The Nigerian Federal Government has stated that the Indigenous People of Biafra, also known as IPOB, intends to form alliances with secessionist groups in Cameroon in order to destabilise both countries.
Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), the National Security Adviser, stated this during the opening ceremony of the 8th session of the Nigeria-Cameroon Trans-Border Security Committee meeting at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja on August 24.
Monguno stated unequivocally that Nigeria’s territory will never be used as a “haven or staging area” by secessionists seeking to destabilise another friendly sovereign country.
He promised that Nigeria and Cameroon will work closely together to combat any real or perceived attempts by secessionist groups in Nigeria and Cameroon to form alliances.
“We will continue to support the Cameroonian authorities’ efforts by engaging all aggrieved parties to de-escalate security concerns in the country’s northwestern and southwest regions,” Monguno said.
“A new source of concern is secessionist groups in Nigeria forming alliances with secessionist groups in Cameroon in order to destabilise both countries.” Let me reiterate what I said in my opening remarks at the 6th Session in 2019: President Muhammadu Buhari assures you that Nigerian territory will never be used as a safe haven or staging area by secessionists seeking to destabilise another friendly sovereign country.
“In addition, we will work closely together to ensure that any real or perceived attempts by secessionist groups in Nigeria and Cameroon to form alliances are decisively dealt with.” Furthermore, we will continue to support the Cameroonian authorities’ efforts to de-escalate security concerns in the country’s northwestern and southwest regions by engaging all aggrieved parties.
“The threat of terrorism perpetrated by the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram terrorists remains the most pressing transnational security concern” (BHTs). Terrorist groups continue to take advantage of porous border areas to disrupt the lives of ordinary people in their communities.
“At this point, I am pleased to acknowledge that our two countries’ close counter-terrorism cooperation has significantly reduced the activities of these terrorists, as well as other forms of criminality.” You have consistently demonstrated your courage, resilience, commitment, and steadfastness in ensuring peace and stability along Cameroon’s and Nigeria’s border areas.
“However, it is critical to emphasise that the work of securing our territorial borders is a collective responsibility, and thus the importance of sideline meetings of the Governors of contiguous border States/Regions.” Their cooperation would undoubtedly help with cross-border security and development efforts.
“At the grassroot level, it is equally important to engage border communities and traditional/local authorities in translating the Governors’ forum’s decisions into concrete actions.” This can be accomplished by reactivating Local Bilateral Committees, which can also serve as platforms for the integration and revitalization of our historical and sociocultural ties.
“Under the auspices of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), our collective efforts to significantly reduce terrorist activities in the Lake Chad Basin are yielding positive results. As we see the gradual movement of some terrorist groups from the Maghreb to the Sahel in order to form alliances, we need to strengthen this multilateral platform in collaboration with our international partners.
“Nonetheless, we are also promoting series of developmental efforts in the North-Eastern part of the country to rehabilitate most of the isolated communities affected by the wanton destruction committed by terrorists.”
“Nigeria is one of Cameroon’s largest trading partners, despite security concerns along some of the trading routes, such as from Maiduguri to Kousseri or Maroua; Jabbi Lamba to Garoua; and Enugu to Bamenda, among others,” Monguno said, reiterating the importance of expanding trade and investment to create a more viable and stable economy for “our people.” Our two Presidents have previously advocated for the development of these trans-boundary trade corridors, which would undoubtedly serve as platforms for the integration of the ECOWAS and ECCAS sub-regions.
“However, in order to accomplish this feat effectively, we must work together to combat smuggling of prohibited items and irregular migration, as well as other transnational organised crimes.” Meanwhile, the recent conferment of Cameroon’s top civilian award – Commander of the National Order of Valour – on Aliko Dangote, a Nigerian businessman, for his outstanding contribution to Cameroon’s infrastructural development through his cement plants, serves to strengthen this trade relationship.
“In addition, the newly constructed 1.5-kilometer two-lane bridge between Nigeria and Cameroon in the Ekot-Mfum border area of Cross River State is intended to improve cross-border security and strengthen relations between the two countries.”
“As a result, we must coordinate our efforts to address all current and emerging security threats that affect both countries.” This is because allowing such threats to thrive in our environment has serious and unintended consequences. This clearly demonstrates our Presidents’ shared commitment to maintaining peace and stability in our respective countries. I am confident that both countries will overcome similar and disparate security challenges, emerging stronger and more united.”
Mr. Atanga Nji Paul, Minister of the Republic of Cameroon’s Territorial Administration, declared Cameroon’s readiness to continue working with Nigeria to strengthen trans-border security along the two countries’ borders, citing a resurgence of attacks by Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorist groups, as well as secessionist agitations, kidnapping, and banditry.
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