The Federal Government has said Nigerians are united in their resolve to defeat the Boko Haram terrorist group.
Former Under-Secretary, Regions and International Organisations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hussein Abdullahi, stated this while delivering Nigeria’s statement on ‘Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism’ at the UN headquarters, New York.
Mr Abdullahi, an ambassador, regretted that Nigeria was confronted with the challenge of terrorism as manifested in the brutality of Boko Haram activities against the population.
He said, however, the Nigerian Government introduced many measures to fight the terrorist group from different fronts and in compliance with human rights obligations in the fight against terrorism.
“In August, 2016 President Muhammadu Buhari launched the revised National Counter Terrorism Strategy, NACTEST, and urged Nigerians to team up to win the psychological battle against terrorism.
“The President called for multi-sectoral collaboration and urged all government establishments to cue into NACTEST for maximum achievements.
“The revised strategy was meant to confront the dynamism of the perpetrators and involve all stakeholders in the battle by encouraging Nigerians to unite against terror in spite of their religious, tribal and political leanings.
“Since the president’s launch of this revised National Counter Terrorism Strategy, Nigerians have equipped themselves psychologically to win the war against the terrorist group.
“The strategy succeeded in uniting Nigerians from all walks of life towards defeating Boko Haram.
“It also encourages religious leaders to use their various places of worship to enlighten their followers through change of mindset to embrace morality and love of God,” he said.
Mr Abdullahi said with the measures taken by Nigerians and the Federal Government in confronting the Boko Haram terrorist organisation head-on, their activities had been completely degraded.
“Nigerian forces have been able to clear Boko Haram out of many areas in the northeast by reclaiming territories captured by the organisation and restoring peace and stability in the affected states.
“Today, residents in the North-Eastern states now move about their daily businesses in relative safety,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria has trained and equipped the military forces in counterterrorism and counter-insurgency on subjects ranging from urban patrol to unarmed combat and humanitarian law.
The Nigerian envoy said the Special Forces of the Nigerian military had been training a mobile strike team of some officers of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps and the Nigerian Police.
“As additional measure, Nigeria has developed huge capacity for the prompt and timely prosecution of Boko Haram suspects.
“This has been made possible by the establishment of a Complex Case Group to specifically address all terrorist-related matters.
“The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force of the UN has successfully trained many government officials in the areas of human rights, rule of law and counter-terrorism,” he said.
The Nigerian official also said that there was a programme for de-radicalisation, rehabilitation, reorientation and re-integration for repentant Boko Haram suspects.
“In order to assist the victims of Boko Haram, government initiated a Victims Support Fund and the Presidential Initiative for the North East as well as the Safe Schools Initiative.
“These initiatives have facilitated the provision of humanitarian relief, socio-economic stabilisation and resettlement of persons displaced by the terror organization.
“It is remarkable to note that Nigeria has indeed recorded significant progress in the fight against terrorism through international cooperation from some friendly countries around the world,” Abdullahi said.
He pointed out the closer cooperation Nigeria enjoyed with its neighbours, Cameroon, Chad, Niger Republic and Benin Republic, within the framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission to form a Multinational Joint Task Force, MNJTF.
“Consistent with our faith in the need for a collective fight against terrorism, I like to re-affirm Nigeria’s commitment to work closely with all UN counter-terrorism entities.
“These include the United Nations Centre for Counter Terrorism as well as the Centre and the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force,” the envoy said.