By Lazarus Zakaa, Abuja.
Nigeria and the United States of America on Tuesday 10 November 2020, co-hosted a virtual meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. The Coordinators of the National Counter Terrorism of the two (2) countries co-chaired the meeting, which was attended by delegates from the 82-member global coalition drawn from Africa, America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The Africa Union , European Union ECOWAS and G5 Sahel were also represented among other international and regional organizations.
The Nigeria delegation led by the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (retired), represented by the Coordinator of the Nigeria Counter Terrorism Centre, Rear Admiral Yaminu E.M. Musa expressed Nigeria’s commitment to the global coalition against ISIS and other terrorist groups in the world. The Coordinator noted that the challenges of global terrorism has negatively impacted virtually every facet of human endeavor, including the economy, the polity, and the lives and livelihoods of people as apparent in the Sahel, the Lake Chad Basin and parts of the North-eastern Nigeria.
Also speaking during the opening session, Coordinator for Counterterrorism Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, who is also designated as Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, outlined the Coalition’s increasing focus on defeating ISIS’s global branches and affiliates. Ambassador Sales expressed his appreciation to the Nigerian delegation, for co-hosting the event.
The meeting deliberated on key issues including sessions on understanding and countering the ISIS threat. The session, moderated by U.S. Special Envoy for the Sahel Ambassador J. Peter Pham had panelists from Global Coalition members Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Niger, and co-host Nigeria providing key perspectives on evolution of ISIS affiliates and their troubling activities in West Africa. The panelists also provided useful ways the Global Coalition could enhance efforts to curb the expanding influence of ISIS in the West Africa and the Sahel. Discussions also centered on lessons learned from the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and reviewing of potential lines of efforts, including the use of battlefield evidence and border security measures and how these lessons and lines of efforts could be applied in West Africa and the Sahel.
Nigeria’s roles in the fight against terrorism in the sub region was applauded during the virtual meeting. Particularly, the non-kinetic efforts of the country in addressing drivers of violent extremism which has led to gradual return of normalcy in the affected states. The leading role of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari towards defeating terrorism in West Africa was equally commended.
The meeting noted that ISIS was undermining state authorities and peoples’ means of livelihood across the globe, particularly in Africa where more affiliates were springing up. It was stressed that terrorists across the globe exploit some drivers, including economic imbalance and marginalization among other local grievances to penetrate the local population for radicalization and recruitment. The meeting called for more measures to counter radicalization, recruitment of gullible individuals and concerted global efforts to defeat ISIS.
At end of the meeting, the co-host, Nigeria and USA as well as the 82-member global coalition reaffirmed full commitment to defeating ISIS and other terror groups including ISWAP and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Nigeria also expressed her readiness to seek for more support and partnership within the activities and mandate of the Global Coalition against ISIS to enhance its ongoing operations against terrorism in the NE and efforts in preventing and countering violent extremism in the country.