President Muhammadu Buhari approved on Saturday in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the recommendation on the establishment of an African standby force against terrorism.
He also called on leaders to muster the political will that would fuel synergy, improve intelligence gathering and bring more urgency to the fight against violent crime.
Garba Shehu, Media Assistant to the President, said in a statement on Saturday that the President said this during the 16th Special Session of the African Union Assembly on Terrorism and Violent Extremism in Africa. .
The president said resources meant for developing countries have been channeled into tackling violent crime, leaving many governments with fewer options to invest in people to achieve the goals of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Following the presentation of a report on terrorism and violent extremism in Africa at the meeting, Mr. Buhari highlighted four points on the recommendation for immediate action.
“In the West African region, we are working very hard through ECOWAS to combat terrorism.
“The Combined Joint Task Force in the Lake Chad region and the G5 in the Sahel have continued to degrade the insurgents by significantly reducing their ability to inflict harm on our citizens.
“Mr. President, these efforts must however be reinforced and complemented by the African Union, through the African Union Peace and Security Architecture.
“It is for this reason, Mr. President, that we subscribe to the main recommendations contained in your report. Some of the recommendations that we believe should be implemented immediately include;
“Increase troop levels in counter-terrorism situations and strengthen the intelligence capabilities of deployed troops, including improving operational cooperation of contingents in areas of operations;
“Ensure the readiness of the African Standby Force for an immediate response when a Member State is under terrorist threat;
“Strengthen the fight against cybercrime, money laundering, drug and arms trafficking, human trafficking and counterfeiting, which facilitate the financing of terrorism;
“Ensure that specialized institutions such as the African Center for the Study and Research on Terrorism and AFRIPOL have sufficient resources to enable them to carry out their mandate effectively,” he said.