By Omar Bah
Defence Minister Sheikh Omar Faye has clarified that the much-talked security agreement with Nigeria doesn’t involve cooperation on tackling insurgency as reported by Nigerian media.
The agreement was initially reported as a memorandum of understanding between the two governments on military cooperation to tackle insurgency.
But Minister Faye told The Standard yesterday: “There is no insurgency agreement or whatsoever. The said agreement is a memorandum of understanding between the governments of The Gambia and Nigeria on military cooperation. We have signed it but it is subject to ratification by the right authorities. It will go through due process.
“It is just the same as the military agreements we had with Turkey and other countries. The information was misplaced. We don’t even pray for insurgency in this country. We advise people to be careful of what they peddle and I hope this will help clear the air,” Minister Faye stated.
The agreement which will reportedly cover the common threats of insecurities was signed by Nigeria’s Minister of Defence Maj Gen Bashir Magashi and the Gambian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mohamadou Musa Njie.
Ambassador Njie told The Standard yesterday that he was delegated to sign the agreement on behalf of Defence Minister Faye.
The special assistant to the Nigerian Minister of Defence, Mohammed Abdulkadri, in a statement on Friday, said the agreement could not have come at a better and more auspicious time.
The representatives of the two countries pledged in their separate speeches to operationalise the terms and conditions of the memorandum.
Specific instances and references were made to the expectations from the newly formalised diplomatic ties between the two countries.
They include “boosting the hitherto existing joint military manoeuvrability, operability as well as tactical and technical synergy.”
Other areas covered in the memorandum include enhanced networking in intelligence sharing, capacity building and the need to emplace robust counter-transnational strategy to decisively clear the effrontery”.
The minister noted it was on record that Nigeria has been playing a big brotherly role to The Gambia in stabilising the country and resolving its electoral impasse in 2016.
“Nigeria currently deployed over 200 forces serving in the Ecowas Mission In Gambia, Ecomig, and presently enlisted the Gambian military officers,” he said.
The minister added that Nigerians are also working in other institutions in the country through the technical cooperation pact.