Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Bokoharam: Nigeria accepts Sri-Lanka security offer

Again, Boko Haram kills 24 ‘civilian JTF’ men in Borno

Okechukwu Onuegbu

Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro has said that Nigeria will not reject assistance or refuse countries like Sri-Lanka and other advanced friendly nations with vast experience in counter-terrorism and piracy from helping the nation out of its current predicament.  
He stressed that Nigeria needs the assistance of friendly nations to win the war against insurgency and sea piracy adding that Sri-Lanka battled terrorism for forty years before overcoming the challenge.
The minister made the remarks in Abuja on Tuesday during the visit of a high-level Sri-Lankan delegation led by Acting Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Neomal Perera. The delegation visited the Ministry of Defence to discuss how to strengthen bilateral relations and maritime cooperation between the two countries especially as it affects solving sea piracy and terrorism.
Obanikoro said that the team visited Nigeria at the most auspicious period and hoped that the nation would be able to tap from Sri-Lanka its wealth of experience to help bring Boko Haram insurgency to a quick end.
He said: "we have also gone through the period of civil war and overcome it. So, I have no doubt in my mind that this phase that we are going through today, that we are going to overcome it but my prayer is that it should not take as long as forty years to resolve."
Obanikoro pointed out that friends of Nigeria like Sri-Lanka and other nations that offered assistance to the country would ensure that the menace can be contained in a short time.
The minister noted the need for collaboration between the two countries describing it as a welcome development since the countries have common history and challenges in terms of development and nationhood.
Obanikoro stressed that piracy and terrorism are serious matters of national importance, recalling that Somalia which was once a tourist destination has become a failed state as a result of piracy even as he declared that Nigeria will never allow “the gulf of guinea to replace Somalia as the hot spot of piracy.”
Earlier, the leader of the Sri-Lankan delegation, Acting Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Neomal Perera told the minister that the government of Sri-Lanka was deeply concerned by the spate of violence and growing terror attacks perpetrated by the Boko Haram sect in parts of the country.
Perera said Sri-Lanka was ready to share its many years experience in counter-terrorism with Nigeria to enable the country defeat the insurgents.
He expressed Sri-Lanka’s condolences to the people and to the Federal Government over the loss of lives caused by kidnapping and indiscriminate bombings by Boko Haram saying his country seriously desire to help Nigeria because of the effects of terrorism on any country.
Perera said: "We in Sri-Lanka deeply have empathy and we assure you of our steadfast resolve in identifying with you in the scourge of terrorism. We are deeply concerned with this reappraisal incident."
He disclosed that already, the president of Sri-Lanka met recently with the leadership of Sri-Lanka Armed Forces and directed them to share with Nigeria the experience the country acquired in wiping out terrorism so that Nigeria can also used the same method to wriggle out of its current problems.
On sea piracy, Perera said: "With the proliferation of sea piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, the Government of Sri-Lanka wants to share the immense experience it gained in the India Ocean with Nigeria being the regional power in Africa, to enable it fight and defeat piracy.”



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