Nigeria, three others seal pact against Boko Haram
Nigeria and three of her neighbours, Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic, have sealed a security pact that will help to curtail the menace of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
THE PUNCH learnt the pact requires collaborating countries placing suspects in their respective domains under surveillance.
The partnering countries would also share intelligence reports, a top security source revealed to our correspondent on Monday.
The development came amidst revelations by the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, that his name is on the death list of Boko Haram.
Soyinka said he had intimated the security operatives about his name on the death list of Boko Haram and that the security operatives confirmed that his name was on the list of eminent Nigerians to be eliminated.
The Nobel laureate, however, said he was disappointed that the security agents were not doing anything about the development.
He made these revelations in an interview with The News magazine in its latest edition which went on sale on Monday.
“The reason for this programme (elimination) which I know is very much their third phase, is that those pushing this agenda know very well that this could be the last straw that will break the camel’s back. And they would rather this country broke up and possibly in an inferno than continue to accept the loss, even though temporal loss of power in this country. For these people, government is the only business around,” he said.
The Nobel laureate said he was not against dialogue but the Boko Haram sect did not make public its demands so that they could sit at a round table with government.
“I believe that one should not beg for existence. If the price of not coming to table is that you want to eliminate me, and you can do so, please do so. I am 77,” he was quoted to have said.
The security source, who intimated our correspondent with the facts of Nigeria’s pact with her neighbours, said, “As a follow-up to several meetings on terrorism, the four countries have mapped out ways of checking the militant sect.
“I cannot tell you everything because they are delicate security issues, but I can confirm that camps of the sects in Niger, Chad and Cameroun will be identified.
“There will be intelligence sharing, which will lead to a clampdown and arrest of members of the sect.”
The foreign ministers of West Africa at a conference on terrorism on January 24 had promised to intensify efforts aimed at curtailing the activities of terrorist groups, including Boko Haram.
At the conference held in Mauritania’s capital, Nouakchott, the Republic of Niger’s Foreign Minister, Mohamed Bazoum, said Boko Haram received training and weapons from Al-Qaeda’s North African wing.
Also, last Tuesday, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejika, had noted that the activities of Boko Haram were not limited to Nigeria.
Ihejirika said this while playing host to the House Committee on Internal Security, led by its Chairman, Mr. Aliu Gebi.
According to the Army boss, the fundamentalist Islamic group was a threat to the West African sub region.
Ihejirika said that the whole of West Africa was looking in the direction of Nigeria for a solution to the terror threat constituted by Boko Haram.
He said, “And we also note that we look beyond the confines of this country, the whole of the West African region is looking up to this country to find a solution to the menace of Boko Haram.
“It is no longer news that the Boko Haram issue is not limited to the confines of our borders. The earlier we act decisively, the better for the future of this nation.”
Our correspondents gathered that Nigeria stepped up efforts to seek the cooperation of her neigbours after the arrests of some non-Nigerian members of Boko Haram.
Nigeriens and Chadians were among the sect members arrested after the attack on Kano about two weeks ago.
“Also, some of the sect members were said to have been sighted in a Cameroonian town. All these necessitated the Federal Government’s move to seek the cooperation of her neighbours,” the source told our correspondent.
When contacted, an Assistant Director and spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ode Amedu-Ogbele, declined comment on the issue.
“This is not an issue I can comment on. You will have to send in your questions via e-mail for me to contact the relevant departments to get a response,” he said.