How Nigeria Can Benefit From China’s Global Security Initiative

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Nigeria and some other countries in the Sahel region are being ravaged by the activities of terrorist elements operating in ungoverned spaces for so many years. These security threats are mainly carried out by terrorists from Boko Haram and their allies from the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP).

In Nigeria, the activities of Boko Haram have mutated into a criminal franchise where bandits and kidnappers have turned the northern regions into domains of misery, death and destruction. More than 100,000 people have been killed and nearly 2.5 million people displaced in Nigeria since 2009.

Massive efforts against Boko Haram yielded successful results as its franchise as a national phenomenon was crippled, their supply lines dismantled and the financial structures and recruitment framework that supported it were nearly decimated until the situation in Libya changes all that.

The collapse of Muamar Gaddafi’s government in Libya in 2011 and the free flow of small arms and light weapons from the beleaguered North African country led to a resurgence of terrorism and accompanying banditry. Today, Nigeria and the other countries of the Sahel have fought this scourge, but the situation persists.

However, the recent proposal for a Global Security Initiative (GSI) by the Chinese government offers hope for a new dimension in the global quest to combat terrorism. The GSI was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in his speech at the annual Boao Forum held recently in Beijing, China. The move accentuated China’s well-thought-out global counter-terrorism strategy, which includes comprehensive economic and social development that will be supported by the Chinese government.

It is therefore on the basis of this proposal that Nigerian experts in international politics and security have urged the Nigerian federal government to take advantage of the Chinese initiative to reduce security threats throughout the country.

The Center for China Studies, an Abuja-based intellectual think tank, which hosted a roundtable on Wednesday in conjunction with the Chinese Embassy in Abuja, said the initiative deserves consideration and questioning given the confluence of factors fueling tensions and fueling growing security, including governance. and productive capacity deficits across the Sahel.

The GSI is part of broader development initiatives aimed at improving the economies of Nigeria and the Sahel region as well as the rest of the world. One area of ​​focus is the government’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which experts say could be used to rebuild economies battered by the impacts of climate change.

During the roundtable, the Director of the Centre, Mr. Charles Onunaiju, said that the BRI is an existing international framework that could help Nigeria and the countries of the Sahel recover from the retreat of Lake Chad, which can be done by mobilizing funds from the Initiative.

The roundtable aimed to propose solutions to the insecurity plaguing the northern regions of Nigeria due to the rapid retreat of the once vibrant Lake Chad, which had provided economic livelihoods to an estimated 40 million people.

Onunaiju explained that the framework includes cooperation between maritime, land, cyberspace and even air connectivity and air links.

He said, “I think Lake Chad is in the realm of maritime cooperation and we can engage the Belt and Road Initiative and the huge liquidity it has to tackle the challenge of Lake Chad.”

Onunaiju pointed to the availability of a range of Belt and Road projects already existing in the country, especially land-based projects such as railways and power plants, saying that “it’s all part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

He pointed out that under the Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese financial institutions are bringing a lot of funds to the table to support the issues.

He said, “I think we can leverage our commitment, we can leverage our goodwill and cooperation with China and solve the Lake Chad issue. Not only is it a security issue, it’s also a human security issue; it is a question of subsistence.

“So within the general framework of our engagement with China, covering cooperation in poverty reduction, infrastructure, construction, security, we can put the issue of Lake Chad on the table and I’m sure we can get a good listen.”

The Chief of the Political Section of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Nigeria, Mr. Du Sheng, in his remarks, highlighted the six core concepts of President Xi Jinping’s Global Security Initiative and how to implement them. work.

He also said that Nigeria and China can cooperate in the field of security bilaterally and multilaterally, adding that the two countries can use technology to combat the threat.

The theme of the event was: “The Global Security Initiative and implications for overcoming security challenges in the Sahel and Nigeria”.

One of the academics present at the event, Professor Udenta Udenta, in his presentation, said that governments’ policies should be knowledge-driven when it comes to the persistent problems of insecurity in the Sahel, adding that development sustainability is only possible with good governance.

“Governance must be consistent to gain the trust of the people. If the governance model becomes anti-people and non-progressive, there is no way development can thrive,” he said.

It is hoped that the Nigerian government will take advantage of its strong relationship with China to benefit from the GSI when implementation begins.

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