Yobe Killings: I’m Heavy-laden, Jonathan Tells World Leaders
konknaijaboy | On 28, Feb 2014
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday told world leaders that his heart was heavy-laden as the country celebrated its centenary because of the gruesome activities of the Boko Haram sect, the latest being the killing of about 43 junior secondary school students in Yobe State.
“But as I address you today, I have a heavy heart. Two days ago, terrorists invaded a secondary school and murdered innocent children in Yobe State, while they slept. The children, the hopes of their parents and the future leaders of our dear nation, had their hopes and dreams snuffed out, leaving behind grieving families, schoolmates, communities and a sad nation,” he stated.
Speaking at the centenary conference on human security, peace and development at the international Conference Centre, Abuja, yesterday, Jonathan told heads of states and presidents from other countries who attended the event that the terrorist activities perpetrated by the insurgents were neither Nigerian nor African.
Accordingly, the president urged his colleagues to strengthen “existing mechanisms for national and international conflict management, and create new avenues for cooperation within and between our peoples and our nations.
“Your excellencies and dear friends, I firmly share the view that if we stay focused and work together, we can make this 21st century the African century,” he added.
He also blamed the use of small arms and light weapons, which he said numbers up to 100 million in Africa, for this menace, saying it is a great threat to the collective human and national security.
According to him, the enemies of the country are faceless people who are being pushed by religious fanaticism, ethnicity and malicious propaganda.
He said: “Our prayers and thoughts are with their families at this difficult moment of loss. This gruesome and mindless act of savagery is not Nigerian. It is not African. Let me assure all Nigerians that we will spare no resource in bringing those murderers to justice.
“The enemies of the state today in Africa are often faceless, driven by religious extremism, ethnic mistrust and rivalries, and propagandas of hate. Their nefarious actions are not limited to any single country and no one is immune.”
The president lamented that terrorism, a global menace, had extended its tentacles to Africa and Nigeria, assuring that “in concert with our regional and global partners, we will continue to respond strategically and decisively to this scourge, and together with our people we shall end the killings and bring terrorism to an end”.
“The Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria is one of such condemnable acts of terror. We have continued to deploy human and military intelligence, in close collaboration with our partners, to bring an end to their nefarious activities.
“Greater regional cooperation in intelligence gathering and control of insurgents will ensure not only Nigeria’s security, but also the security of our neighbours,” he added.
On his part, British prime minister David Cameron, represented by Foreign Office minister for Africa Mark Simmonds, said the British government was ready to deepen its unique relationship with Nigeria by extending support to all areas.
According to him, Nigeria stands in a very good position to lead other African nations to a path of greatness if it is able to get its act right.
A good number of presidents and heads of governments, some represented, attended the event. They include the presidents of South Africa, Liberia, Angola, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mauritania,
Burkina Faso, Gambia, Kenya, Algeria, Burundi, Switzerland, Egypt, Israel and Germany.
Centenary Celebration: World Leaders Pay Glowing Tributes to Nigeria
Among the prominent dignitaries present was the former secretary-general of OAU, now AU, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, who said that security is critical to Africa’s development.
The communiqué stressed that “the battle against terrorism is a battle for democracy,’’ and called for greater cooperation in intelligence gathering and sharing.
It also said that the African leaders resolved to stem the proliferation of small arms and light weapons which aid terrorism and other trans-nationally transmitted organised crimes.
According to the communiqué, the participants of the conference lauded the efforts of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to deal with the menace of Boko Haram sect.
It said the leaders pledged their solidarity and support of their various countries in the war to deal with terrorism in Nigeria.
The communiqué stated that African leaders resolved to redouble their efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and culture in their respective countries especially through greater commitment to good governance, transparency and the rule of law.