The UN Africa Representative and former ECOWAS Chairman, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, stated this on Thursday when he paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazzau in Abuja.
Mr. Chambas pledged the full support and solidarity of the UN to Nigeria as it continues to engage the insurgents in a bloody battle in the Northeast.
The UN’s support for Nigeria is timely as it comes on the heels of a recent report that ranks Boko Haram as the world’s deadliest terrorist group ahead of ISIS.
According to Mr. Chambas: “UN has always appreciated the intrinsic link between peace and security on one hand and socioeconomic development. Where there is no peace and security and people cannot go about ordinary lives it is difficult to achieve sustained or sustainable goal and development.
“On the other hand, we also know that countries which stagnate economically and not able to provide for the basic requirement of their people, are also prone to insecurity and civil disturbance.
“So, this intrinsic link has always been very clear to us. We always seek to work with ministries in charge of maintenance of law and order towards ensuring peace and security, in this particular case, Ministry of Interior. But, by and large, we believe that in most countries, the nerve centre for ensuring the Rule of Law and law and order is Ministry of Interior.
“We will be very pleased and look forward to opportunities in which the UN system here in Nigeria and at large will have opportunity at different levels to be able to build fruitful cooperative relations with the Federal Ministry of Interior and its various agencies and departments.
“Nigeria has always had a special case in Africa, our sub-region and indeed the UN as a member of the Security Council. The military, police, Immigration, prison, among others, have had opportunity to serve international community and in particular the UN in various missions around the world. It is a relationship we cherish very much.
“We want to be in full solidarity and support of Nigeria at this particular time as it fights a vicious terrorist war against the group who has known no scruples to the extent to which they will extend their inhumane barbaric acts.
“The whole world in the last few days have witnessed the extent of international terrorism when Paris was hit in spite of all capabilities that a country like France assume it has but not enough to stop terrorism. This is a big fight and terrorism is an international phenomenon and the fight against terrorism should be an international one.
“I want to tell Nigeria that in that regard, the UN will fully mobilise and continue to support the efforts of Nigeria to fight Boko Haram terrorists and any other form of renegade behaviour that is likely to threaten to peace and quiet of Nigerian citizen”.
“We know the efforts that have been deployed in this fight and will like to continue to work with various law enforcement agencies and see what possibilities are there for cooperation, particularly in the area of training and counter terrorism”, he said.
In his response, the minister while appreciating the UN Africa representative for being the first to visit him in his new office, said: “We have security challenges. When we talk of security it is not just for the traditional sense. The security we are referring to is all encompassing human security.
“I have to also admit that without peace, there can never be development. Likewise, if there is no development, there can never be peace. These two concepts are like Siamese twins not only sharing the body but also the organs of the body. What it means is that peace and development must coexist.
“The responsibility of maintaining law and order is squarely on the shoulders of the agencies in this ministry. The military has the responsibility of defending the sovereignty of this country mainly against external aggressor but anything that has to do with the internal is your responsibility. We must take the issue of law and order very serious.
“The issue of transnational crime is the responsibility of the Immigration Service and Customs. If they can secure our borders, then, we will not be having the nightmare of arms proliferation, drug and human trafficking”.
Mr. Dambazzau noted that “This is precisely what has been happening across the borders. For the fact that there are cultural affinities among people at the border makes it even more challenging to us. But I believe that we must be up and doing”.