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Nigeria Keen to Replicate Kenya’s Tactics in Fighting Al Shabaab 0

Nairobi – Terrorism was at the centre of discussions during President Muhammadu Buhari’s three-day state visit to Kenya, where the two countries signed an agreement to tackle Islamist insurgencies together. Nigeria and Kenya have been battling insurgencies, with Kenya sending troops to Somalia five years ago to slow down Al Shabaab attacks while Nigeria has in the recent weeks made several gains against Boko Haram, which has killed thousands.

Now Nigeria says it wants to replicate Kenya’s tactics in fighting Al Shabaab.

“The Nigerian team is keen to learn the strategies Kenya has employed. They also aim at understand the counterterrorism measures in place, including understanding insurgency and how it operates,” Nigerian High Commissioner to Kenya, Akin Oyateru said.

Last year, Global Terrorism Index ranked Boko Haram as the deadliest terror organisation in the world, killing more than 6,000 people in its wave of terror in 2014 alone. The index also showed Kenya and Somalia as among the countries with the highest impact of terrorism on the continent, with the global economic cost of terrorism increasing by 61 per cent to $52.9 billion in 2014.

During the discussions, President Buhari said the extremist narrative should be tackled through counter-narrative that emphasises education, moderation and tolerance.

“The entire global community must work in a concerted manner, particularly in areas of sharing intelligence and pooling resources to confront the scourge. We must all remain resolute in the fight against terrorism,” Buhari said.

The two countries also agreed to promote trade ties, with President Uhuru Kenyatta pointing out that a series of high-level engagements in the past few years have provided an opportunity for enhanced engagement both at government and private-sector level.

“It is imperative that we maintain the momentum for the mutual benefit of our people and countries,” President Kenyatta said.

In July last year, the two countries concluded an agreement for the establishment of a Joint Commission for Co-operation in energy, agriculture, trade and tourism.

Judy Nemaisa, the deputy chief executive of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the joint business council was formed to diversify the benefits of both countries from trade.

“Nigeria focuses on oil production but over the past few years, they have been trying to diversify into agriculture and textile. We have had different engagements with them on these areas,” Ms Nemaisa said.

Since the signing of more than 17 agreements between the two countries in 2014, implementation has been the challenge, with no tools measuring progress on these agreements.

However, after the bilateral talks, the two countries have formed a unit that will co-ordinate trade interactions between them with Equity Bank chief executive James Mwangi leading the Kenyan unit, while Sami Dangote, the vice president of Dangote Group leads the Nigerian team.

The two teams will identify areas of mutual co-operation in horticulture, cotton, agro-processing, tea and tourism.

By Allan Olingo (The East African)

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