Military victory over terrorism only sustainable through development, says Osinbajo
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday said the victories so far recorded against the Boko Haram terrorist group by the Nigerian military could only be sustained through effective development in the country.
Osinbajo, who was speaking during the 7th meeting of the Ministers of Defence of Member States of the Community of Sahel – Sahara States (CEN SAD), stressed the need for government to address issues of poverty that escalates conflicts.
Commending the defence ministers for choosing the theme for the meeting, which is, ‘Consolidating the Achievement of the Fight against Terrorism through Development Actions’, Osinbajo said that the theme is especially apt, as it focuses attention on the role of non-military components of the fight against terrorism and extremism.
His words, “if there is one thing we have learned from our experience fighting Boko Haram in Nigeria, it is that the battle is as much social and economic as it is a military one. It was Mr. Ban ki-Moon former UN Secretary General who said famously, that “bullets may stop terrorists, but only development, good governance and respect for human rights can prevent terrorism.
“I mentioned earlier this is not a battle for militaries and intelligence agencies alone. If it were there would be no serious cause for alarm.”This is a fight that cannot and will not be won without a collective and determined focus on all those elements that entrench poverty, want and conflict amongst the people of the Community, and that sow the seeds of the criminal exploitation and violence.
Speaking on the issues of migration, Professor Osinbajo said, “we are confronted by the serious challenge of keeping our young people at home, and providing them enough social and economic opportunities to deter them from falling for the false hopes of greener pastures as illegal migrants in distant countries.”
“Forced migration of people, particularly youths from member states of the Community to Europe through illegal, unregulated and highly risky routes, has lately become a serious, protracted and expanding global problem.”
That it is also big business for the powerful transnational criminal syndicates that organize it further complicates the problem.”Earlier the minister of Defence, Alhaji Mansur Dan Ali added that the federal government has already taken the initiative to sustain the gains of the victories of the fight of terrorism through, “checking the socio-economic and developmental conditions that allow terrorism to fester. The second is to manage the manifestations of terrorism and its associated impacts.”The third is to promote the de-escalation of terrorism by providing a safe route for the disarming, de-radicalisation and rehabilitation of repentant terrorists.”
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