From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has raised the alarm that terrorist sect, Boko Haram, has taken advantage of COVID-19 pandemic to push back into Nigeria.
He started this in an opinion article published Tuesday in Paris-based magazine, Le Point.
Buhari is in France to attend the African Finance Summit on financing in the post-COVID era.
He also announced that Nigeria was seeking the cooperation of France in winning the war against terror in the country.
The President stressed the need for stronger cooperation between Nigeria and France in the fight against terror.
“Now Nigeria and France should deepen our anti-terror cooperations if we are to overcome this scourge – particularly in the aftermath of the murder of the late President of Chad. Where for historical ties, support came to Nigeria from the UK, and to the G5 from France, the terrorists do not recognise these border-aligned distinctions. We must be agile and flexible, cooperating cross our borders to cut the head off their groups.
“Indeed, we have already done much to strengthen our bond. Intelligence sharing is well developed, along with training against improvised explosives. But there is more we can do in cross-border military exercises and coordinating strategy. At the same time, we know France has borne much of the strain for combating terrorism of the region, and we – the leaders of Sahel countries – must also do more to present a unified front to lobby other Western nations, particularly Great Britain and the United States and the European Union for further military and humanitarian assistance.
“However, we know that military gains do not provide the whole solution. Without security, economic opportunity remains fragile. Without economic opportunity, the propensity for conflict grows. The solution must therefore be two pronged. If we do improve those conditions, it leaves our people vulnerable to indoctrination, as one is vulnerable to COVID-19 without a vaccine.”
He said across the world, conflicts and coronavirus have gone hand in hand.
He noted that as governments have struggled to contain COVID, jihadists have taken advantage in the Sahel, adding that terrorism is no common across Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.
“Around the Lake Chad Basin, Boko Haram terrorism have taken advantage of the pandemic and pushed back into my country Nigeria, whilst still launching raids and attacks in Chad, Cameroon, and Niger. We have seen more than once how Boko Haram – which in French means “l’éducation occidentale est un péché” – can regroup, morphing in form and tactics.