The British Government on Monday promised to give Nigeria more support in the fight against terrorism.
Britain will in 2016 increase the number of its personnel training the Nigerian Army from 130 to over 300.
The British Secretary of State for Defence, Rt. Hon Michael Fiallon spoke with State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said: “We discussed what we can do to help Nigeria to deal with this country’s insurgency. Britain and Nigeria have democracy, they are free people. Boko Haram and its way of life need to be defeated.
“So we have been discussing today what probably we can do to step up Nigeria in the area of full training on how to deal with improvised explosive devices … and what can be done to improve the intelligence you need to deal with terrorism.
“For this year, for example, we have about 130 military personnel here helping to train the Nigerian Army. Next year, more than double, more than 300 are coming to offer training and particularly to improve the Army’s resilience to IEDs obviously that have been left behind by Boko Haram.
On support for rehabilitation programme, he said: “Yes, we want to do more to help stabilize those areas once the terrorists have been driven out, that means sustaining them with not only rehabilitation but economic development, providing security for this place for them to go back to their villages, with the knowledge that they need to be protected and the infrastructure there to be repaired.”
Asked to speak on President Buhari’s response to his visit, he said: “Today’s visit is part of a series of visits, our Chief of Defence Staff was here recently, our Deputy National Security Adviser was here. And the President and I are aware both have to do with this kind of terrorism facing our countries.
“So he has welcomed our offer of support to help to clear the terrorists out of the North East of Nigeria. And we are going to be working together … as well as on wider issues of stabilization and economic development of these areas, providing long-term security.” He said
The Minister of Defence, Monsur Dan-Ali, said that there is increased cooperation between the two countries in the area of training.
He noted that the issue of IEDs is one of the most difficult areas in the fight against terrorism.
On whether terrorism has come to stay in Nigeria, he said: “No, no, no, remember in Afghanistan, Iraq, it took sometime. So we are on it and we are almost there.
Asked whether there would be extension of the defeat of Boko Haram beyond December deadline, he said: “Time line is for those in the military. We were time line in December, but December is not the end of the operation. It is a campaign. Campaign last for years, not dates.”