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Defence Minister at UN GCTF; seeks asset freeze, travel ban/expulsion for individuals, organizations supporting terrorism/violent extremism.

Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashir (rtd) has told the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, (GCTF) and representatives of member countries of the United Nations that imposing asset freeze, travel ban, expulsion among other measures is necessary to checkmate terrorism and other violent extremism in Nigeria and other affected countries.

He said terrorism threat in Nigeria and across the Sahel Africa is compounded by the global movement of foreign terrorist fighters.

Speaking as the Co-Chair of the Criminal Justice and Rule of Law Working Group on the sidelines of the 74th UN General Assembly meeting, the minister said, “The defeat of Daesh or so-called ISIS has dispersed thousands of its fighters whose clusters have now established cells in new locations in alliance with other terrorist groups, such as, Boko Haram (BHT) and Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP).

“We must review our administrative measures to complement other counter terrorism efforts – improved measures such as asset freeze, travel ban, expulsion orders and contact restrictions will be effective in dealing with individual consider at risk to national security, who may wish to move from one country to the other to commit violence.

“The problem calls for increased regional and international cooperation to support countries facing these challenges in dealing with the threat.

“In Nigeria, our overarching response to addressing these security challenges have been holistic through a whole of government and whole of society approach in addressing all the human development issues of national security.

“The Government is achieving this goal through its three cardinal objectives of addressing insecurity, economy and fighting corruption.

“On combating terrorism, our effort is driven by the Terrorism prevention Act, the National Counter Terrorism Strategy and the Policy Framework and Action Plan on preventing and countering violent extremism.

“We are strengthening our border security through multi agencies collaboration and exercises to curb transnational criminal activities.

Continuing the minister said, “As one among several countries faced with the threat of terrorism, Nigeria is always poised to partnering with global efforts such as this, where we can share ideas that would aid in countering the global menace of terrorism.

“Nigeria is pleased to be attending the Tenth Ministerial Plenary Meeting and we deeply acknowledge the important work being accomplished through these meetings over the years.

“As Co-Chair of the Criminal Justice and Rule of Law Working Group, I wish to state with satisfaction that Nigeria and Switzerland have had a formidable partnership in advancing the objectives of the Forum.

“Nigeria and Switzerland alongside International Centre for Counter Terrorism (ICCT) in The Hague, have been able to develop the Abuja Recommendations on the Collection, Use and Sharing of Evidence for Purposes of Criminal Prosecution of Terrorist Suspects.

“The Co-chairs have also just concluded the Glion Memorandum on the Use of Rule of Law-based Administrative Measures in a Counter Terrorism Context which has just been adopted at this meeting.

“We believe that these documents are valuable addition to other GCTF good practices, which can help in the persecution of terrorist offenders based on admissible evidences and in dealing with an individual considered to be a risk for national security when there is not enough evidence to open criminal proceedings.

“We have also strengthened our collaboration with our neighbouring countries of Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin under the Multi-national Joint Task Force (MJTF) fighting alongside our Armed Forces.

“Through these efforts, we have made significant gains in degrading the capacity of the BHTs. We have recaptured all territories held by the group in 2014 and liberated thousands of persons held against their will.

“Today, we are pleased to say no territory in the Federal Republic of Nigeria is held or controlled by Boko Haram Terrorist and its other faction.

“We are extremely grateful to the many countries that have stood with Nigeria to confront this threat and in particular, member states of this forum for their unalloyed support especially in sharing information and good practices.

“I will like to state that with the defeat of the so-called ISIS, international communities should be prepared to deal with fleeing terrorists who seek to infiltrate conflict zones as new safe havens. To this end, there is need for concerted efforts to restore stability in Libya whose crisis provided “safe-heaven” for Daesh, insurgents and other criminal groups.

“National governments must act decisively to address the structural factors associated with terrorism and violent extremism, like corruption, weak institutions, human rights abuses, and all forms of discriminations – political repression, ethnic and religious.

“These factors contribute to the vulnerabilities that can be exploited by returning terrorists and other criminal groups. We need to strengthen the collection, use and sharing of evidence – as we win in the battle field we must also work hard to bring terrorists to justice.”.

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