President Buhari leads National Security team to Equatorial Guinea for joint maritime security talks

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has on Monday led the National Security team to Malabo for talks with President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea on further measures to protect the people and resources of the Niger Delta and Gulf of Guinea.

 The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, stated in a press release on Sunday that the conclusion and signing of an agreement by Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea for the establishment of a combined maritime policing and security patrol committee on Tuesday is expected to be the major outcome of Buhari’s talks with his host, according to Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

Both Presidents, according to Adesina, are also expected to discuss and agree on other collaborative measures to combat crimes such as piracy, crude oil theft, attacks on oil rigs, arms smuggling and human trafficking in the Gulf of Guinea.

Both leaders will also confer on the rescheduling of the joint summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) on additional cooperative measures to curb terrorism and violent extremism in West and Central Africa.
"The summit was to have been hosted by Equatorial Guinea last year, but was postponed because of Nigeria’s general elections.

"In accordance with the main focus and agenda of the trip, Buhari will be accompanied by the Minister of Defence, Brigadier-General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd); the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Babagana Monguno (rtd); and other senior security officials.

"The Nigerian leader is scheduled to return to Abuja on Tuesday," Adesina stated.
It would be recalled that in February, President Buhari said that his administration would partner with the 11-member ECCAS to rid Nigeria and her neighbours of the menace of the extremist Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram.

Speaking at the State House Abuja, Nigeria's Federal Capital Territory (FCT)   while receiving a message from President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, Buhari had said that he welcomed the effort to organise a joint meeting between ECCAS and ECOWAS with a view to coordinating their responses to the threat of terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin area.

In a press release dated February 12, 2016, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam  Garba Shehu, stated that Buhari particularly noted the role of Mbasogo in bringing about the proposed summit and described the effort as very commendable.

"President Buhari said he was deeply touched by the commitment shown in Nigeria’s security by Equatorial Guinea and gave assurances of his commitment to enhancing security and bilateral relations between the two countries.

"The Special Envoy of the Equatorial Guinean President, Mr Juan Antonio Bibang Nchuchuma, who brought the message, said his President was prepared to expand and share security intelligence and information with Nigeria to help in the war against corruption and terrorism. He also requested for a meeting of the security chiefs from both countries," Shehu had stated.