Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonisakin has disclosed that the country spent well over $2.6 billion in 2016 on tackling the humanitarian challenges brought about by the Boko Haram insurgency.
The defence chief was speaking in Washington, DC, United States, at the meeting of the ‘global coalition working to defeat ISIS’.
He noted that even after spending the huge sum, more needs arose as more territories were recovered from the terrorists.
“Many in this room joined us in Oslo, Norway just last February to show support with Nigeria,” he said, referring to a fundraising event held to cater for victims of violence in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin.
“Coalition is fundamental,” Olonisakin continued. “We, therefore, commend (US) Secretary (of State) Rex Tillerson and President Donald Trump for remaining committed to fighting the global enemy of us all – terrorism.”
The defence chief likened Iraq’s fight against the so called Islamic State, IS, terrorists with Nigeria’s war against Boko Haram.
“This meeting, therefore, will further strengthen our collective resolve and determination to destroy and defeat ISIS,” he said.
“To this end, Nigeria is prepared to work with the coalition in the pursuit of the first lines of efforts towards the realisation of the aims of the global coalition.”
Olonisakin commended the steady progress being recorded by government and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria by denying IS access to territories and closing up their supply routes.
He noted that as part of the objectives of the meeting, global leaders should consider the value of timely information sharing in addressing cross-border threats.
He also harped on the need for mobilisation of resources for partners in the conflict as well as coming up with innovative strategies to confront violent extremist organisations via the digital space or cyberspace.
Olonisakin further said: “Let me also add that this meeting is of great importance to Nigeria. This is because, Nigeria’s effort to defeat the Boko Haram terrorists is viewed as part of wider efforts to combat violent extremism globally especially, the defeat of ISIS.
“Nigeria is open and willing to adopt strategies from the coalition that could further enhance its success story.”
In his remarks, US secretary of state Rex Tillerson commended the attendance at the meeting, saying that it would send a strong signal that the world is united in the fight against terrorism.
He said; “When the forces of ISIS tune into their TVs and their computer monitors, they will see the strength of a combined 68 nations and organisations.
“Together, we share a resolve to deal ISIS a lasting defeat. Our coalition is united in stopping ISIS resurgence, halting its global ambitions and discrediting its ideological narrative.
“And we’re ready to grow stronger and stay aggressive in this battle.
President Trump, in his recent address to the joint session of Congress, made clear that it is the policy of the United States to demolish and destroy this barbaric terrorist organisation.”
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN reports that the meeting was attended by ministers of foreign affairs and senior leaders of the 68 countries of the global coalition working to defeat ISIS.
Also in attendance was the chargé d’affaires of the Nigerian embassy in Washington, Hakeem Balogun, as well as senior officials of the ministry of foreign affairs.