Nigeria and Cameroon on Wednesday noted with satisfaction the successes achieved so far in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgencts and pledged to intensify efforts to rout the terrorist group from the Lake Chad basin countries.
This formed part of the trust of the communiqué issued at the end of the two-day bilateral meeting between Nigeria and Cameroon in Abuja with President Muhammadu Buhari and Cameroonian President Paul Biya in attendance.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geofrey Onyeama, and his Cameroonian counterpart, Mr Mbella Mbella, announced this when reading the communiqué of the meeting between top officials of both countries in Abuja.
They said that both countries criticized the criminal activities perpetrated by the group in the Lake Chad Basin countries.
Reading the English version of the communiqué, Onyeama said that the two countries hailed the effort of the joint military and the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to end the activities of the terrorist group.
The minister added that Buhari and Biya reaffirmed their commitments to continue to support the JMNTF until the terrorist group was completely eliminated.
He said that the presidents welcomed joint discussions on the fate of suspected Boko Haram members arrested in each other’s country.
He further said that they expressed the need to set up a judicial framework to ensure their fair trial and if need be, their transfer to their countries of origin in accordance with international best practices.
He said Buhari and Biya expressed commitment to the forthcoming second session of the regional security summit in Abuja on May 13, and pledged to participate in the processes and implement the outcome of the meeting, to ensure peace and security in the affected areas.
Onyeama said that Nigeria and Cameroon also agreed to convene a tripartite meeting of both countries and the UNHCR, to agree on a framework for the safe return of the Nigerian refugees in Cameroon in July in Abuja.
He added that the presidents welcomed the interest of investors across the countries, to boost the existing mutually beneficial and economic cooperation between both countries.
He said they also pledged to harness the potential in both countries and to open up opportunities for their people as well as convene a business forum for investors in Abuja.
He further said that the Presidents also welcomed an agreement by experts from both countries to construct a bridge across the river to link Beleri in Nigeria and Densa in Cameroon and provide related infrastructure along the corridor.
According to him, Buhari and Biya have directed the early signing of both the MoU and terms of reference on the execution of the project.
On the demarcation of the borders, the communiqué stated that following the return of peace, experts from of both countries and the Nigeria-Cameroon Mixed Commission, should resume the demarcation exercise as soon as possible.
He said both presidents agreed to strengthen the Nigeria-Cameroon Joint Commission, to give it more leverage to coordinate and implement all agreements and MoUs signed by both countries, using the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission model.
Onyeama said that both leaders agreed on the need to set up a mechanism for the coordination of responses to major disease situations with a view to preventing the spread of diseases.
He said that Buhari and Biya recognised the contributions of governors of states in Nigeria and their neighbours in Cameroon toward strengthening cross border integration, cooperation and development and called for increased cooperation of their traditional rulers.
According to him, this will be achieved through the establishment of local bilateral committees.
The minister added that the countries’ Presidents noted with satisfaction the exchange of visits among the governors in both countries as well as encouraged the signing of a legal framework in that regard.
He said the presidents noted with satisfaction the review of the 1963 Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and Goods and called for early signing of the revised document.
He also said that a number of agreements were signed on the sideline of the meeting, including MoU on technical consultation for the management of water resources of the Benue Basin and agreement on trade.
He said that Biya’s visit was to strengthen the already existing “brotherliness, excellent historical relations of friendship, brotherhood and good neighbourliness” between both countries.
According to him, both Presidents held a one-on-one discussion on a wide range of bilateral and international issues and received the report of bilaterial meetings of top officials of both countries.
NAN reports that Cameroon’s Minister of External relations read the communiqué in French. (NAN)