GHANA, Accra — Leaders from West African countries continue this week in a regional summit under the regional block Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to discuss the possibility of forming a united military force to fight Boko Haram.
Speaking to Reuters on Friday January 16, Ghana’s President John Mahama and chairman of the ECOWAS said the regional body would be seeking the support of the African Union in this endeavour.
“We are increasingly getting to the point where probably a regional or a multinational force is coming into consideration,” President Mahama told a news conference.
“Terrorism is like a cancer and if we don’t deal with it will keep going. It threatens everybody in the sub region. When it comes to terrorism nobody is too far or too near,” Reuters quoted the president as saying.
Boko Haram is currently the biggest security threat to Nigeria where the outlawed militia group has carried out several terrorist attacks recently crossing into Cameroon and Niger.
Following Boko Haram’s worst attack in Bago, Borno state where amnesty International estimated that 2000 people had been killed, Catholic Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama called for international support to help fight terrorism in Nigeria.
“We certainly need help to overcome this terrorist group because they seem to be expanding and growing more sophisticated in their approach,” the and they are claiming lives and displacing so many Nigerians,” the archbishop said.
Archbishop Kaigama urged the international community to show the same spirit of support they had shown following the recent terrorist attacks in France.
Further, many in West Africa have questioned the international community on their silence on Boko Haram. They see that while efforts are concentrating support for France, which only saw 16 victims, no conscious effort has been made to extend courtesy to the Nigerian problem.
This and other factors relating to the growing sophistication of Boko Haram has caused many to hold on to the belief that the U.S. and the EU may be supporting Boko Haram, in a effort to destabilize a growing Nigerian economy.
Nigeria overtook South Africa, which is still a minority white dominated economy, in 2014 to become the biggest economy on the continent. Many are afraid that Nigeria’s success may have attracted the interests of forces that intend to keep Africa as their backyard lawn for the supply of raw materials.
Most Leaders at the summit have expressed an interest in supplying Nigeria with a Peace Keeping Force to root out Boko Haram once and for all. At the same time, polls across the African continent suggest that strong suspicion is growing about European countries and the U.S. especially in their meddling with Africa’s advancement.