Nigeria will follow the regional cooperation model it used in dealing with the threat of Boko Haram to tackle the security threat posed by the escalating violence against farmers, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Osinbajo stated this today at the opening session of the extraordinary ministerial meeting of Ministers of Agriculture and Security in ECOWAS Member States, held at the ECOWAS Parliament, International Conference Centre, Abuja.
According to him, “we are seeing evidence that the competition for land and water is being complicated by the actions of criminal networks who are taking advantage of the proliferation of illegal weapons as well as our porous borders all across the West African sub-region.
“Clearly, the importance of regional cooperation, in border management, in law enforcement, and in identity management, cannot be overemphasized.”
He added: “Boko Haram is a spent and factionalised force, unable to challenge our territorial integrity, and is becoming less and less a threat across the sub-region. This is on account of the sub-regional cooperation that has been put in place.
“A similar approach is required, this time across the whole West Africa, regarding the security situation associated with transhumance migration.”
Prof. Osinbajo added that what was being experienced in Nigeria now and over the years “is the failure to fully follow and enforce the terms of the protocols of the sub-regional body.”
According to him, “In some cases, the failure to activate sections of the protocol so that where, for example, transhumance certificates are to be used and endorsed by medical or immigration officials, this has not been done. This has to change.”
He said that authorities in the sub-region must be able to track movement, ensure that ECOWAS protocols are complied with and also ensure that the relevant sections are activated.
“We must not allow the noble vision of the founding fathers, a vision of regional integration, to be derailed by a failure to comply with the safeguards and conditions that they, in their wisdom and foresight, embedded in these protocols,” He added.