.
They argued that the reunification of the country will facilitate restoration of democracy and re-establishment of the state authority nationwide.
Also as part of the efforts to boost trade between both nations, the two leaders directed their relevant authorities to ensure the completion of the road construction work and also the feasibility studies of the rail links aimed at connecting both countries.
“the two heads of state also directed the Nigeria-Niger joint commission to ensure the completion of the road construction work of all remaining short stretches and the feasibility studies of rail links aimed at connecting both countries.”
Already, President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the feasibility studies for the rail link will commence 2013.
Besides, both leaders also asked relevant authorities to create favorable conditions for the establishment of joint ventures between the entrepreneurs of both countries.
On the equitable sharing and utilization of the common water resources of both countries, the two heads of state observed that obstacles relating to the conveyance of water from dams located on both sides of borderline were yet to be overcome.
It therefore instructed, “to enforce the spirit of understanding and cooperation and at the same time take appropriate measures for the effective release of water and execution/realization of hydro-agricultural schemes”
Earlier in an address at the session, President Jonathan enjoined law enforcement agents, financial institutions and other relevant agencies to devise means and ways of stemming the activities of human and drug trafficking and business fraudsters.
He also revealed that the modus operandi for the joint border patrol exercise has been worked out adding that what was left “is the provision of vehicles for the joint patrol teams.”
He however assured that on the part of the country, the issue will be given expeditious attention, “as the pains inflicted on our economy by the activities of these cross-border crimes have become very grave.
On the ongoing international road linking both countries, President Jonathan assured that the country is willing to take adequate steps to support the completion of the project, construction of new roads as well as rehabilitation of the existing ones.
On the proposed rail link, he said his administration will lend it’s support to it’s realization. He noted that government shall take into account the ongoing works on the Kaura Namoda-Sokoto-Konni as well as the Kano-Magaria-Zinder rail link.
Besides, Jonathan said his administration is ready to support any airline that decides to start the direct fly between Nigeria and Niger which was abandon by Arik airline.