Regional Heads of State of Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger on Saturday attended a Summit in Paris, convened by President Francois Hollande, and attended by the representatives of the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Summit, which aimed at forging a common front in combating terrorism agreed to enforce sanction against Nigeria’s Islamist sects, Boko Haram and Ansaru.
Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, north-eastern Nigeria, sparking outrage across the world.
At the end of the Summit, several decisions that will strengthen cooperation between regional States, both to enable the liberation of the abducted school girls and more generally to combat Boko Haram were taken.
The European Union, France, the United States and the United Kingdom, expressed commitment to supporting this regional cooperation and strengthening the international means to combat Boko Haram and protect victims.
All these States reaffirm their commitment to human rights and particularly the protection of girls who are victims of violence and forced marriage or threatened with slavery.
Nigeria and its neighbours will build analysis and response capabilities that will contribute to enhancing the security of all populations and the rule of law in the areas affected by Boko Haram’s terrorist acts.
To combat the Boko Haram threat, which has recently manifested itself through several murderous attacks and the abduction of more than 270 school girls, Nigeria and its neighbours have decided to immediately on a bilateral level:
Implement coordinated patrols with the aim of combating Boko Haram and locating the missing school girls; establish a system to pool intelligence in order to support this operation; mechanisms for information exchange on trafficking of weapons and bolster measures to secure weapons stockpiles; mechanisms for border surveillance;
Also, on a multilateral basis, they agreed to; establish an intelligence pooling unit; create a dedicated team to identify means of implementation and draw up, during a second phase, a regional counter-terrorism strategy in the framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.
This approach is consistent with the 2012 Summit of the Lake Chad Basin Commission. The United States, the United Kingdom, France and the European Union will coordinate their support for this regional cooperation through technical expertise, training programmes and support for border-area management programmes.
At the international level, the Summit agreed to:
Accelerate the implementation of international sanctions against Boko Haram, Ansaru and their main leaders, within the United Nations framework as a priority.
Also, to mobilization to support marginalized areas and their fragile populations, and particularly women exposed to violence
The US, UK France and the EU also pledged to mobilize donors in support of programmes fostering the socio-economic development of the regions concerned, with particular emphasis on gender equality, the rights of women and girls and in particular their right to education, increasing women’s participation in all decision-making processes, and supporting victims of sexual violence, including through legal assistance, medical care and psychosocial support. The EU will dedicate a certain number of its programmes to these aspects and will strengthen its efforts to combat radicalization.
The participants agreed that the United Kingdom would host a follow-up meeting next month at Ministerial level to review progress on this action plan.