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Regional support to end terror in Nigeria

Security: Nigeria counts on regional support to end terror - As the fight against terrorism intensifies at the national level in Nigeria, the link between the internal and international terrorist groups, has made it imperative for regional co-operation and support to win the war. Analysts are of the view that without regional co-operation, particularly from countries with which it shares common boundaries, the war would not be won.


This is because of the recent development in which the Boko Haram (BH) terror group used neighbouring countries as base to launch attacks in Nigeria. 

Intensive operations by the military in northeastern Nigeria have pushed activities of the Boko Haram to the periphery of the country’s borders with other West African countries.

It is widely believed that BH is now affiliated to foreign terrorist groups such as Al-Shabaab in Somalia and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). These groups have been giving BH logistics and financial resources to carry out its ]devastating attacks.

In its efforts to end the violent group's activities, the Nigerian government has supported efforts at checkmating rising insurgency within the sub-region.

This was demonstrated in the country’s contribution of troops in quashing the activities of the rebel group in northern Mali.

But in terms of reciprocal support, Nigeria seems not to be getting the expected support from neighbouring countries.

On several occasions the Nigerian military high command has complained that each time they clash with the BH, they always end up in neighbouring countries such as Niger Republic and Cameroon.

At a recent public outing the Governor of northeastern state of Yobe, Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam, also complained of lack of co-operation in the fight against the terrorist group from the Niger Republic.

Just last week the Nigerian troops chased the BH sect members up to a point between Nigeria and Cameroon.

The terrorists regrouped inside Cameroon and were moving into Nigeria to unleash violence.
However, they were pushed back from the Nigerian territory up to the Bankili bridge, located between Nigeria and Cameroon.

“What the Nigerian troops did was in order; it is quite unfortunate that countries sharing borders with us and have received different form of assistance and support from us are the ones undermining our security,” Olumide Adewale, a public affairs analyst told PANA.

“The Nigerian government should not hesitate to call these countries to order. Terrorism is a contemporary problem in international security, which demands regional, continental and global support to end it. I think, it is in this spirit that these French countries need to co-operate with us,” he added.

The public affairs analyst called for a common sub-regional approach to stem the incidence of insurgencies in West Africa.

Cameroon's northern region is reported to be a hotbed of terrorism blamed largely on Boko Haram, which launched its violent campaign in northern Nigeria in 2009.

Even though the Cameroonian government said it had reinforced security in its northern border with Nigeria, Chad and Central Africa Republic (CAR), BH still used the country to launch attacks on Nigeria.

Mr. Adewale said the porous nature of the Nigerian borders, made it easy for citizens from neighbouring countries to move in and out of the country with ease.

The public affairs analyst said the similarities in culture and languages made movement within the borders easy.

He suggested the need to increase the presence of security agencies and police at the borders through constant border patrol.

“We have porous borders, where we have all these insurgencies. People from neighbouring countries come across, and along our borders, our tribes spill over to another country. If you see an Hausa man in Maiduguri, you can also see him in Chad. Just as they speak Hausa in northern Nigeria, a similar language is widely spoken in Niger Republic

“So, they can easily move across, it is easy for them to come to Nigeria because their language, religion, tribes are similar. So this issue of Boko Haram may be from outside, because I don’t think a Nigerian will think of killing a fellow Nigerian,” he added.

The government admitted that the incessant terrorist attacks in Nigeria, were having negative effects on the country’s image and resources.

Information and supervising Defence Minister, Mr. Labaran Maku, said the government would not relent until the activities of the terrorists were brought to an end.

He laments that funds that should be used for infrastructural development are used on security in the region.

“Six billion naira went to the northeast, under the 2014 budget. The zone is where we are spending the much money now. The security budget in a month can build several roads.

“So the first investment in the region today is to return to normalcy. We are not only spending billions of naira, we are losing lives and equipment everyday. There is no zone in the country that is receiving money from the Federal Government today as the northeast because of insurgencies”, Mr. Maku told journalists in an interview.

Speaking on a national radio programme, police spokesman, Frank Mbah, said in spite of the security challenges confronting the country, a lot of states recorded tremendous decrease in incidents of crime last year. He said the fight against terror would be intensified this year.

By Abudu Babalola, PANA Correspondent, Lagos

Pana 24/01/2014