2 April 2014

Nigeria: Remarks on peace and security by Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the 4th Africa-EU summit Brussels

Photo: Premium Times
President Goodluck Jonathan

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Brussells — 1. I thank our host for the warm hospitality extended to me and members of my delegation and for the excellent arrangements made for this Summit.

2. This Summit is taking place against the backdrop of significant Peace and Security challenges facing not only Africa but Europe and the rest of the world as well.

3. Considering their linkages, tackling the issue of Peace and Security calls for a holistic and integrated approach, as peace and development are two sides of the same coin.

4. Indeed, given the importance Nigeria attaches to the subject of peace and security in Africa, we organized a Summit on “Human Security, Peace and Development: An Agenda for the 21st Century” during our recent Centenary Celebrations. Over 20 Heads of State and Governments and Heads of International Organizations such as the United Nations, African Union, the European Union and the League of Arab States were in attendance.

5. The summit resolved, in part, that we must continue to strengthen existing mechanisms for national and international conflict management, and create new avenues for co-operation within and between our peoples and our nations.

6. Since the transformation of the OAU to AU in 2000, Africa has demonstrated sustained desire for the development of collective security arrangement among its member states and its Regional Economic Communities.

7. We have established a security management system and the codification of standards within Africa’s Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). This includes the Peace and Security Council, a Continental Early Warning System, the Panel of the Wise and the African Standby Force (ASF). As part of the efforts to bolster the governance architecture in the continent, we have recently added the Africa Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC).

8. In our resolve to check the new threat of piracy in some of our maritime boundaries and curb the menace of oil theft, we have subscribed to modalities and action plans to confront these challenges. These include the outcomes of the London Conference in 2012 on the situation in Somalia and the Yaoundé Summit on Maritime Safety and Security in the Gulf of Guinea in June, 2013.

9. In addition to these initiatives, we have organs within the AU with mandates to strengthen the Peace and Security Architecture. These include: The African Commission on Human and Peoples Right, the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights and the Pan-African Parliament.

10. The coming into force of the African Charter on Democracy, Election and Government as a legally binding instrument is a further re-affirmation of our collective resolve at outlawing unconstitutional change of Government in Africa. Notwithstanding these initiatives, new and emerging threats that necessitate concerted and holistic focus have emerged. These include political conflicts that threaten hard- won peace and democracies, and worse still, the phenomenon of piracy and terrorism.

11. In the face of these new threats and challenges, the Peace and Security Architecture needs to be strengthened and the African Standby Force needs to be fully operationalised.

12. We need to give stronger impetus to capacity – building and logistical support to boost Africa’s capability and preparedness to take pre-emptive steps to contain conflict situations, quell violence and deal with the scourges of terrorism.

13. There is need for renewed efforts to address the challenges at hand, in the context of our Partnership. The modest successes recorded in tackling the Peace and Security challenges confronting us notwithstanding, the fact remains that we may continue to fall short of the target of ridding Africa of conflicts if the nexus that exists between peace and development is not fully explored and developed.

14. Our approaches must therefore be integrated while simultaneously addressing the socio-political factors that push countries to conflict, with their attendant humanitarian and socio-economic consequences.

15. I cannot conclude this statement without expressing appreciation for the assistance the EU and other Development Partners have accorded Nigeria and other African countries in addressing the menace of local terror groups like Boko Haram in Nigeria and other groups operating in the Sahel region. We have always maintained that a terror attack on one nation is an attack on us all.

16. The weapons of choice of these terror groups are the Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). Of recent, they have acquired the rapid propelled grenades and even surface-to-air missiles. Where do they get these sophisticated weapons? The total value of what these terrorists possess as individuals, in terms of what they wear, where they live cannot buy an assault rifle. We all have the collective responsibility to un-earth their sponsors and supporters who are determined to destabilise Africa. We should hold them responsible and accountable for their actions.

17. The underlining principle of the theme of this Summit, with its emphasis on the importance of our collective investment in people, prosperity and peace, must remain our guiding vision as we confront the challenges of building a peaceful and prosperous Africa and Europe, under a vibrant partnership to the benefit of our people.

18. I thank you for your attention.

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