By Queenesther Iroanusi
President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration is making progress in addressing the challenge of terrorism, including by armed groups who invade villages and small farming communities and commit terrible acts including killing women and children.
He said this at the 73rd session of the African Parliamentary Union (APU) in Abuja on Thursday.
The president stated that terrorism, armed banditry and organised crimes have continued to be a security challenge for member states of the African Union.
He said the proliferation of arms aided by abuse of the ease of movement of persons across freer borders, has contributed to acts of terrorism by groups like Al Shaabab, ISIS and Boko Haram.
“Here in Nigeria, we have done a lot to reverse the terror trend and halt the advancement of Boko Haram. We have in collaboration with our neighbours strengthened our armed forces to effectively confront terror groups and have also initiated programmes to address widespread poverty, which has been identified as a significant factor fueling unrest and boosting terror recruitment.
“In spite of this progress, we are not unmindful of the remaining challenge of armed invaders who ransack villages and small farming communities and commit terrible acts including the cold-blooded murder of women and children. We are also making progress in addressing this challenge,” he said.
While commending the actions of African governments in dealing with these evil groups, he hoped that the APU will develop strategies to assist governments in confronting the menace as he pledged to fast track resolutions for deliberation and adoption at the ECOWAS sub-region and the much larger African Union.
Mr Buhari also referred to the recent trade and cooperation agreements signed between China and individual African countries which he said will hasten the efficiency of the business and investment climate in Africa.
He added that barriers that restrict ease of doing business and private sector growth must be addressed by legislation and hoped that resolutions will aid the efforts of African governments in developing a more robust private sector to attract necessary investments in Africa’s economy.
Advocating education of the girl child, Mr Buhari explained that it increases the probability of having more women innovators, entrepreneurs and Chief Executive Officers.
“Education should not be seen as a government programme only, but as a human right and a social imperative. Educating girls once again, I assure the APU of the desire of the government of Nigeria and others to consider your input on this subject with a view to improving the condition of the African girl-child,” he said.
The APU is a continental inter-parliamentary organisation aimed at bringing parliamentary institutions of all African states together as well as realising the objectives of the African Union for the establishment of lasting peace.
Today’s event, being hosted by Nigeria, is the 73rd session. It had in attendance the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, members of the Senate and House of Representatives as well as other top politicians and elites.