“We have to understand why so many people are joining terrorism. We have to convey two messages: Your government will provide security for you. Your government will provide opportunities for you.”
These were the words of 40-year old France President, Emmanuel Macron, during his visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House on Tuesday.
Macron said this via his verified twitter handle, hours after his meeting with Buhari.
We have to understand why so many people are joining terrorism. We have to convey 2 messages:
– Your government will provide security for you.
– Your government will provide opportunities for you. pic.twitter.com/eOyvi16E9P
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) July 3, 2018
The two leaders’ discussion centred on security, especially with regards G5S colonies (Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso), and how to improve security in the Sahel region.They also discussed economic issues and the Inter Basin Water Transfer for Lake Chad.
Speaking during a press conference after the meeting, Macron made it clear that though France will maintain its presence in some of the African countries plagued by terrorism, the country cannot unilaterally solve the problem of terrorism in Africa.
He called on African leaders to work in synergy and come up with an “African plan” that will effectively root out terrorism in the continent.
“What is important to me is how different African governments organize themselves to fight against terrorism and get rid of these people and especially Jihadists,”Macron said.
“That’s why I do accompany and do promote the G5/Sahel Initiatives and I think as far as we are concerned, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon are very important to the fight against Boko Haram.”
“I think the main plan is an African plan and France is not the one to solve or fix African situations.
“So what we want to do is that we will intervene and maintain our presence in Africa and Sahel to fight against terrorism especially in Mali and in the region. And we will stay as long as it is requested by our friends, especially Mali.”
Nigeria is considered the country with the highest number of out-of-school children in the world and many say these children become easy recruits for religious extremists.
In northern Nigeria – where the Boko Haram crisis is worse felt – the Almajiri Islamic education system has been described by many as the breeding ground for religious extremists.
The mother of Abubakar Shekau, Leader of Boko Haram, told the Voice of America in an interview, that Shekau had left home as a child to become an almajiri in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, under the tutelage of Mohammed Yusuf, the founder of Boko Haram. It was there that he was radicalised.
Yusuf preached an extreme version of Islam which views western education as a taboo, and after his the extrajudicial killing by the Nigerian police in 2009, Boko Haram, now led by Shekau, became extremely dangerous.
The group has killed over 100,000 people and displaced more than two million others, according to the Borno State government.