Terrorism: Buhari, Abe, Uhuru, others discuss response

•    Say resettlement of IDPs priority

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe and 34 other African leaders have opened the Sixth Tokyo International Cooperation for Africa (TICAD VI), in Nairobi, Kenya, with the first day addressing the efforts to roll back the negative effects of terrorism in Nigeria and other African countries.

In his remarks at the plenary session of the two-day summit on Saturday, Buhari spoke of the successes of his administration in degrading the Boko Haram terrorist organisation, noting that life was returning to normal in the areas the insurgents previously occupied.

He assured that Nigeria will diligently ensure full rehabilitation of victims of Boko Haram and find lasting solutions to combat threats of terrorism in the country.

President Buhari said with Boko Haram degraded, the reintegration of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country will receive immediate attention.

He acknowledged Japanese assistance through UNICEF in the rehabilitation of the victims and commended development partners for their work geared towards improving the lives of some two million IDPs in the country.

“The bottom line is that these problems are our primary responsibility. We must tackle them and find lasting solutions for ourselves,” he said.

President Buhari told the summit also being attended by chief executives of at least 80 major companies from Japan, that international cooperation with Nigeria was central in the decimation of Boko Haram terror group.

According to him, “I took over the mantle of leadership in Nigeria when the north-eastern part of the country was being ravaged by Boko Haram.

“However, soon after assumption of office, our administration with the support of our immediate neighbours – Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin and international partners including Japan, faced the challenge frontally.

“As I speak, the terror group has been decimated and life is beginning to return to normal in the affected region.

“The challenge we currently face, which is also being addressed, is that of the IDPs, which number over two million to get them reintegrated with their families and their original homes.”

The President noted that partnerships between Africa and Japan will help create and improve investment opportunities in industries, agriculture, information technology, science and technology among others for the good of the continent and investors from Japan.

He added: “In view of the challenges Africa is facing, the imperative for a viable partnership like the Tokyo International Conference on African Development cannot be over emphasised.

“Today, many countries in Africa, including the oil producing ones are wisely seeking to diversify their economies away from mono-cropping.

“In Nigeria, our administration has already taken concrete steps to diversify the economy by making agriculture not just a development programme but a thriving business.

“Investing in the economies of this continent especially through Public-Private-Partnership can contribute to building capacity for our economies.”

Speaking on global health issues, the major focal point of the summit, Buhari expressed appreciation to the government of Japan for its contribution of $800 million to the fight against malaria, tuberculosis among others.

The contribution is part of the $1.3 billion made available to the Nigerian health sector by the global fund.

In his opening address, Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, assured that whatever problems there were in Africa could be solved, pledging his country’s assistance.

“Whatever problems there are in Africa, they are quite there to be solved, period. And Japan is a country that ardently hopes to resolve the issues facing Africa together with Africa, and will not let up in its effects,” he said.

Abe pointed out that a stable Africa “is one that goes all out to bring peace and build the foundations for security.”

The host President, Uhuru Kenyatta, noted that even as the conference focused on economic issues, it realised that it takes security to achieve sustained growth.

He observed: “Terrorism in particular is threatening or even dismembering some states. Organisations practicing this illicit and savage form of violence are spreading themselves throughout the world.”

Kenyatta noted that no country or region was immune or different as the terrorists were exploiting open and democratic societies, adding that their negative impact on the economies were always severe.

“We must also ensure that global governing system response is robust to Africa security as it does to other parts of the world,” he said, adding that by coming together in partnership and mutual respect, the world will be more secure for the dreams of the people to be achieved.

The two-day summit with the theme ‘‘Advancing Africa’s Sustainable Development Agenda-TICAD Partnership for Prosperity,” is being held outside of Japan for the first time since its inception in 1993.