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Nigeria Signs Headquarters Agreement With The Regional Intelligence Fusion Unit

By Kennedy Onyegbado
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The Federal Government of Nigeria has again demonstrated her commitment to fighting extremism and terrorism in the African Region. This was underscored by the signing of Headquarters Agreement between the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Regional Intelligence Fusion Unit (RIFU) on Friday, 29th April, 2016.

It would be recalled that at the Paris Summit of 17th May, 2014, the Presidents of Nigeria, Benin Republic, Cameron, and Niger Republic agreed to set up Regional Intelligence Fusion Unit, with France, the United Kingdom and the United States as Strategic partners.

RIFU, as a regional international government organization, established by the intelligence services of member countries aims at sharing intelligence to combat security challenges facing the region.

No doubt, RIFU has since began operations in Abuja in 2014 with a temporal office on the margins of the MOU for the institutional framework signed in Yaounde, Cameron, but lacking Diplomatic status in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

However, for RIFU to enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities, it needs to enter into a Headquarters Agreement with Nigeria necessitating the need for the signing of Headquarters Agreement.

Signing the Agreement on behalf of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Honorable Minister for Foreign Affairs; Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama noted that signing an agreement to formerly establish the Headquarters for the Regional Intelligence Fusion Unit is a very important step in the fight against extremism and terrorism. According to Mr. Onyeama: “Beyond tactical military confrontation, one of the most important weapons we have in the fight against terrorism and insurgency worldwide is intelligence sharing”.

The Honorable Minister for Foreign Affairs further explained that after the signing of the Headquarters Agreement, the Ministry will continue the process by making a diplomatic privileges and immunities order which will eventually confer privileges and immunities on RIFU.

Responding, the Coordinator of RIFU; Mr. Dennis M. Paul expressed appreciation to the government and people of Nigeria for her contributions to RIFU, which according to him have been immeasurable. Noting the commitment of the organization towards a peaceful and secured region, Mr. Paul agreed that the need for intelligence sharing cannot be overemphasized.

The ceremony, which held at Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria had in attendance the Honorable Minister of State, senior management staff of the ministry and a delegation from the office of the NIA.