From ANDREW OROLUA, Abuja
THE European Union delegation arrived Nigeria yesterday to finalise talks on the details of support the country needed to fight terrorism.
The EU Counter-Terrorism Co-ordinator, Mr. Gilles de Kerchave met with the Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Agbeja Obada in her office where the officials deliberated on the modality to be adopted in the assistance.
Exchanging courtesy before their closed door meeting, the Minister disclosed the areas where Nigeria needed assistance from the EU and explained how the discourse began in February this year.
“The area of need in term of training are the intelligence gathering, training anti/counter terrorism, training on arms/ammunition and improvised explosive devices, training on Improvised Explosive Devised disposal, counter improvised explosive devices training, and training on counter improvised explosive technology. These are the areas we need your assistance and we would discuss the modality to be adopted,’’ the minster said.
According to her, the Chief of Defence Staff had written a letter to the EU through the Ministry of Defence and through the Ministry of foreign Affairs which also detailed the training the military desires from the union.
Earlier, the EU Co-ordinator who was accompanied by some top EU diplomats in the country recalled his last two visits to the country on the same issue and wanted to know the area in which the EU should assist the country both on the Boko Haram assault and the ECOMOG Force that is about to storm Northern Mali to free her from the terrorists who have taken over the part of the country.
“I came here last November to discuss with your government the ways we would work together on counter terrorism and the way we could support your efforts. It is quite new for the Union to engage in counter terrorism. We are more active on the sub-section on treaties for engagement. We need to engage more and more,’’ he told the minister.
He said the EU was interested in how Nigeria was handling the terrorism and what challenges the country was facing. He said the union wanted to know the involvement of the Army in fighting the terrorists and how the union could help in training officers and men.
He disclosed that the counter-terrorism became imperative as an aftermath of the 1994 bombing of Madrid.
With the approval of the ECOMOG Force by the United Nations last week, the EU also promised to assist the Force in some areas that would hasting the restoration of peace in the strive-torn Mali.
From ANDREW OROLUA, Abuja