President Muhammadu Buhari is back to Nigeria after a 2-day visit to Cameroon.
President Buhari, before his return, got assurances from his Cameroonian counterpart, President Paul Biya, that the two countries would cooperate in dealing with the Boko Haram menace in spite of border lines.
Both Presidents also discussed strategies on how to improve trade relations.
President Buhari believes that insurgency must be tackled from all fronts as the wave of attacks spill into Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic.
He said, “We recognise that none of us can succeed alone, in order to win this war we need the collective efforts of each one of us, standing together as a formidable force for good to defeat and end these acts of terror against our people.”
The rule of law, peace, security and an independent judiciary have been identified as pillars upon which democracy and good governance can only thrive.
At the 2nd International Democracy and Good Governance Conference in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Tekena Tamuno and France’s former Minister of Foreign and European affairs, Dr Bernard Kouchner, stressed the need for the government to be more committed to securing lives and property.
Governor Chibuike Amaechi observed that the leadership of the nation must make conscious efforts in ensuring that these elements were put in place, as it would bring a stable and prosperous nation.
Prof. Tekena argued that “in some countries, there is a recognition that people will talk of ‘one man, one vote’ and stop there; that is not good enough” insisting that “it should be one man, one vote , one value” and noted that “in Nigeria, that is not true. We only have the same value for the rich and the poor in our country”.
He said: “I do know that Boko Haram are not democrats but they are a serious challenge to democracy as we know it and as we practice. I wonder if Nigerians have forgotten that before Boko Haram, there were militants in Nigeria. Still there is MASSOB, OPC and MEND,” he said.
The former vice chancellor asked if Nigerians were ready to redress the balance come 2015 so that the poor would not just be poor but relatively poor people with political power and their votes would count just like those of the wealthy people.
He further noted that the “prospects are not glorious and promising,” insisting that “making everybody subjective to the law in our country has become the rule of men and so you have the impotence of the judiciary in its confrontations with the executives”.
Dr Kouchner, in his remark, noted that “peace and security are number common good because it is the precondition of living in any habitat”.
“Millionaires can hire private security but ultimately, security is the number one function of the state and the government must be empowered and take responsibility to create and maintain peace and security,” Dr Kouchner said.
He noted that “one cannot deny that much has been made of democracy and democratic governance as prescribed by the concept of good governance”maintaining that some African states have adopted mechanisms that enable the political leaders achieve security and peace in the society.
“However many African nations have failed to make the full conditions as the working priority of leadership and government,” he said.
The ECOWAS parliament has pledged regional assistance to Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents and the rescue of the over 200 schoolgirls abducted from their dormitory in Chibok, Borno State.
Parliamentarians at the first ordinary session held in Abuja on Monday said destabilisation of Nigeria by the insurgents would mean destabilising and violating growth and development in West Africa.
They stressed the need for regional leaders to strengthen cooperation and mutual assistance to fight the insurgents threatening regional development.
The first ordinary session of the third legislature of the ECOWAS parliament was convened to consider and adopt the draft agenda and activity plan of the parliament towards tackling and resolving issues affecting the growth and development of the sub region.
Top on the agenda of the meeting was the issue of insecurity and a case in point, ‘the abduction of the Chibok girls’ and the threat of Boko Haram Insurgency to the growth and development of the sub region.
The speaker of the ECOWAS parliament, Mr Ike Ekweremmadu and the Vice President of Ghana, Kwesi Attah, stressed the need to tackle the insurgency in Nigeria before it spreads to other countries.
However, the Vice President of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Commission, Mcintosh Toga, pointed out that fighting the war against terrorist in the region could only be successful with a strong integration and coordination among countries in the sub-region.
“An attack on one is an attack on all and winning the fight against insurgency in Nigeria is winning a crucial fight against insecurity in the sub region,” the parliamentarians agreed.
The Borno State Commissioner of Police (CP), Tanko Lawan and the State Director of the Department of State Security, Ahmed Abdullahi, have confirmed that 276 students of the Government Girls Secondary School Chibok were actually abducted on April 14, by suspected Boko Haram militants.
Both men gave the confirmations at a joint news conference in Maiduguri, the state capital on Friday.
Mr Lawan said: “So far, we have established that no fewer than 276 girls were abducted at the Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS), Chibok on April 14, 2014 by suspected members of the Boko Haram Terrorist Group”.
The CP disclosed that; “out of the 276 abducted students of the school, 53 female students have been rescued; while 223 are still missing; and suspected being held by Boko Haram terrorists in various parts of the state”.
He disclosed that the new collated figures were arrived at after series of investigations by the police, SSS, the Nigerian Army and from information gathered from parents and relatives of the abducted girls, community leaders, officials of the schools as well as local government authorities and the Borno State government.
“It is really difficult to say the actual number of girls that were abducted because; students from other secondary schools within the catchment area were deployed to GGSS Chibok for their final year examinations due to the peculiar security challenges in Borno State,” the state police chief explained.
The students, he revealed, were drawn from schools at Izge, Lassa, Ashigashiya and Warabe, stressing that it is for that reason that there were differences in the numbers of girls abducted by the sect members in earlier reports released after the unfortunate incident,
The commissioner said special telephone numbers had been designated for parents and well-meaning Nigerians to call and give useful information that would lead to the rescue of the girls.
The numbers, according to him, are +2348075897377; +23481777309 and +2348036121490.
The CP also said there were serious collaboration between various security agencies at all levels towards rescuing the girls and urged the people to assist security operatives with useful information that would lead to the rescue of the innocent girls.