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UN secretary-general: Military operations not enough to defeat terrorism in Nigeria

UN secretary-general: Military operations not enough to defeat terrorism in Nigeria
May 04
19:08 2022

Antonio Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations (UN), says military operations are not enough to defeat terrorism in Nigeria.

He said this on Wednesday while speaking with journalists after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.

According to him, there is a need to involve communities in strategies on fighting insurgency, in order to ensure that the causes of such attacks are addressed from the roots.

“It is simple. I saw it in Borno. If you fight terrorism just militarily, the terrorists will strike back. But if you fight terrorists militarily and address the root cause of this terrorism, terrorists will no longer have a chance to persist,” he said.

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“If the communities are able to defend themselves and they trust the regional government institutions, and if there are programmes to guarantee a full reintegration and to guarantee that victims have a future, then I think that we can defeat terrorism.”

While condoling with victims of attacks — including those affected by the recent killings in Plateau — Guterres said the UN remains committed to activities aimed at promoting peace in communities across the country.

“We are very active in support of the humanitarian efforts of the Nigerian government and that is why we have called for an additional $351 million as part of the overall $1.1 billion for the humanitarian response plan for Nigeria,” he said.

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“The spirit of hope amidst hardship and solidarity in struggle was also in the centre of my discussions with the Nigerian president today. We discussed the importance of laying the ground work to ensure peaceful and democratic elections next year and the full participation of Nigerian women and young people in all areas.

“We also discussed the government’s measures to address security challenges across the country. I want to extend my deepest condolences to the victims of the appalling attacks in Plateau state two and half weeks ago. It is a tragic reminder of terrorism scourge across West Africa and the Sahel.

“I thank President Buhari for his unwavering support for the Multinational Joint Task Force and the Lake Chad Basin Commission. We also discussed the other challenges that Nigeria is facing today. Nigeria is a pillar of continental and global cooperation and a steadfast part of the United Nations.

“From its vital support for peace keeping to its leadership in fighting for fairness in developing countries, to being home of my deputy secretary, Amina Mohammed, above all, Nigeria is a country where Africa’s promise and potential can come to vivid life.”

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On his visit to Borno on Monday, Guterres said he was impressed by the improvement recorded in terms of the hope portrayed by displaced persons.

“Despite all that they have seen and endured, the people I saw remain hopeful and committed to returning to their communities and resuming their lives. To that end, I welcome the establishment of the presidential committee on the repatriation, return and resettlement of displaced persons in the north-east,” he added.

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