Buhari urges increased inter-regional collaboration on insecurity, cross-border crimes

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in Lome made a strong appeal for inter-regional collaboration on maritime security, the fight against terrorism and other crimes through effective border control.
The President made the call while contributing to the consideration and adoption of the Draft Declaration by the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Peace, Security, Stability and the Fight against Terrorism and violent Extremism in the Togolese capital.
“Respect for rule of law, democracy and promotion of human rights are also vital as they are attributes of good governance, which would enhance the socio-economic development of the two regions.
“It is also noteworthy to state that the subsisting collaboration among Nigeria, Chad, Cameroun, Niger and Benin in the fight against transnational crimes and proliferation of small arms and light weapons is exemplary.
“Nigeria’s collaboration with the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), which is mandated to protect our environment, is existential because of the imperative to preserve the Lake Chad,” he said.
The President said the Lake which had shrunk by 90 per cent, “has directly led to the economic hardship in the region, which has in turn created the enabling environment for the radicalization of the youth.” He, therefore, called for greater focus on the refilling of the Lake Chad “as a long-term solution to one of the root causes of this existential threat.” He said the Joint Summit was long overdue given the shared history and cultural ties of the two sub-regions and the common challenges facing them.
“Nigeria shares boundaries with two important ECCAS Members; Cameroun and Chad, with whom we share the same security threats, especially terrorism, illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons, human and drug trafficking, smuggling among others.
Therefore, collaboration between our two sub-regions has become inevitable at this time to enable us effectively confront the existing challenges,” he said.
He said such proximity informed his engagement with the neighbouring countries as soon as he came to power in 2015, leading to the formation of “a common front to combating Boko Haram insurgency” through the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) by the countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (Cameroun, Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Benin).
Commending the efforts of the Chairpersons of ECCAS and ECOW- AS for bringing together leaders of the two groupings to deliberate on important issues that required urgent attention, the President pledged that: “Nigeria will continue to support any effort directed towards peace building, security and stability, as well as the fight against terrorism and violent extremism in our two sub-regions and the world at large as an active member of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF).

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