President Goodluck Jonathan has urged African leaders to unite against the activities of terrorists and stop the continued massacre of innocent people across the continent. He also called on the leaders to fulfil earlier commitments with respect to legal measures, border control and exchange of intelligence, as part of the joint efforts to put an end to terrorism.
Decrying the increasing wave of violence perpetrated by Boko Haram, El-Shabba, Lord Resistance Army (LRA), among other terrorist sects in the continent, Jonathan noted that the African Union (AU) had what it took in terms of legal, political and normative instruments to deal with the rising sophistication of terrorists, adding that the task ahead was to ensure effective use of the instruments.
The president spoke at the opening ceremony of the 455th African Union Peace and Security Council meeting, at the level of Heads of State and Government, with the theme, “Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa” held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), Nairobi, Kenya.
Jonathan commended the AU member countries and the commission for the commitment and efforts so far put in place to tackle insurgency, insisting, however, that a lot more work needed to be done.
“While both member states and the commission deserve to be commended for their commitment and efforts, nonetheless, much remains to be done. The atrocities that continue to be committed by the terrorist groups active in the Sahel-Saharan region, Boko Haram, the LRA, Al- Shabaab and other terrorist groups bear testimony to the long road ahead of us,” he said.
Proffering solutions to the situation, he said: “The first (solution) relates to the need for enhanced cooperation among member states and between the continent and the rest of the international community.
“Indeed, the problem we are confronting is global in nature. Terrorists and organised crime syndicates operate in networks that can only be defeated through concerted action and cooperation. The African Union and its various instruments and mechanisms provide the framework within which we should combine our efforts and pull together our scarce resources.
“The second point pertains to the need for action-oriented approach. We are now well equipped in terms of legal, political and normative instruments. The task ahead of us is to ensure their effective implementation. The countries concerned should take the steps required to become parties to the relevant African and international instruments. We should as member states, fulfil our commitments and obligations, particularly with respect to legal measures, border control, exchange of intelligence and other related measures.”
President Jonathan identified social issues like poverty and unemployment as responsible for creating the conducive environment for terrorism to breed, calling on leaders to address them squarely.
Earlier, the Chairperson of the council, Idriss Debby of Chad, assured that the council would leave no stone unturned in the fight against terror, while host President, Uhuru Kenyatta, called on African leaders to provide the funds needed to fight terrorism to complement the support coming from outside the continent.
The summit is expected to adopt the recommendations of the African Union Commission chairperson on violent extremism and terrorism in Africa. – The Sun.