Nigeria Holds Security, Investment Summit in Paris Tomorrow – THISDAY Newspapers
•State actors plot final onslaught against terrorists
•Bill to establish centre for control of arms scales second reading
Deji Elumoye in Paris and Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Nigeria will today hold an International Partnership Forum (NIPF), in Paris, capital of France, to accompany and strengthen Nigeria’s participation in a three-day Paris Peace Forum (PPF) starting tomorrow.
A release issued in Paris yesterday evening by the Media Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, stated that the one-day Forum holding at Shangri-La Hotel, would have the president deliver the keynote address at an event that brings together the Nigerian and French governments and private sectors in wide-ranging discussions focused on security, regional stability, trade and industrialisation.
In another development, War commanders, intelligence chiefs and heads of other security agencies, yesterday, met in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, to map out strategies on a grand offensive against terrorists still holding out in their enclaves in the North-east.
Also, an executive bill seeking to establish the National Centre for the Coordination and Control of the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons, yesterday, scaled Second Reading in the Senate.
However, the Summit in France, aimed to attract investment to Nigeria, and bridge existing infrastructure gaps, the statement stated.
Additionally, it would spotlight Nigeria’s immense trade and investment opportunities, reset false and distorted narratives about Nigeria, and shed light on the efforts, initiatives and successes achieved in both the public and the private sectors, as the country charted a trajectory of recovery from the COVID-19 induced global economic downturn.
Speakers and panelists at the NIPF, included top Nigerian and French government functionaries, ministers and heads of MDAs as well as Nigerian and French private sector operators.
Other participants included the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations (UN); Directors General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and French Development Agency; Presidents of the African Development Bank and African Export Import Bank; the French Minister of Foreign Trade and Economy; and the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Munguno (rtd).
However, on the planned onslaught against terrorist, already, some 17,000 terrorists had reportedly surrendered to troops with their families.
The meeting was the first enlarged inter-agencies roundtable on the counterinsurgency operations in the last five years.
The last time such a meeting was convened was under the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen Lucky Irabor, while he served as Theatre Commander between 2016 and 2017.
The 12-year insurgency has killed about 100,000 people including civilians, soldiers and other security personnel while $9.2 billion (N3.42 trillion) worth of property were destroyed in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
Those that attended the security meeting were the Theatre Commander, Operation Hadin Kai, Man Gen Christopher Musa; the Deputy Theatre Commander, Maj-Gen Ibrahim Jallo; Acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Nigerian Army, Maiduguri, Brig-Gen Abdul Wahab Eyitayo; the Maritime Component Commander, Cmdr. R M Shammah; the Theatre Logistics Component Commander, Brig-Gen. Emmanuel Akpan and other principal staff officers of the theatre.
Others were the Director, DSS, State Commandants of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp (NSCDC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), State Comptrollers of Customs, Immigration, Correctional Services and the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), leaders of Civilian JTF, vigilantes and hunters.
Speaking at the meeting, Musa, said the meeting was convened to consummate the synergy between the military and other security agencies in a renewed bid to end terrorism in the North-east.
“Today’s (yesterday) meeting is aimed at bringing all security stakeholders together to discuss matters of great importance on the security situation we are facing”, he said, stating that the massive surrender of terrorists, non-combatants and their families had hit 17, 000, and that the meeting was designed to chart a new course to strengthen the synergy among the military, police and other security agencies fighting the terrorists in Sambisa Forest and the Lake Chad region.
Meanwhile, the Executive bill seeking to establish the National Centre for the Coordination and Control of the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North).
Leading debate, Senator Abdullahi, said the centre, when established would, among others, coordinate and control the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria.
“Today, in this country, there is general insecurity as most parts of the country experience high level of crimes perpetrated using illicit arms. The UN estimates that about eight (8) million illegal arms are in circulation in West Africa and a substantial percentage of this numbers are in Nigeria.
“This has greatly fueled violent conflict as witnessed in the Niger Delta, Kidnapping in the South East, armed robbery pandemic in the South West, ethnic and religious violence in the North Central and above all, Boko Haram operation in the North East Zone.
“This ugly situation has plugged essential machineries needed to combat illegal importation of small Arms, Ammunition and light weapons from all ratification.
“It is quite obvious that the effects of illegal Arms and weapons of terror in Nigeria are self-explanatory and it calls for concerted effects by all and sundry to successfully fight against this illicit trade of illegal arms and weapons of terror.
“It is within this framework, that this Bill coming from the executive to combat illegal importation of small arms, Ammunition and light weapons into Nigeria,” he said.
Abdullahi explained that the responsibilities of the Centre, when established would include identifying the main routes of small arms, ammunitions and light weapons; formulating policies and guidelines for the eradication of the illegal importation and proliferation of small arms, ammunitions and light weapons into Nigeria; and training of corps towards the effective enforcement of the its mandate.
The bill, after scaling second reading, was however referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on National Security and Intelligence.
The Committee, chaired by Senator Ibrahim Gobir, was given four weeks to report back to the upper chamber.