President Muhammadu Buhari has charged the West African leaders to stamp out terrorism in the sub-region at this point in time.
President Buhari gave the charge in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, in his speech at the Extraordinary Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government on Counter-Terrorism.
Buhari joined other ECOWAS leaders for the special one-day Summit, which was also attended by leaders of Chad and Mauritania.
The president, who called on ECOWAS leaders not to allow terrorist groups destabilise the region, said terrorism had become a major security threat across the globe.
“Our region has made commendable progress in the realization of its regional integration and we must not allow terrorist groups to destabilize our Community and undermine the aspirations of our people for a safe, secure and prosperous environment.
“It is, therefore, our collective responsibility not to let up but to win the fight against terrorism and stamp out the scourge from our region,” Buhari also said.
He warned, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media Media and Publicity Femi Adesina, that the activities of terrorist groups constituted a grave danger to peace and security in West Africa, the wider Sahel and the global community.
Speaking on the experience of Nigeria in fighting the scourge, the president said: “As a major victim of Boko Haram terrorist activities, Nigeria has remained resolute in efforts to combat and eradicate them in all their forms and manifestations.
“Our counter-terrorism strategy, which includes prevention, prosecution and reconstruction is also in full compliance with the Yamoussoukro counter-terrorism strategy adopted by ECOWAS Member States.
“In combating terrorism and addressing the resultant humanitarian crisis, through regional and international collaboration, ECOWAS, as a Regional Economic Cooperation, would need in partnership with the African Union, to galvanise international support and solidarity to combat and defeat this menace in our region.”
Buhari, who used the occasion to brief the regional leaders on the situation in the Lake Chad Basin and the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), described as tragic, the situation in Lake Chad Basin, historically a bastion of rich culture and civilization, an area abundant in natural resources providing livelihoods to tens of millions of people.
He said the area had become an abode for terrorist groups and extremists whose primitive intent was wanton destruction of lives of innocent citizens and property as well as public infrastructure.
The president said the achievements recorded so far by MNJTF in their operations remained an exemplary model of regional collaboration.