In Nouakchott, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, on Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari urged authorities to prioritize youth development, with more seriousness and tangible ideas in encouraging skill acquisition while discouraging inactivity. This was announced in a statement released on Tuesday by Femi Adesina, Special Advisor to the President (Media & Publicity).
The President noted in a speech at the African Conference for Peace in 2023, that youth inactivity and exclusion from discussions of topics that will affect their lives and the future, portend danger for the continent, particularly in terms of religious fanaticism and extremism.
The President, who received the “Award for Strengthening Peace in Africa” from the Abu Dhabi Peace Forum, stated that it was important to instill tolerance and peace in educational institutions; especially among young people. “African leaders and decision makers should ensure that democratic principles and good governance form the basis for management of affairs in every country in Africa, noting that peace, security and good governance are inseparable.
“There is need also for African stakeholders, that is, the government, private sector and the Civil Society Organisations, to make concerted efforts to support existing mechanisms and initiatives to build strong and virile institutions that effectively support good governance which, inter alia, lead to the development and progress of our countries and continent.
“African leaders must reaffirm their commitment by demonstrating political will required for ownership of African Peace and Security Architecture and in the implementation of African Governance Architecture.”
He further said, “We must also adjust the effectiveness of the early warning system and conflict prevention and adopt policies aimed at resolving the crisis of de-radicalisation through continuous dialogues and negotiation’’.
President Buhari stated that concrete measures must be taken to limit and maybe prohibit the flow of Small Arms and Light Weapons as well as the influx of foreign fighters onto the African continent.
In order to find a practical African solution to the over ten-year-old instability in Libya that has made that country a safe haven for all types of weapons and foreign fighters, whose profound impacts stare all across the sub-regions and Africa. The President called for the imperatives of the next African Union Summit to take a holistic review of the challenges that continue to fester in Libya.
“Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies & Gentlemen, global terrorism, banditry and other trans-national crimes continue to pose enormous challenges not only to Africa but to global peace and security. These phenomena have become perennial threats to sustained economic development and growth.
“Nigeria and other regional bodies in Africa and the rest of the world are working assiduously to deal with these existential threats to the very existence of humanity. For us in Nigeria, we continue to engage bilaterally and multilaterally, to comprehensively win the war against the Boko Haram insurgency and other related terror groups through kinetic and non-kinetic approaches.
“When I assumed power in 2015, Boko Haram held about two thirds of Borno State, half of Yobe State, and a couple of Local Government Areas in Adamawa State, all in the North-East of Nigeria. We have been able to retrieve these swathes of territories by investing over a $1 billion dollars to acquire hard and soft ware weaponry from the US and other friendly countries to carry out sustained operations against insurgency since 2015.
“Our Armed Forces and those of our partners in the Multinational Joint Task Force (consisting of Chad, Niger, Cameroon, Benin Republic and Nigeria) continue to demonstrate great bravery while paying the ultimate price in securing our collective freedom. Despite the difficult times we face, we continue to spend very scarce and lean resources to ensure that we have a well-resourced military force to take on this task. Ideally, these are resources that could be spent on Education, Healthcare, infrastructure and other social services, but without peace, we have learnt the hard way that our children cannot go to school or seek good healthcare,” the President stated.
In his address to the gathering of African leaders, President Buhari warned that the shrinking of Lake Chad had, had serious repercussions for the local population, who had lost their traditional means of subsistence. This, in turn, had led to the recruitment of young people by terrorist organizations as they looked for ways to survive in the face of challenging economic conditions.
The situation, according to him, caused significant instability and served as a litmus test for Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) member nations in coming up with solutions to restore the region’s livelihoods.