President Muhammadu Buhari has urged leaders to speak up against the violent extremism committed by deranged people in the name of Islam.
The President made the call at the opening of a security meeting hosted by King Abdullah II of Jordan, on Sunday in Aqaba, Jordan.
The Nigerian President said the call had become imperative in view of the fact that insurgents were able to attract members in their fold because of the insidious preaching of extremist clerics.
According to him, all nations, irrespective of religion should partner effectively in implementing national, regional and global action plans to counter violent extremism.
Buhari reiterated the commitment of Nigeria to playing a leading role in bringing together countries of the West African sub-region in a collective security arrangement.
He said that Nigeria was ready to share its experiences with a view to fashioning out comprehensive action plans in tackling the scourge of violent extremism in the region.
He, therefore, called for a stronger collaboration among the member countries of the Aqaba Initiatives to check violent extremism across the world.
The President noted that the joint regional collaboration under the auspices of the Multinational Joint Task Force, combined with the efforts of the Nigerian Armed Forces, had gone a long way to decimate the activities of extremists in the West African region.
Speaking to newsmen at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, said the participants agreed on a number of issues.
Onyeama said the meeting agreed to come up with concrete action plans that would change the narrative of violent extremism in the West African sub-region at a follow-up meeting to be hosted by Nigeria.
“And all countries have agreed that there will be follow-up meeting on developing a counter narrative and the way they want to go about is essentially to identify very intelligent Islamic scholars who will then be used to really put across and get across the truth teaching of Islam.
“So the Jordanians are very good in this and very well practiced in that and have some very well resource persons that they are willing to share with other countries. They are also to train scholars from other countries to be able to do that,’’ he said.
He said that the participants stressed the need for sharing of information among the member countries to counter violent extremism.
The Minister revealed that Buhari gave an overview of Nigeria’s experience with terrorism and the steps taken in tackling the menace.
He said: “The President talked about Nigeria’s experience and of course his latest initiatives including the 3-year Action Plan on countering violent extremely and all the initiatives that were launched.
“He talked about the Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Nigeria that had been directed to include in their work plan activities related to countering violent extremism and of course the presidential committee on North East that is set up and the reconstitution and rehabilitation programme also that is ongoing.
“He also briefed them on military situation in the North East and the nature of the conflict that is taking place in the region and of course he also talked about the humanitarian aspect of the challenges there.’’
Onyeama announced that there would be a follow-up meeting with intelligent community to look at the sharing of intelligence among the member countries.
The Minister said this would enable the members to share information and take preemptive measures against those foreign fighters coming out of the Arab world to engage in violent extremism and other atrocities in the region. (NAN)