Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, on Tuesday asked for increased cooperation among regional and international organisations to put an end to the reign of the Boko Haram Terrorist organisation in the Lake Chad Basin.
Olonisakin, who delivered a paper at a plenary during the Dakar International Forum for Peace and Security in Africa, stated that the extremist group had been highly restricted following the recapture of massive territories that it held in the past.
However, he indicated that the international community must remain watchful in order to completely stamp out the threat of cross-national terrorism where Boko Haram received support from terrorists in the Middle East and North Africa.
“It is important that the similar focused efforts that was used in defeating ISIS in Syria need to be applied to counter violent extremist organisations in Africa,” Olonisakin said.
“With active collaboration and partnership within and among regional bodies and the active continuous support of our strategic partners, we can collectively bring the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism on the African continent to a conclusive end.”
Olonisakin outlined the existing bilateral and multilateral agreements that have led to the successes enjoyed in the war against the terrorist group so far. He mentioned the new dimension in international cooperation between Nigeria and Cameroon that has seen both countries relax their sovereignty to enable the pursuit of bands of terrorists across national borders. He also acknowledged the success of the Multinational Joint Task Force that includes Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin, in the fight against Boko Haram.
Senegalese Chief of General Staff, General Cheikh Gueye lamented the archaic security system in the sub-region that has allowed terrorism to fester over the last decade.
“The security situation in West Africa reveals the inadequacies of the armies in our countries,” he said. “Long designed to face classic threats, today our armies face many limitations in the fight against trans-border criminality due to the deficit of modern equipment, which limits intelligence gathering to win the information war.”
A representative from the Republic of Niger had earlier lamented the economics of the war against terrorism that is taking away critical resources from government budgets.
“Countries are obliged to take out money from their budget to fight terrorism thereby denying important sectors like healthcare funds from the national budget,” he said.
The fifth Dakar International Forum, an avenue for policymakers from across the continent and beyond to meet and discuss the security issues facing the continent, was attended by more than 600 participants over two days. It ended on Tuesday.