Abuja — The National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), has assured the Cameroonian authorities that the Nigeria will not be used as a staging post or harbour the Anglophone separatists seeking independent country called Ambazoonia.
Monguno gave the assurances yesterday in Abuja at the sixth session of the Nigeria-Cameroon Trans-Border Security Committee aimed at addressing emerging trans-border security issues confronting the two countries.
He said Nigeria believes in the unity of Cameroon and would do everything within its power to ensure through intensifying the exchange of intelligence and military collaboration to counter mutual security threats.
The NSA lauded the Cameroonian support to Nigeria's counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations against in the North-east of the country.
To this end, Monguno emphasised President Muhammadu Buhari's mandate that Nigeria reciprocates to ensure that the territorial integrity of her Central African neighbour is preserved.
He said: "In carrying out the mandate of our two presidents, especially in the area of sub-regional security, I wish to acknowledge and appreciate the close cooperation Nigeria continues to receive from Cameroon in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group and other trans-border criminal elements.
"It is thus important to emphatically state that it is our collective efforts that have significantly degraded the terrorist group's capability and ensured its inability to carry out well planned and wide scale coordinated attacks as was evident in the past. Therefore, this collective framework must remain sacrosanct.
"Meanwhile, Nigeria wishes to reassure the Cameroonian authorities that we will intensify the exchange of intelligence and military collaboration to counter any form of threat within our two borders. This is because in today's world, the reality is that most transnational security challenges can only be addressed through collective action. It is on these grounds that I assure you that there should be doubt whatsoever, of Nigeria's support for the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cameroon. I need not stress that the bond of friendship and unity between our two countries is strong and can never be broken.
"At this juncture, it is critical for me to re-amphasise that President Buhari assures you that we will take all the necessary measures within the ambit of the law to ensure that Nigeria's territory is not used as a staging area to destabilise another friendly sovereign country. This is because we expect people who visit or reside in this country to play by our rules in the interest of peace and security," he stated.
Monguno however, encouraged the Cameroonian authorities to engage "all aggrieved parties in a constructive manner to de-escalate tensions in the Anglophone regions and facilitate the return of Cameroonian refugees that have crossed the borders into Nigerian territory due to heightened tension and apprehension."
He emphasised that Nigeria, as a signatory to most United Nations international protocols on the Rights of Refugees and their humane treatment, strictly enforces these provisions, not only as an obligation, but without prejudice to the cordial relations between the two countries.
In the same vein, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Khadija Abba Bukar Ibrahim, said the security situation around the common borders requires sincere and frank engagements between their governments and people.
She noted that the collaboration between the two countries has resulted in the decimation of the threat posed by the Boko Haram terrorists.
She however, lamented that the "recent challenges in the Anglophone speaking region of Cameroon has been unsettling, putting a strain on the peace, security and economic prosperity of the people in the region and deserve careful resolution."
Also speaking, the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation of the Republic of Cameroon, Rene Emmanuel Sadi, commended the security cooperation between the two countries, which he agreed has been responsible in degrading the Boko Haram terrorists.
Sadi said the recent successes recorded in the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations reflected the determination of Presidents Buhari and Paul Biya for Security and stability.
He went further to state that the current security realities within the contiguous border calls for revaluation of their joint security strategies.
Our agenda for the next two years, he said, would be influenced by the current security threats in our geopolitical space, which also calls for joint strategy.