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5 nations to contribute 5 battalions to fight Boko Haram

21 May 2014, 06:35

Abuja - Nigeria, Republic of Benin, Cameroon, Niger and Chad will contribute one battalion of troops each to the international force set up to combat Boko Haram and other insurgent groups.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, made this known when he briefed newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday.

Abati spoke on more measures taken to strengthen fight against terrorism in the sub-region.

He said the decision to contribute the additional five battalions of troop to the international force was reached at the regional Summit on Security held in Paris, France, last Saturday.

The media recalled the summit was convened by President Francois Hollande of France to fashion ways to deal with the Boko Haram terrorist group.

Abati said that France, United States of America and the United Kingdom would extend technical assistance to assist the international force set up to patrol the five nations' border areas.

“Nigeria and other countries in the sub-region will continue to cooperate and coordinate efforts to combat the Boko Haram menace.”

“The countries will come together to put in place an effective border management regime.”

“No effort will be spared to stop the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and the supply of arms and equipment made available to terrorists,” he said.

Abati noted that Jonathan considered the measures very useful aspects of the concerted international effort to combat terrorism and put an end to the Boko Haram menace.

He also said that the president had directed relevant government agencies to ensure enhanced implementation of relief programmes in the areas affected by Boko Haram atrocities.

The media adviser said the president specifically directed National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to intensify ongoing relief assistance programmes in partnership with donor agencies.

He said NEMA should ensure rapid deployment of relief assistance to the affected local government areas and communities.

The relief assistance, according to the president, will include the provision of food, medical, basic relief commodities, and conditional cash transfer programmes for affected households.

The president, he said, also directed the assessment of the extent of damage to public and private infrastructure, amongst others. ?

Abati said Jonathan assured that every necessary measure would be taken to find the school girls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists from Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, Borno, on April 14.

He added that the president reiterated his administration's determination to ensure the safety and security of schools in Borno and other parts of the country.

Abati said Jonathan further assured that government would provide counselling services to any affected students to enable them return to school and continue with their academic work.

He said the president assured that the Federal Government would rebuild the Chibok School and fortify security in other schools.

“In collaboration with the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Education, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the private sector, the government will launch the `Safe Schools Initiative.”

“This will address security issues, rebuild the destroyed schools and provide equipment and materials,” Abati quoted the president as saying.

He said Jonathan expressed appreciation to the international community on the efforts at assisting on security situation in Nigeria and in particular the regional summit hosted by Hollande.

-    NAN

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