Sunday, May 25, 2014 6:56 pm
Abuja – The African Heads of State and Government have set up a continental committee to propose modalities for defining a stronger framework for co-operation and partnership in dealing with terrorism.
The decision was taken on Saturday in Pretoria, South Africa at a high-level discussion on terrorism attended by President Goodluck Jonathan and his counterparts from other African countries.
In a press statement in Abuja on Sunday on the meeting, the Special Adviser to President Jonathan on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, listed the African leaders at the meeting.
He said the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, the Presidents of South Africa, Ghana, Congo, Kenya and Uganda, and the Speaker of the Parliament of Cote d’Ivoire were in attendance.
In the statement, Abati said members of the committee on terrorism in the continent were drawn from ministers from selected countries.
He said the minister would then work together under the leadership of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
Abati said the committee was to draw up a plan of actions to be tabled before the African Union (AU) Summit holding in Equatorial Guinea between June 25 and June 26.
“The other thing about this meeting is that again it puts the issue of terrorism in Nigeria and other African countries on the front burner.
“The AU has a plan of action for preventing and combating terrorism and the AU had in one of its resolutions indeed supported the idea of partnership and co-operation among African states.
“This is to ensure that they work together to combat terrorism and there is even an AU plan of action.
“But what has been done at that meeting is to further foreground all these existing instruments, conventions and protocols in the light of present realities and to see how African states can come together,” he said.
Abati said the decision was also a step forward in the efforts of the Jonathan administration to deal with the threat of terrorism in Nigeria, the region and the continent.
He added that it was a logical follow-up to the meeting in Paris which focused on security in Nigeria.
“What President Jonathan has been doing is to continue to mobilise both regional and national, as well as international efforts, to deal with this.
“This is to ensure that there is a comprehensive response to this challenge and that once and for all the threat of terrorism is dealt with,’’ the presidential spokesperson said.
Abati said the leaders recognised the fact that no single country could on its own deal with the challenges of terrorism in Africa.
“They acknowledged that it required a continental approach and the co-operation of all African states,” he said.
On the other leg of the trip, Abati said President Jonathan felicitated with Zuma who was inaugurated for a second term in office.
He said it was also an opportunity for Jonathan to rejoice with the South African government and its people on the successful conclusion of the last general elections in that country.
“Nigeria and South Africa are two friendly and brotherly countries with very strong bilateral relations in many areas, including trade and investment, diplomacy, immigration, customs, security issues, power and others.
“In the last three years, the relationship between both countries has even grown stronger and has also been helped by the personal good relationship between both President Jonathan and President Zuma,” the presidential spokesperson said.
Abati said Jonathan had since returned to the country after the inauguration.(NAN)