How West Africa can defeat terrorism, banditry – Tinubu

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President Bola Tinubu emphasized on Thursday the imperative for West African nations to come together in combatting banditry, terrorism, and other criminal activities afflicting the region.

Tinubu made these remarks at the Presidential Villa in Abuja during a meeting with President Bassirou Diomaye Faye of Senegal. He stressed the need for a unified purpose and organizational framework in West Africa to adequately tackle the prevailing challenges faced by the region.

“We must defeat human trafficking; we must defeat terrorism, banditry, and poverty in our society. That must be our focus and commitment,” a statement by presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, quoted Tinubu as saying.

The President described Nigeria and Senegal as brotherly nations, recounting both countries’ long history of cooperation.

“We are brothers. We have a shared interest in democracy. To make democracy sustainable in the interest of our people, we definitely must work hard.

“I am glad that you are a shining example of patience, perseverance, and commitment to democratic values.

“We must partner to make our people the focus of our democratic commitment. Your belief in the sovereignty of Africa is shared by all of us. But how can we work for our people and make them the focus of our democracy if we are violating the rule of law and promoting an unconstitutional takeover of government?

“As the Chairman of ECOWAS, I am inviting you to collaborate and meet those other brothers. To persuade them to come back to the fold.

“We will continue to work together. We share good backgrounds, and we will continue to embrace and promote democratic governance. We must be able to partner and build the freedom we believe in – in economic growth, development, and other spheres of governance. It is left for us to provide assurance to our people and walk our talk.”

Tinubu urged leaders in the region to prioritize the welfare of the people in governance, asserting that democracy loses its essence when the populace is not at the forefront.

The President underscored the sanctity of democratic governance, democratic principles, and constitutional order, emphasizing their importance and the need for protection.

He also stressed the significance of upholding critical institutions and principles such as the judiciary and the rule of law for the preservation of democracy.

In response, President Faye recognized the shared values, ideals, and challenges between Nigeria and Senegal, highlighting the longstanding positive relations between the two nations since the 1960s.

“The good relations we have and the relations between our private sectors should be beneficial to our countries,” he said.

The Senegalese President advocated for the revival of the Nigeria-Senegal Joint Commission to enhance bilateral relations in diplomacy, trade, and various other domains.

Addressing the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Faye expressed confidence that with Tinubu’s wisdom and experience, relations among member states could be fortified and enhanced, contributing to the progress of the community.

“ECOWAS is the beacon of successful regional integration in Africa and globally. It is something we owe to the founding fathers of the community, and I have no doubt that you want to continue this legacy of integration. The union is going through a rough patch, but not everything is lost.

“I know I can rely on your wisdom and experience, as the leader of this great African nation, and the more recent example of Senegal; so that together, hand in hand, we can grow together, and that we can discuss with our brothers and convince them to come back into the fold. To come back and share our common democratic values and what we stand for.

“Your wisdom and your democratic values should be an asset to that vision, and my youth and determination can also be an asset. If we come together, with all these assets and advantages, I am convinced we can open a window of opportunity to discuss.

“United, we are stronger. Faced with common challenges, such as human trafficking, migrant smuggling, and all other challenges, we need to show resolve to confront these challenges so that economically we can thrive and satisfy the wishes of our people,” the Senegalese President said.