By KINGSLEY OMONOBI
ABUJA — Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for West Africa, Mr. Said Djinnit, has called on countries in the West African sub-region to join Nigeria in her determination to rid the region of the menace of terrorism.
He said that it was only by wiping out terrorism that peace, stability and development could take place.
Djinnit, who is also Chairman, Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission, spoke during a visit to the Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, in Abuja.
He said: “The threat of extremism or terrorism is affecting all our countries in West Africa and Africa in general, hence there is need for all to work together as a team.”
Djinnit explained that the visit was to see how he (Djinnit) could work closely with ECOWAS and leaders of the sub-region towards combining efforts to stabilise the region and create conditions for lasting peace.
He said: “There should be a multinational effort to checkmate the canker worm. Though Nigeria is making its effort, but we need to mobilise the entire region to work together to address the root cause of the problem.
“We should address the concern and challenge in a coordinated manner within the framework of the existing plan of action with ECOWAS, African Union and the UN.”
Emphasising that the challenge facing Nigeria in the fight against terrorism was immense, Djinnit said it was the responsibility of the state to ensure the safety of the citizens of the country, adding that this should be done by taking into account the issue of human rights which he believed the government was aware of.
Nigeria on piracy war
He commended Nigeria for the role it had been playing in the Gulf of Guinea in the fight against piracy and praised the harmony existing between Nigeria and Cameroon as a result of existing agreements and security arrangements between both countries.
He said: “I encourage both countries to work closely in addressing common security threats at their common borders, especially in the context of the growing pressure by the extremist and terrorist groups in the bordering Sahel region, which has affected Nigeria and other countries.”
Responding, Erelu Obada said the relationship that existed between Nigeria and Cameroon dated back to 1960s and this was anchored on affinities and shared destiny.
She disclosed that there are more than four million Nigerians living in Cameroon, which makes it the biggest host of Nigerians in diaspora.
The minister listed the areas of cooperation between both countries to include exchange of information and experiences on security investigations, surveys, studies and research to prevent acts of trans-border insecurity and the conduct of border control operations.
On the joint policing of the Nigeria/Cameroon border, Obada said Nigeria had constituted her team for the implementation phase, adding that Cameroon was expected to forward names of her team towards its implementation.