..Calls for economic blockade against financiers
President Muhammadu Buhari has called for a coordinated initiatives aimed at developing an African Union database and profiling of persons or groups and entities involved in terrorist acts to be accessed by local and international law enforcement agents.
Buhari made the call Sunday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the ongoing African Union (AU) Peace and Security meeting.
The President who spoke on the theme: “Towards a Comprehensive Approach to Combat the Transnational Threat to Terrorism”, emphasised the need to curb the flow of terrorism financing.
Buhari stressed that lack of adequate data has marred international and local synergy on combating terrorism maintaining that “Nigeria believes that the timely establishment of this tool at the continental level will be strategic in this fight.”
He challenged the AU to revive the UN Resolution of 1373 which stipulates that “any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts should be brought to justice.”
According to a statement from his media aide, Malam Garba Shehu, Buhari also stipulated that good governance, economic development and job creation were key factors in defeating terrorism.
But he admitted that the military and law enforcement agencies alone cannot defeat terrorism but said that counter terrorism must be a collective response.
He said, “Terrorism cannot be defeated only through military force and law enforcement measures. We need to adopt a multifaceted approach of good governance, economic development and creation of job opportunities for our youth,” the President said.
“The need to curb the flow of terrorism financing cannot be over-emphasised. Concerted efforts must be made to not only dismantle the network between transnational organised crimes and terrorist organisations, but also to block the payment of ransom to terrorist groups”.
According to the statement, Nigeria remains committed to supporting counter terrorism efforts within the African Union and the United Nations.
While expressing Nigeria’s grave concern over the increasing threats posed by transnational terrorism and the attendant humanitarian crisis, he also condemned in the strongest terms the continued activities of terrorist groups in Africa, and around the world.
He called for more concerted action by the African body and the international community to address the global scourge.
He remarked that the conditions that were conducive to the spread of extremism, radicalisation and terrorism must first be addressed. Similarly, he said collaborative measures must be taken to disrupt the recruitment of terrorists, their financing networks and the movement of foreign fighters.
Buhari told the gathering that Nigeria had enacted domestic anti-terrorism laws that also deal with related issues such as kidnapping, drug peddling and gun-running.
Linking terrorist activities to climate change, the President reiterated Nigeria’s “important call for global action to support the recharging of the Lake Chad Basin,” which has shrunk by over 80 per cent and has impacted negatively on the livelihood of millions of people in the countries of the Basin.
According to him, “There is considerable evidence that the environmental state of the Lake contributed to the radicalisation of jobless youth who joined Boko Haram.”
In their submissions, the Chairperson of the AU Peace and Security Council, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, the African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, agreed on the real threat of transnational terrorism, and the need for global efforts to curb the negative trend.
Restructuring Nigeria, best way to immortalize Ekwueme – Atiku
Myke Uzendu, Abuja
The former vice president and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described late Chief Alex Ekweume as one of the great leaders and founders of the democracy we have enjoyed in Nigeria since 1999 saying that Ekwueme was at the forefront of restructuring during the constitutional conference.
Atiku stated this on Sunday in Abuja during a memorial service in honour of the late Vice President at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
Atiku said that in every ramification, Dr. Ekwueme was a great man and one of those who truly love Nigeria. He recalled that between 1998 and 1999, he laboured hard mobilizing other patriotic Nigerians to found the largest political party in Nigeria, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which went on to win the 1999 presidential election and ushered in the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo administration with my humble self as the Vice President.
He said, “It should be noted that the efforts put into national mobilization and party building made it possible for the then military administration in Nigeria to hand over power to a civilian government. This is because the country’s political leadership, under the direction and guidance of late Dr. Ekwueme, late Major-General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and others, presented a united and disciplined group that genuinely represented and mirrored the political aspirations and readiness of Nigerians for democratic rule.
“Though Dr. Ekwueme contested for the presidential ticket of the PDP for the 1999 presidential election and lost, he was never for once a bitter man. It can be said without contradiction, that there are few Nigerian politicians of the mould of late Dr. Ekwueme who play politics without bitterness in a clime such as ours where reckless political deals and betrayals tend to be common.
“Whenever there were problems in the then ruling party, the PDP until 2015, and there were many instances, it was always to the late Dr. Alex Ekwueme that the PDP and most political leaders in the country reverted to seek solution. And the late Statesman, popularly known as Ide by his admirers following his traditional title, always delivered and ensured that the problems were nipped in the bud.
“I wish to recall that long before his advent in the PDP, Dr Ekwueme, had played a crucial role in the formation and government of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and its success in the democratic process in Nigeria”.
He said that Ekwueme is a man that Nigerians, and indeed the world will always remember as an accomplished person and a philosopher of good standing. He stressed that his pursuit of education and scholarship was legendary and helped in shaping the colossus that he eventually became.
“He showed these traits at the 1994 National Constitutional Conference held in Abuja, to fashion a new Constitution for Nigeria in order to prepare the country for a return to civil rule. Ekwueme deeply reflected on the problems of Nigeria and how the country can be made to work for the good of all its citizens by putting in place a convenient political structure.
“As a result of his great learning and easy grasp of issues as well as his honesty, integrity and reliability, his quarters at the Constitutional Conference venue became a Mecca of sorts. There delegates representing other parts of the country sought his audience and input before they made their presentations.
“It was at that 1994 Constitutional Conference, where I was among the delegates representing Adamawa State, that the astute and cerebral Ekwueme proposed the idea of restructuring the country along geo-political lines. The six geo-political zones, which he proposed and was later adopted by all delegates, is currently in use by all Nigerians as a convenient way to easily capture and categorize the 36 States and the FCT, into which Nigeria is divided.
“Suffice it to say that late Dr. Alex Ekwueme was a man of many parts, the likes of whom are very rare and the type that societies that crave for progress and development, hanker after. He unequivocally can be referred to as one of the best presidents that Nigeria never had, bearing in mind that on about three occasions beginning from 1999, the great Ide sought to govern his beloved country.”
Atiku maintained that Ekwueme is one man who leaves anyone he has met with a good and lasting impression the way he has left a lasting impression and indelible footprints in Nigerian politics and society.
“In fact, one way to immortalize this great politician and Statesman would be for all Nigerians to visit, in good faith, the issue of political restructuring and devolution of powers which the great Alex stood for before his sudden death. I believe this will make him turn with joy where he is and bless the country.”
The Waziri Adamawa prayed that the almighty God continues to raise for the country, wise and responsible men and women of vision, honesty and integrity who will take the nation on the right path of progress and development
Myke Uzendu, Abuja