EU Discourse: Sahel Situation And Implication
It is unfortunate that the Sahel Region is confronted with many complex and interconnected challenges ranging from fragile economies, food and environmental crisis, insecurity and political instability.
This remark was made by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence while receiving in audience the European Union Special Representative for the Sahel, Ambassador Angel Losada Fernandez and his delegate in his office, in Abuja.
He also observed that Mali is faced with similar problems as proliferation of small arms and human trafficking, infiltration of some terrorist groups which exert great influence in region and spanning to Nigeria. Having observed this, Nigeria had initiated a Defence and Security agreement with Mali, basically to place a proper perspective of the kind of challenges both countries face.
Speaking further Amb. Sheni said that the two terrorist groups operating in Mali has historic links with Boko Haram group and considering closeness of Mali to Northern Nigeria, there is no guarantee that the insurgency in the North East of Nigeria cannot be separated from the events in Northern Mali. On this note, there is the need for a pragmatic defence and security cooperation between Mali and Nigeria, the region and the international community. Amb. Sheni however assured Amb. Fernandez that both countries are working towards the same purpose and direction, promising to look at the mandate while they also continue to exchange views on it.
Earlier in his speech, the European Union Representative Ambassador Angel Losada Fernandez said the purpose of their visit is to address the in-flow of the small arms and light weapons from Libya and other parts of the Sahel region into Nigeria with the aim of curtailing the excesses of terrorists, secondly to address the issue of the Lake Chad Basin as the receding of waters exacerbates difficulties in an area already at risk, and with one of the world's lowest human development indexes and thirdly to address the issue of human migration from Africa to the Europe along the Sahel region.
By Enefaa Bob-Manuel and Amaka Jeff