Buhari Wants Global Military Actions Against ISIL, Boko Haram I thank Pre
sident Obama for organising this important meeting. The timing
is appropriate and the subject matter warrants our close attention. The
threats posed by ISIL in the Middle East, and violent extremism elsewhere,
are an existential danger to many States.
2. ISIL is a serious threat to international peace and security and
should be treated as such. There can be no half measures or expedient
solutions in dealing with terrorists and extremists.
3. They respect no laws, and have no regard to the sanctity of lives
and property. They operate outside law and must be seen for what they are
and dealt with appropriately.
4. Given that the acceptance process for recruits into the ranks of
ISIL involves rigorous vetting and screening as well as sponsorship known
as “tazkiya”; our expectation was that the demanding enlistment process
coupled with the legal framework instituted by the United Nations would
stem the tide of their flow. Apparently this is not yet happening.
5. The increase in violence and terrorism by ISIL and other groups has
enticed and emboldened insurgent groups in Africa to pledge allegiance to
gain local traction. The Boko Haram terrorist group, operating in the Lake
Chad Basin area, which is currently on the Al-Qaida sanctions list,
pledged its allegiance to ISIL in March 2015.
6. While we believe that Boko Haram action is an indication of the
weakening operational capability of the group, it could also suggest that
it was a strategic move to attract foreign fighters into its fold, and
obtain assistance from ISIL. Certainly, whatever the reason was for the
declaration of allegiance, one thing is certain: Boko Haram terrorist
group wants to be drawn into the centre stage of global terrorism.
7. This development has led not only to a shift in strategy,
but also to changes in ideology, recruitment and propaganda methods by
Boko Haram. Its recourse to mass executions and public beheadings in the
style of ISIL became notoriously widespread after the declaration of
8. We also note that sub-Saharan Africa has been receiving
special attention for purposes of radicalization and incitement. In the
April 2015 Edition of the IS magazine, “DABIQ” entitled ‘Shariah Alone
Will Rule Africa’ , Boko Haram was congratulated for “joining the caravan”
of jihad, saying that they would “now guard yet another frontier of the
Khilafah [caliphate]”. Boko Haram is neither protecting nor promoting
Islam. Islam is the religion of peace and does not advocate the killing of
9. Furthermore, capitalizing on historic ethnic tensions and
upheavals in Africa, ISIL is making vigorous recruitment campaigns and
strident efforts to expand into some communities in the Sahel region.
Indeed, ISIL operations have lent credence to the supposition that
terrorism and violent extremism are the two sides of the same coin.
10. Nigeria notes with satisfaction the efforts of the United
Nations and the rest of the international community to contain ISIL. We
certainly need to do more. We need to take military action combined with
effective border security, intelligence collection and sharing, and
vigorous policing action.
11. These alone may not suffice, but they can certainly stem the
tide and reverse the process of recruitment, movement and effective
operation of foreign terrorist fighters and their associated radical
extremists. In order to put in place the critical components of an
effective approach to countering ISIL and eventually defeating it, we must
address the threat from the source.
12. We must find a way to prevent young people from turning to
terror in the first place. And the young people that turn to violent
extremism do not exist in a vacuum – they are often part of communities
and families and are lured into the fold of barbaric and nihilistic
organizations, somehow, through a misguided appeal to their worst fears,
expectations and apparent frustrations.
13. While addressing the causes of this attraction and how to
deal with them, we should pay close attention to other manifest factors
that may not be tangible but can be crucial. Good governance, which
entails transparency, accountability and rule of law, remains the basis on
which we should kick-start the process of ridding the world of the menace
of terrorism and violent extremism.
14. The international community will be required to work together to
deter and disrupt illicit financial flows from nations with weak
anti–theft structures to other parts of the world.
15. Where such funds are identified, the victim State should be
assisted to recover them expeditiously. Mr Chairman, you have yourself
observed that “groups like al-Qa'ida and ISIL exploit the anger that
festers when people feel that injustice and corruption leave them with no
chance of improving their lives.”
16. Member States need to address local socio-economic
grievances by formulating policies that would ensure broad-based
transformation through job creation, equalization of opportunities and
expanding access to social services.
17. We in Africa need also rededicate ourselves to uphold the
mandate of the African Union Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and other good
governance initiatives that we have adopted in our region, to encourage
conformity with political, economic and corporate governance values.
18. The Secretary-General of the United Nations noted in
February 2015, we are facing the “the greatest test our human family faces
in the 21st century”. Thus, all options must be explored and all hands
must be on deck in the quest for a durable and a lasting panacea to the
threat posed by ISIL, Al-Qaida, Boko Haram and the like.
Thank you for your attention.
President Mohammadu Buhari
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