Nigeria: Illicit Mining, External Funding Fueling Terrorism in Africa - Tinubu

22 April 2024

President Bola Tinubu has sounded the alarm over the inextricable link between illegal mining operations and the financing of terrorist activities across Africa.

Addressing regional leaders at a high-level counter-terrorism summit in Abuja, Tinubu urged the international community to take concrete actions to halt the in-flow of funds from outside the continent that enable such illicit activities.

"Those who think illegal mining has no connection with financing terrorism are sorely mistaken," Tinubu stated emphatically.

"The international community has both the moral and legal obligation to help in this cause, because it is outside money, not African money that fuels the illegal operations."

The Nigerian leader painted a grim picture of how proceeds from illegal mining of precious minerals and resources across Africa are being siphoned away to fund the nefarious agendas of terrorist groups.

He lamented that billions of dollars that could have been utilised by legitimate governments for public welfare are instead being diverted to purchase weapons and carry out acts of mayhem.

Tinubu highlighted the complex challenge facing the continent as it grapples with the evolving tactics employed by terrorist organisations to continuously finance and re-equip themselves.

He underscored the urgency of tackling this issue head-on, through international cooperation and strengthened regional mechanisms.

"We shall be knocking on this door of the international community to answer this call for justice, peace and fair play," Tinubu declared, signaling his intention to rally global support in curbing the illicit flow of funds from outside Africa that prop up illegal mining enterprises.

He also issued an impassioned call for regional cooperation and decisive action to combat the evolving menace of terrorism across Africa.

Tinubu urged fellow African leaders to forge a united front against the scourge that has claimed countless lives and stymied development.

"Terrorism snipes at the very fabric of the tranquil, prosperous and just societies we seek to build for ourselves and our children," Tinubu declared.

"Terror cannot co-exist in the same space as democracy and good governance, just as darkness and light cannot endure in the same room at the same time," the president declared.

He underscored the urgent need for a fully operational Regional Counter-Terrorism Centre to serve as a hub for intelligence sharing, operational coordination, and capacity building.

He also called for strengthening the existing structures like the Regional Intelligence Fusion Unit (RIFU) in Abuja, the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) in Algiers, and the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) in Addis Ababa.

The establishment of an African Union Ministerial Committee on Counter-Terrorism and progress toward a Regional Standby Force with a counter-terrorism mandate were among the priorities outlined by the Nigerian President.

He acknowledged the complexities involved, but stressed the importance of such mechanisms as deterrents against large-scale terrorist operations and the disruption of strategic resources.

On the domestic front, Tinubu highlighted Nigeria's efforts to bolster counter-terrorism capabilities through legislation like the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act and the establishment of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).

He commended the bravery and dedication of Nigerian security forces engaged in the fight against terrorism, often at great personal risk.

The summit also addressed the need to curb the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, with Tinubu emphasising that no single nation can tackle the issue alone.

He called for concerted regional efforts to strengthen arms control measures, enhance border security, and disrupt illicit trafficking networks fueling terrorism and organised crime.

As the host nation, Nigeria reinforced its commitment to safeguarding not only its own security, but also that of the wider region.

Tinubu urged his counterparts to seize the opportunity presented by the summit to move beyond rhetoric and work towards tangible results that would secure a future, free from the scourge of violent extremism.

"May we do everything that is required of us to defeat this challenge so that five, ten or twenty years from now, it is historians who will be meeting to discuss how today became a major turning point in the African continent's defeat of the terrorist scourge," he implored.

The two-day summit in Abuja has brought together leaders from across the continent to forge a united front against the rising threat of terrorism in Africa.

Key priorities include establishing a fully operational Regional Counter-Terrorism Centre, bolstering intelligence sharing, and addressing the root causes that enable extremism to take root, such as poverty and marginalisation.

AllAfrica publishes around 400 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.