President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged the African Parliamentary Union (APU) to develop strategies to assist governments to confront the menace of terrorism, armed banditry and other organised crimes that have continued to beset the member states of the African Union.
President Buhari who is the Chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) stated that the proliferation of arms aided by abuse of the ease of movement of persons across freer borders to encourage unity, has given rise to acts of terrorism by groups like Al Shaabab, ISIS and Boko Haram.
He spoke on Thursday while addressing the 73rd session of the Executive Committee and 41st Conference of Speakers of National Parliaments of the African Parliamentary Union which held in Abuja.
President Buhari said Nigeria had on its part, done a lot to reverse the terror trend and halt the advancement of Boko Haram in collaboration with neighboring countries. According to him, such collaboration had strengthened their armed forces as well as initiated programmes to address widespread poverty, which, he said, has been identified as a significant factor fueling unrest and boosting terror recruitment.
In spite of these progress, however, President Buhari said, “we are not unmindful of the remaining challenge of armed invaders who ransack villages and small farming communities and commit terrible acts including the cold-blooded murder of women and children.”
While expressing delight at the focus of promoting girls’ education as a way to address the menace of early marriage by the APU panel of Women Parliamentarians, President Buhari assured that Nigeria and others were ready to consider all input on the subject with a view to improving the condition of the African girl-child.
Further, the President noted that “Educating girls increases the probability of having more women innovators, entrepreneurs and Chief Executive Officers.”
He also expressed the willingness of his leadership of the regional body to fast track the adoption of the APU resolutions at the ECOWAS subregion and the much larger African Union.
President of the African Parliamentary Union, and Nigeria’s President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki stressed the need to share ideas, and to device new strategies of addressing challenges in the continent.
Saraki called on the African Parliamentarians to support the Executive arm of governments with strong legislations that would uplift the standard of living of the people.