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Nigeria to boost collaboration, disrupt terrorism-fueling trafficking - Tinubu

The president said that the continent must prudently handle the root causes of terrorism through good governance and inclusiveness.

President Bola Tinubu [Presidency]

Tinubu said this at the High-level African Counter-terrorism meeting on Monday in Abuja with the theme “Strengthening Regional Cooperation and Institution Building to Address the Evolving Threats of Terrorism in Africa”.

He said that Nigeria’s Counter-terrorism capacities have been enhanced through the enactment of the terrorism prevention and Prohibition Act and the establishment of the National Counter-Terrorism Centre(NCTC).

Tinubu said, “Dedicated to coordinating and implementing counter-terrorism strategies, the NCTC significantly enhances our capacity to detect, prevent, and respond to terrorist threats.

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"The Centre has become a platform; fostering greater collaboration among stakeholders and promoting synergy in our approach to fighting terrorism.”

The president said that the continent must, however, prudently handle the root causes of terrorism through good governance, rule of law, justice and inclusiveness.

He said that the citizens must be assured of their safety through robust programmes and policies aimed at not only eradicating the menace but also building trust.

The fight against terrorism requires a comprehensive approach. We must address the root causes of extremism, such as poverty, marginalisation, and social injustice.

"However, this important fact should not become empty rhetoric, devoid of meaning or action.

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“Terrorism snipes at the very fabric of the tranquil, prosperous and just societies we seek to build for ourselves and our children.

"Terror cannot co-exist in the same space as democracy and good governance, just as darkness and light cannot endure in the same room at the same time.

“Its goal is to cause such havoc that we doubt our democratic principles, putting societies and governments into such confusion and disarray that we begin fighting among ourselves instead of fighting the very thing that seeks our destruction,” he said.

Tinubu also described the activities of illegal mining on terrorism financing in the continent, adding that it is a significant factor boosting the menace. He said that the international community has both the moral and legal obligation to support Africa in its fight against external funding of terrorism.

The president also called for collective efforts against terrorism through fully operational regional counter-terrorism centres to serve as hubs for intelligence sharing, operational coordination, and capacity building within the region.

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Additionally, we must strengthen existing counter-terrorism structures such as the Regional Intelligence Fusion Unit (RIFU) Abuja, the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) in Algiers and the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) in Addis Ababa.

“A Regional Standby Force that includes tackling terrorism as part of its mandate must not be abandoned. I am mindful of the funding, legal and logistical complexities that face the proper establishment of such a force.”

He also called for the establishment of an all-inclusive African Union Ministerial Committee on Counter-Terrorism as envisaged in the Declaration of the 16th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union Assembly in May 2022.

Tinubu said, “Nigeria is committed to working with our regional partners to strengthen arms control measures, enhance border security, and disrupt the illicit trafficking networks that fuel terrorism and organised crime.”

Early, Dr Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, urged African leaders to address the trust deficit by citizens through programmes and policies that include victims of violent extremism.

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Mohammed said that women and youths are veritable tools for campaigns of terrorism and become ready tools when faced with bad governance, lack of justice, lack of transparency and non-inclusion.

She added; “Victims of terrorism must be appropriately reintegrated into the society through mental and psychological interventions as well as adequate recognition for them to overcome the trauma of their experiences in the hands of terrorists and other extreme violent actions.”

Amina said that the women were more vulnerable to extremist activities in the continent and therefore required more attention for their physical and psychological health.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two-day meeting will feature paper presentations including; the evolving terrorist threat landscape in Africa and countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism conducive to terrorism.

Other papers are enhancing regional capacities to counter and prevent terrorism and strengthening cooperation between international partners and affected African member states.

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The event was attended by the Presidents of Benin Republic Patrice Talon; Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo and Togo, Faure Gnassingbe.

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