Counter-Terrorism: Ribadu calls for enhanced intelligence sharing in Africa

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By Sumaila Ogbaje

National Security Adviser (NSA), Malam Nuhu Ribadu, has called for enhanced collaboration among African countries to enhance intelligence sharing to effectively address the menace of terrorism.

Ribadu made the call at the round off of the two-day High-Level African Counter-Terrorism Meeting, on Tuesday in Abuja.

The meeting had as the theme, ‘Strengthening Regional Cooperation and Institution Building to Address the Evolving Threat of Terrorism in Africa’.

The meeting was organised by Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and UN Office for Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT).

Ribadu said that such collaboration should include investing in cybersecurity capabilities to combat the increasing digital recruitment by extremist groups and circulation of their propaganda.

He also urged all to work towards a cohesive framework for regional and international regulations to facilitate operational coordination and support capacity building in critical areas such as forensic science, legal frameworks, and counter terrorism financing.

The NSA said there was need to developing community-based solutions with the backing of local and international partners, to make them sustainable and impactful.

“Reflecting on the outcomes of our discussions, it is clear that while the challenges are daunting, they are surmountable with a holistic approach that encompasses reverse security measures and comprehensive strategies aimed at tackling the root cause of terrorism.

“In closing, let us depart from here together with a renewed sense of purpose and determination.

“The road ahead may be found with challenges, but it is also bringing opportunities for progress and transformation.

“We must continue to analyse the promotion of peace, security and justice for all, building a future where the scourge of terrorism is but a distant memory and the promise of prosperity and peace prevails,” he said.

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In his remarks, the Under Secretary-General, UNOCT, Mr Vladimir Voronkov, said the meeting had sent a strong “message of unity” on the counter-terrorism agenda in Africa.

Voronkov said that supporting African member states in their counter-terrorism efforts and responding to their needs, were among the top priorities of UNOCT, adding that the high-level meeting had kicked off the Abuja process.

He said the process would be guided by African-led and African-owned solutions against terrorism; enhanced regional and sub-regional cooperation.

Others, were a comprehensive approach at addressing conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, and strengthening capacities of affected member states.

“The UNOCT will continue to support the government of Nigeria, the African Union, and regional organisations as well as all African member states during the Abuja Process.

“It is also important that international partners enhance their counter-terrorism support to African Member States.

“The sharing of experiences, expertise and resources is critical for the success of our common endeavors in the continent,” he added.

In an interview with newsmen, Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Muhammad Badaru, said the meeting had reinforced the commitment of African nations to work together to fight terrorism.

Badaru said the nations had resolved as Africans to develop means and strategies that was African to tackle the terrorism with the support of the international community.

According to him, the delegates encouraged the thinking that the time is now to end insecurity and have resolved to work together as a continent.

“We will get a lot of intelligence on the source of funding and source of arms for terrorists and we are also collaborating with other countries to protect the movement of terrorists from one country to the other.”

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On her part, Emanuela Del Re, European Union Special Representative for the Sahel, reiterated the commitment of the EU to support the counter-terrorism efforts of the African countries to end the menace.

She said the meeting was an African led programme, adding that the EU would support African ownership.

According to her, the EU has a lot of projects in several hundreds of millions of dollars of which 72 per cent of all its investments in terrorism go to Africa.

“This shows, of course, how much we are involved and committed.

“I really want to praise President Bola Tinubu, the NSA and of course, Nigeria for taking the leadership.

“I think this is brave on the part of Nigeria because it is a very difficult issue that is trying to take the leadership off.

“I think that from now on, with this particular event, when the Abuja process started, I think we will have more opportunities to work together to tackle the situation.

“Especially, as regards terrorism, which is probably one of the most horrible events that affect the continent,” she said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa/Maharazu Ahmed

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