Kofi Woods Off to Nigeria -To Participate In High-Level Counter-Terrorism Meeting

MONROVIA: Liberia’s National Security Adviser (NSA) of Liberia, Atty. Samuel Kofi Woods, has left the country for Abuja, Nigeria to represent the country at a High-Level Counter-Terrorism Meeting organized by the Office of the National Security Agency (NSA) of Nigeria and the Office of the UN Office on Counter-Terrorism in Abuja, Nigeria,

A dispatch from the Liberian Embassy in Nigeria says the purpose of the two-day meeting which lasts from on April 22 and 23, 2024 is to provide a platform for the robust and practical exchange of views on addressing the growing scourge of terrorism and violent extremism in Africa, and to also address critical conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, including armed conflict, porous borders, lack of rule of law, poor governance as well as socioeconomic challenges in Africa.

According to the dispatch, Mr. Woods told newsmen in an interview before the opening ceremony that Liberia benefits from participating in the meeting by “interacting and sharing experience to understand global threats of terrorism, especially in Africa.”

He added that “Liberia needs to update and consolidate its position and response concerning the latest information and approaches to Counter-Terrorism at the global, regional, and sub-regional levels.”

Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu who presented a Special Statement on Counter-Terrorism recommended that the existing counter-terrorism structures, such as the Regional Intelligence Fusion Unit (RIFU) in Abuja, the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) in Algiers, and the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) in Addis Ababa need to be strengthened, and also emphasized the importance of a regional standby force to tackle terrorism.

The Nigerian leader is mindful of the funding, legal, and logistical complexities that face the proper establishment of such a force, but added however that with a prudent and clearly defined mandate that accords with international law and respects national sovereignty, such a force can serve as a rapid deployment mechanism capable of swiftly responding to significant threats and bolstering the security of our region.

“Such a force can be a strong deterrent to large-scale and protracted terrorist operations and the capture, occupation, or disruption of strategic land and resources. We must continue to make careful yet meaningful progress toward this goal,” he emphasized.

Special remarks were made at the opening ceremony by the NSA of Nigeria, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, and his co-host, the Under Secretary General for the UN Office on Counter-Terrorism, Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Madam Amina Mohammed and the Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E. Mousa Farki Mahamat.

The Presidents of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, and the President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbe, responded with Goodwill Messages, following which the Chief Host, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, delivered special remarks on Counter-Terrorism.

For her part, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Madam Amina Mohammed, said that terrorism continues to threaten the achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

She named social exclusion, poverty, and climate change as the other factors underlying SDG progress. She urged the meeting to address these root causes of terrorism and pay attention to the causes of women and youth, whose pain and suffering as a result of terrorism must be addressed. She also disclosed that a Summit of the Future will held on the margins of this year’s General Assembly to fashion a new agenda for global peace.

The two-day meeting brought together diverse participants from 32 AU Member States’ Ministers and National Security Advisers, heads of African regional organizations, international partners, and heads of civil society organizations.

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