•Seeks EU’s support on terrorism, intel sharing, equipment
•Zulum converts Arabic school to institute to counter Boko Haram’s ideology
Kingsley Nwezeh and Michael Olugbode in Abuja
The Minister of Defence, Badaru Abubakar, yesterday, declared that dialogue with bandits in resolving the crime of armed banditry in Zamfara State and contiguous states was not an option.
Abubakar, who claimed many states explored the option and failed, however, urged the European Union (EU) to support the Nigeria’s fight against terrorism, intelligence sharing and equipment.
This was as the Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, has announced the conversion of Mustapha Umar Elkanemi Arabic (Teachers) College in Maiduguri to a specialised institute for teaching of Arabic and Islamic education that would counter the ideology of Boko Haram.
However, Abubakar spoke when he played host to the European Union (EU) delegation led by the Ambassador of the European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Samuela Isopi, at the Ministry’s headquarters, Ship House, in Abuja.
Badaru appealed to the EU delegation to support the federal government’s effort to dismantle the network of insurgency in the North-east and other emerging security threats across the country, further sought support in the area of intelligence sharing and equipment to end the lingering crisis.
Reiterating calls for international support, the Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle, said Nigeria needed the support of the EU in areas of personnel training and provision of modern and sophisticated equipment to fight the state of insecurity in the country.
“We need to be proactive and preventive in the fight against all forms of criminalities in Nigeria,” he said, noting that the European Union could render assistance, support and strengthen security agencies in the country by finding workable solutions.
Earlier, Isopi, said the EU was committed to ensuring that Nigeria overcame the issues of insecurity, banditry, kidnapping and terrorism.
She further stated that the EU was concerned with three main geographical areas, notably, the North-east and Lake Chad basin ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgents, the Niger Delta region, where government derives its revenue through oil and gas and maritime security.
She promised that the EU would deepen its military support to end insurgency in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Zulum, who announced the conversion of the Arabic College to a specialised institute, made the announcement while on inspection visit to the college, preparatory to the conversion.
The initiative was a response to the threat posed by Boko Haram, a militant group known for its violent campaign against education and its propagation of a radical and misguided interpretation of Islam.
When established, the new institute would be run in partnership with the Al-Azhar University in Cairo and would be producing students that would return to Borno’s 27 local government areas for preaching that would counter Boko Haram’s ideas.
His words: “We are here to examine the capacity of this school, in terms of human resources and the infrastructure with a view to converting it to be Al-Azhar Institute.”
He said when established, “we hope to ensure that each student after graduating from this school, can speak Arabic fluently and have a strong background in Islamic knowledge.
“Admission to this school will cut across the 27 LGAs so that they can go back and preach peace. We will do everything possible to avoid the reoccurrence of the experience we had in the last decade.”
To that extent, Zulum has directed the newly established Borno State Arabic and Tsangaya Education Board to take over the administration of all Tsangaya and Islamic Schools in the state.