The only fight that matters is that for the dignity of the African, and the Boko Haram sect will not have the right to exist in the precincts of the Economic Community of Central African States, ECCAS. These are the key ideas that emerged from the declarations by Presidents Paul Biya of Cameroon and Idriss Deby Itno of Chad in Yaounde yesterday 16 February 2015 at the opening ceremony of the first-ever Extraordinary Summit of the Council for Peace and Security in Central Africa, COPAX.
In the final statements at the close of the Summit, the Heads of State and Government announced the creation of a Solidarity Fund with FCFA 50 Billion to fight the seditious group and open up contacts with Nigeria on how best to tackle the sect.
Besides the doggedness to do away with Boko Haram and similar movements that negate civilised human values and respect for human life, as President Paul Biya pointed out, all six speakers at the Summit underlined the urgency to act against the extremists. Mr Biya also insisted that the declaration of war was in no way a crusade against Islam, but an unavoidable decision to annihilate an enemy that had evolved from its Nigerian base to affect Niger, Chad and Cameroon, destroying life and property using “methods of blind and ruthless terrorism.”
Recalling his desire for a free and prosperous African Continent, Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno justified the presence of his troops in Cameroon and Nigeria and underlined the contradiction in the claims by Boko Haram insurgents who are fighting in the name of Islam yet, Muslims have not been spared in the battle. Also prominent in his speech, like that of others at the opening session, was the importance of joint efforts to face the growing dimension of the sect.
He called for a minute of silence in memory of soldiers that have fallen at the war front in their effort to combat the rebellion. Mr Deby Itno stated that he who starts a war must be ready to suffer the consequences.
Other messages which echoed the need for concerted action against the uprising came from the Secretary-General of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), H E Ahmad Allam-Mi, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, presented by his Representative in the Central African Sub-region, General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Organisation, Ban Ki-moon, delivered by his Special Representative and Head of UNOCA, Abdoulaye Bathily.
The Representative of the UN Secretary-General began with a g diatribe against the sect, noting that it was unfortunate for such a revolt to crop up on the continent at a time when all the countries involved are making laudable efforts towards emergence. The Government Delegate to the Yaounde City Council, Gilbert Tsimi Evouna, welcomed the participants to the Summit and wished them an enjoyable stay in Yaounde.
Also present in Yaounde for the Extraordinary Summit were Presidents Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, Sassou Nguesso of Congo Brazzaville, Ali Bongo Odimba of Gabon, the Transitional President of the Central African Republic, Catherine Samba-Panza, the Prime Minister of Sao Tome and Principe, Patrice Emery Travoada. The other countries where represented by delegations led by their Ministers of External Relations.
COPAX came into existence following a summit conference of the United Nations Standing Aisory Committee on Security Questions in Central African which took place in Yaounde on 25-26 February 1999. At the meeting, ECCAS member States decided on an organisation for the promotion, maintenance and consolidation of peace and security in Central Africa, which would be called the Council for Peace and Security in Central Africa (COPAX). Countries concerned by COPAX are: Angola, Burundi, Cameroo, CAR, Chad, Congo Brzzaville,DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe.
Source : Cameroon Tribune