President Muhammadu Buhari has stressed the need for ECOWAS to establish a strong partnership with the African Union in combating terrorism and addressing the resultant humanitarian crisis.
He stated this in a speech in Burkina Faso at the Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on Counter-Terrorism.
While addressing ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, which also has the leaders of Chad Mauritania in attendance.
President Buhari said the partnership with the African Union would galvanise international support and solidarity to combat and defeat terrorism in the entire region.
The President also apprised the regional leaders on the situation in the Lake Chad Basin and the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
He described the situation in Lake Chad Basin, historically a bastion of rich culture and civilization, an area abundant in natural resources, providing livelihoods to tens of millions of people, as tragic.
President Buhari expressed unhappiness that the area had now become an abode for terrorist groups and extremists, whose intent was wanton destruction.
He commended countries of the Lake Chad Basin and the Benin Republic, which supported Nigeria’s efforts at displacing the terrorists, whom he described as their common enemy.
He noted that the Multi-national Joint Taskforce, MNJTF, had largely succeeded in degrading the Boko Haram terrorist group.
President Buhari commended the MNJTF for their sacrifices, but said much still needed to be done, and encouraged the Taskforce to remain steadfast until their mission was accomplished.
He also urged as the political and other actors of the Lake Chad Basin Countries to continue to preserve their solidarity and commitment towards achieving durable peace and sustainable development in those areas.
The President said it was imperative that the countries continuously strive to provide the necessary resources and tools to the MNJTF, the G5 Sahel Joint Force, the Accra Initiative and similar initiatives, to lead the war on terrorism, violent extremism and trans-border crimes across the region.
President Buhari said he would expect that the adoption of the roadmap, priority areas and other recommendations to the Ouagadougou Summit if properly implemented, would go a long way in addressing the spread of terrorism and violent extremism in the region.