The Nigerian Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali has said the federal government is aware of the recruitment and training of ISIS fighters on the Nigerian soil but that the issue will top the agenda of the Meeting of the Ministers of Defence of the Community of Sahel Saharan States (CEN-SAD) beginning in Abuja tomorrow, June 20.
Addressing news men on the forthcoming Meeting at the Ministry of Defence in Abuja, the Minister said that the issue of recruitment and training of ISIS fighters on Nigerian soil “is on the table. It is on top of the agenda of the Meeting of the Ministers of Defence of the Sahel Region and it will be discussed elaborately with a view to find lasting solutions to it.
“Such Movements of ISIS members into Nigeria are illegal and the Meeting of the Ministers is aware of it and we are trying to curtail this illegal movement.”
Represented by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence, Hajiya Saratu Batagarawa, the minister said that the regional meeting would take strategic decisions on the problems of Boko Haram and its allies, kidnappings and killings by bandits in the Northwest as well as the clashes between Fulani herders and farmers in the Northcentral states of Nigeria.
“These issues are the basis for forming this regional organization to enhance intelligence sharing among member countries, to checkmate trans-border and cross border crimes and banditry.
“The idea is that crimes have no border and it is incumbent on all member countries to take a holistic approach to arrive at common solutions to the challenge”
He said that it is not true that the agreement on the protection of Lake Chad Basin by some countries is being threatened by the fact that some of the countries are reneging on their promises, insisting that the agreement is not only intact by also the resolve to defeat terror in the basin.
According to the minister the 7th Meeting of Ministers of Defence of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN/ SAD) would take place in Abuja, Nigeria from 20th -22nd June, 20l 8.
Dan Ali explained that the sub-Regional Organization established in Tripoli, Libya, on 4th February, 1998, following a summit of Heads of States of Libya, Niger, Mali, Sudan and Chad would among others promote amongst member-states cooperation in the field of defence ond security, as well as tackle the thorny issues of insecurity across the sub-Region
He added that the all-African member-States of the Community have since increased in number to 28, while members states are committed to establishing “a sub-Regional Economic Union integrating investment in the fields of Agriculture, Industry and Energy, as well as Social and Cultural sectors”.
“At the national level, it is gratifying that the gains accruing from Nigeria’s campaign against terror and insurgency are being consolidated in so many fronts. The Operation Safe Corridor Programme of Nigeria, for instance, is worth emulating by other CENSAD member-States. The Operation is aimed at addressing the suffering of the people of the North East and fast-tracking the peace process. lt is supposed to de-radicalize, rehabilitate and reintegrate surrendered insurgents.
“There is also the Counter Terrorism Centre at Nigeria’s Office of the National Security Adviser to tackle the root causes of radicalization and proffer appropriate solutions. The Center also helps in countering radical ideologies of fundamentalist groups in Nigeria.
“In addition, the Presidential Committee on the North East initiative (PCNl) serves as the primary national strategy, as well as coordination and advisory body for all humanitarian interventions and developmental efforts in the North East of Nigeria. The PCNI is also designed to oversee all remedial programmes aimed at addressing the Crisis in the North East since 2009.”