Nigeria will not be used as a staging post by any dissident to attack the Republic of Cameroon, the National Security Adviser, Major. General Mohammed Monguno (rtd) has declared.
Monguno spoke on Monday at the opening of the 6th session of Cameroon-Nigeria Trans-Border Security Committee Meeting.
He spoke amidst local and international outcry over the deportation by Nigeria of 47 Cameroonian Anglophone secessionist campaigners to Cameroon on 26 January.
Although the NSA did not address the issue, he said President Paul Biya and the entire people of Cameroon have the full backing of President Buhari in finding solution to the country’s internal cisis and will not be pawn in the hand of any group that may want to destabilize Cameroon.
“It is critical for me to re-emphasize that His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari assures you that we will take all the necessary measures within the ambit of the law to ensure that Nigeria’s territory is not used as a staging area to destabilize another friendly sovereign country”.
Maj. Gen Monguno said it is the hope and belief of Nigeria that Cameroon will emerge from the challenges it currently faces as a stronger and more united country where peace, justice and prosperity reign.
“I hereby assure you that there should be no doubt whatsoever, of Nigeria’s support for the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cameroon. I need not stress that the bond of friendship and unity between our two countries is strong and can never be broken”, he said.
He, however, advised and encourage the Cameroonian authorities to engage all aggrieved parties in a constructive manner to de-escalate tensions in the Anglophone regions and facilitate the return of Cameroonian refuges that have crossed the borders into Nigerian territory due to heightened tension and apprehension.
He said “it is also important to observe that Nigeria as a signatory to most of the United Nations international protocols on the Rights of Refugees and their humane treatment, strictly enforces these provisions, not only as an obligation, but without prejudice to the cordial relations between our two countries.
He said it is against this backdrop that the Abuja meeting is expected to exhaustively examine all these developments as well as build on the successes recorded so far in the actualization of peace and security along the common borders.
In carrying out the mandate of Presidents of both Nigeria and Cameroon especially in the area of sub-regional security, the Security Adviser acknowledged the close cooperation Nigeria continues to receive from Cameroon in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group and other transborder criminal elements.
To Cameroon, he said “your steadfast commitment and resolve has no doubt contributed significantly campaign and other security concerns in the sub-region.
“It is our collective efforts that have significantly degraded the terrorist group’s capability and ensured its inability to carry out well planned and wide scale coordinated attacks as was evident in the past. Therefore, this collective security framework must remain sacrosanct “.
He assured Cameroon that Nigeria will intensify the exchange of intelligence and military collaboration to counter any form of threat within the two borders.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim also appreciated the Cameroonian government for the support and partnership with Nigeria through contribution of troops to the Multinational Joint Task Force that is coordinated under the aegis of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin to defeat Boko Haram.
She as well commended the neighbouring country and her people for their hospitality towards Nigerians who had fled for safety in Cameroon.
She said Nigeria will reciprocate the kind gesture by providing appropriate humanitarian assistance to Cameroonian refugees in Cross River State. To further enhance the collaboration between the two countries, she suggested the development of a common institutions to facilitate peaceful co-existence along borderlines.
Leader of the Cameroonian delegation and Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Rene Emmanuel Sadi said previous meetings of the Committee had led to formulation of a lot of recommendations which helped in fighting Boko Haram terrorists.
He called for a re-assessment of strategies to counter new devices of the insurgents especially along the border areas of the two countries.
He stressed that there should be proper evaluation of recommendations made by previous meetings to project into the future.
He expressed optimism that the 6th meeting will fashion measures to be put in place to further secure lives and socio-economic development of nations along the common borders.
“We have a great task ahead of us but we have confidence in the experts from the two countries”, he said.