President Muhammadu Buhari lamented on Thursday that Boko Haram terrorists have wreaked havoc in Nigeria by killing and maiming innocent civilians and called on world leaders to develop and implement “comprehensive and coordinated counter-extremism strategies at sub-regional, regional and continental levels”.
“In Nigeria, Boko Haram has caused havoc, especially in the North-eastern part of the country – killing, maiming, destroying livelihoods and displacing hapless citizens, majority of whom are women and children,” Buhari said while speaking at the opening of bilateral talks between Nigeria and Kenya in Nairobi.
Those victims he was remembering have now piled up to over 25,000 since 2009 in Nigeria, and thousands in Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
On Monday, Boko Haram killed at least 37 people in Bodo, a locality in Cameroon’s far north, and at least six others were murdered by suicide bombers at a school in Kerawa on Thursday in the same region.
On Wednesday, at least 16 people, including a soldier, were killed in Chibok by about five suicide bombers in the same locality where close to 300 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram in April 2014 in the northern Nigerian state of Borno.
In all, Boko Haram has displaced millions, killed tens of thousands and damaged entire villages and towns, disrupted lives for an entire region and left a generation of children out of school and traumatised by violence and extreme barbarism.
With all that, Buhari said the threat posed to national, regional and global peace and security by terrorists has taken “an alarming dimension in recent times” and only a global approach could bring peace to a planet under constant terror threats.
“In Kenya, you also face terrorist challenges. Similarly, Iraq and Syria, are facing their own brand of terrorism which has thrown the entire Middle East into turmoil. Terrorism does not respect religion, creed, race or national boundaries. No country is safe from the menace.
“This is why the entire global community must work in a concerted manner, particularly in areas of sharing intelligence and pooling resources and finance to confront the scourge. Our armed forces and security services should also be adequately supported and well-motivated to fight terrorism,” Buhari added.
He said it was “worth emphasising that terrorists are continually changing tactics, building alliances, merging and generally getting more sophisticated, all in an attempt to build their capacity to inflict pain and misery on societies”.
“To win the war on terror therefore, we must respond to this phenomenon by developing new and versatile strategies. Together with our allies, Nigeria and Kenya can successfully tackle these challenges that have traumatized and brought untold suffering to our people.
“The need to tackle and defeat terrorism cannot be overemphasized as there can be no development and prosperity in an atmosphere of insecurity and instability.
“Our communities must be helped to build resilience against violent extremism. The extremist narrative and ideology by radical elements and militants in our societies must be tackled through a counter-narrative that emphasizes education, moderation and tolerance.
“For our efforts to achieve desired results, communities, religious leaders, civil society and educational institutions must be fully involved,” President Buhari said.
Hour after at the Nigeria–Kenya Business Forum, President Buhari expressed confidence that the Nigeria-Kenya Business Council and the Kenya-Nigeria Agribusiness Forum will serve as platforms for the promotion of intra African trade.
President Uhuru Kenyatta thanked President Buhari for honouring Kenya with the visit, spokesman Femi Adesina said in a statement.
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