President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration has put in a lot of efforts to halt the advancement of Boko Haram in the country.
Buhari said this on Thursday while speaking at the 73rd African Parliamentary Union (APU) conference in Abuja.
The president said terrorism, armed banditry and organised crimes have continued to be a security challenge for African countries.
“I am delighted that the 41st Conference of Speakers, as part of its meeting, will be considering the role of parliaments in the fight against terrorism, armed gangs and organised crimes in Africa,” he said.
“Terrorism, armed banditry and organised crimes have continued to be a security challenge for member states of the African Union; the proliferation of arms aided by abuse of the ease of movement of persons across freer borders, which have been historically in place to encourage African unity, have contributed to acts of terrorism by groups like Al Shaabab, ISIS and Boko Haram.
“Here in Nigeria, we have done a lot to reverse the terror trend and halt the advancement of Boko Haram.
“We have in collaboration with our neighbours strengthened our armed forces to effectively confront terror groups and have also initiated programmes to address widespread poverty, which has been identified as a significant factor fueling unrest and boosting terror recruitments.”
Buhari said in spite of the progress that has been made by his administration, there is still the challenge of “armed invaders who ransack villages and small farming communities and commit terrible acts”.
He said: “We are also making progress in addressing this challenge.
“While I commend the actions of African governments in dealing with these evil groups, it is my strong belief that the APU will develop strategies to assist governments in confronting this menace and, as Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), I will be more than willing to fast track your resolutions for deliberation and adoption at the ECOWAS sub-region and the much larger African Union.”
The president expressed happiness that the promotion of girls’ education as a way to address early marriages would be the focus of the APU Committee of women parliamentarians.
“This is another subject that requires close attention and I assure you of the support and cooperation of the government of Nigeria,” he said.
“A few months back, four girls from a high school in Anambra State, in south-east of Nigeria, won the first prize for innovation at an international competition held in the United States of America.
“The success of these girls, some as young as 14, is a success for Africa as a whole, but more importantly, it is a demonstration of what can happen when the girl child is given the opportunity.”