President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday said all nations of the world have the collective responsibility of identifying sponsors and supporters of terror groups, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria and other groups operating in the Sahel region.
He said such people should be held responsible for their actions aimed at destabilising Africa.
Jonathan made his position known in his remarks on peace and security at the opening of the ongoing Fourth European Union-Africa Summit holding in Brussels, the Belgian capital.
While thanking the EU and other development partners for their assistance in addressing the menace of the terror groups, Jonathan insisted that a terror attack on one nation is an attack on everybody.
He said, “The weapons of choice of these terror groups are the Small Arms and Light Weapons.
“Of recent, they have acquired the rapid propelled grenades and even surface-to-air missiles. Where do they get these sophisticated weapons? The total value of what these terrorists possess as individuals, in terms of what they wear, where they live cannot buy an assault rifle.
“We all have the collective responsibility to un-earth their sponsors and supporters who are determined to destabilise Africa. We should hold them responsible and accountable for their actions.”
The President said the issue of peace and security called for a holistic and integrated approach, as peace and development are two sides of the same coin.
He said it was based on the importance that Nigeria attaches to the issue that he organised a summit on “Human Security, Peace and Development: An Agenda for the 21st Century” during Nigeria’s recent Centenary Celebrations.
He said the summit resolved, in part, that all countries must continue to strengthen existing mechanisms for national and international conflict management, and create new avenues for co-operation within and between peoples and nations.
Jonathan recalled that since 2000, African Union had demonstrated sustained desire for the development of collective security arrangement among its member states and its Regional Economic Communities.
He said the countries had established a security management system and the codification of standards within Africa’s Peace and Security Architecture.
This, he said, included the Peace and Security Council, a continental early warning system, the Panel of the Wise and the African Standby Force.
He said the union has also subscribed to modalities and action plans to confront these challenges new threat of piracy in some maritime boundaries and curb the menace of oil theft.
In addition to these initiatives, the President said there were organs within the AU with mandates to strengthen the peace and security architecture.
He described the coming into force of the African Charter on Democracy, Election and Government as a legally binding instrument as a further re-affirmation of collective resolve at outlawing unconstitutional change of government in Africa.
He added, “Notwithstanding these initiatives, new and emerging threats that necessitate concerted and holistic focus have emerged. These include political conflicts that threaten hard-won peace and democracies, and worse still, the phenomenon of piracy and terrorism.
“In the face of these new threats and challenges, the Peace and Security Architecture needs to be strengthened and the African Standby Force needs to be fully operationalised.
“We need to give stronger impetus to capacity building and logistical support to boost Africa’s capability and preparedness to take pre-emptive steps to contain conflict situations, quell violence and deal with the scourges of terrorism.
“There is need for renewed efforts to address the challenges at hand, in the context of our partnership. The modest successes recorded in tackling the peace and security challenges confronting us notwithstanding, the fact remains that we may continue to fall short of the target of ridding Africa of conflicts if the nexus that exists between peace and development is not fully explored and developed.
“Our approaches must therefore be integrated while simultaneously addressing the socio-political factors that push countries to conflict, with their attendant humanitarian and socio-economic consequences.”
The summit brought together the Heads of State and Government of the EU and the African continent together with the EU and AU institutions.
The EU was represented at the summit which has “Investing in people, prosperity and peace” as its theme by President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso. Punch