The Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter- Terrorism (UNOCT), Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, has concluded a week-long high-level visit to Nigeria.
During his visit which ended on Tuesday, Voronkov held a series of high-level bilateral meetings with the President of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar; Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar; National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu; Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; Chief of Army Staff, Major General Taoreed Lagbaja; Kayode Egbetokun, Inspector- General of Police and President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)Commission, Omar Alieu Touray.
According to a statement by UNOCT, the visit was marked by fruitful discussions centred on enhancing cooperation on countering terrorism and violent extremism in Africa and advancing preparations for an upcoming African Counter-Terrorism Summit (“Abuja Summit”) planned in Abuja in 2024.
The statement revealed that the Abuja Summit will be organized under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary-General and the President of Nigeria. It will provide a forum for Member States, International and Regional organisations and Civil Society to review the terrorism landscape in Africa and agree on concrete priorities and measures to address this scourge in a comprehensive manner. A pre-Summit ministerial meeting will take place on 21 September on the margins of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly High-Level Week.
During the high-level visit, Voronkov signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Government, met with Nigerian Youth leaders and took part in a wreath-laying ceremony with Nigeria’s First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu to honour the memory of 23 United Nations staff and civilians who died in the 2011 terrorist attack on the UN House in Abuja.
Voronkov also travelled to Maiduguri, Borno State, to see first-hand the impact of terrorism on the local population and the international community’s support in its rehabilitation and reintegration processes, as well as to raise international awareness about the persistent insecurity in the Lake Chad region.
In Maiduguri, he visited the Bulumkutu transit center, a UN-supported reintegration centre for women and children formerly associated with armed groups and the Joint Investigation Centre, a multi-agency hub for screening and investigating individuals detained during counter-terrorism operations in the North East and onward referral for prosecution or rehabilitation and reintegration.
Voronkov, while in Maiduguri, emphasized that UNOCT, through its Global Programme on Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (PRR), will continue to support Borno State and Nigeria in these efforts.
The Under-Secretary-General and his UNOCT delegation return to New York from Abuja on Tuesday.