World Bulletin / News Desk
World leaders on Thursday pledged support for Nigeria's fight against terrorism during an international meeting on security and development, the culmination of centenary celebrations marking the country's unification.
"Your struggle is our struggle," French President François Hollande told a sober crowd at the International Conference on Human Security, Peace and Development in capital Abuja.
"We will always stand ready not only to provide our political support but our help every time you need it because the struggle against terrorism is the struggle for democracy."
Hollande, the guest speaker at the event, lamented violence in Nigeria's northeastern region.
On Thursday, at least 28 people were killed in attacks by Boko Haram militants in the northeastern Adamawa city.
The attack came two days after 29 college students were massacred by suspected Boko Haram fighters in northeastern Yobe state.
Hollande, however, agreed with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan - who had earlier said Africa has the potential to own the 21st century - that there is optimism and hope for Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
"Africa has a great hope. It is the continent not the future," Hollande said.
His comment, however, sparked online irony from critics, who queried whether any of the world leaders would proceed with any celebration in their country if 29 children were massacred by insurgents.
Many critics had called on the Nigerian president to call off the centenary celebration in honor of the victims of the insurgency, pleas that were rejected by the government as a conceding victory to the insurgents.
Earlier, Jonathan made a passionate appeal to the world to rally around Nigeria in its fight against terrorism.
"We recognize human security as encompassing firm guarantees for human rights and good governance, that translates into expanded opportunities for economic security, food security, health and education security, environmental security and personal and community security," he said.
"A firm commitment to human security holds the promise of an end to persistent conflicts, insecurity, poverty, disease, terrorism and other scourges that undermine the attainment of our dreams."
Calling for a firm synergy to combat terrorism, Jonathan told his visitors that "we must strengthen existing mechanisms for national and international conflict management, and create new avenues for cooperation within and between our peoples and our nations.
"Your Excellences, let us work together across boundaries, not only to coordinate and strengthen defenses, but also to address any socio-economic roots on which these extreme ideologies thrive," he said.
"Terrorism must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. We all must work together, collectively, to rid our world of haters of peace who use terror to maim, kill and instill fear and deny people their rights to peace and security."
He labeled the Boko Haram insurgency "as one of such condemnable acts of terror" to which he said the country has deployed "human and military intelligence, in close collaboration with our partners, to bring an end to their nefarious activities."
"Greater regional cooperation in intelligence gathering and control of insurgents will ensure not only Nigeria's security, but also the security of our neighbors," he said.
The international meeting comes amid centenary celebrations commemorating the unification in 1914 of Nigeria's southern and northern protectorates by the British.
Other centenary-related activities are expected later Thursday and in the days ahead.Last Mod: 28 Şubat 2014, 11:10