At the recently concluded Africa Land Forces Summit (ALFS) 2023, Christopher Musa, a major general and Infantry Corps commander, Nigerian Armed Forces, summarized the significance of why it is important for Nigeria and African military leaders to come together and conference.
“The whole domain approach, all original approach; that’s why it’s important for us to meet,” said Mr Musa adding that, “We look at all the challenges we’re facing and the best way” to approach them.
The ‘domain’ Mr Musa referred to is the capability of an armed force to manoeuvre, gain access to a threat area, and succeed in both control and in the military’s mission; to have superiority over the threat area.
While the activities of terrorist organizations in Nigeria – Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa – decreased by 15 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019, according to data from the Global Terrorism Trends and Analysis Center (GTTAC), Nigeria still made up 8 per cent of the world’s total fatalities from a terrorist incident, in 2020.
Nigeria is not the only country with Boko Haram – Cameroon, Chad, and Niger face the challenges too – making it crucial for countries to meet and seek ways to best diminish threats.
Defence leaders attending the ALFS 23, heard from, and exchanged knowledge with, “renowned academics and non-governmental experts, as well as military members, throughout the week during five plenary sessions and five breakout sessions addressing a variety of topics,” said the US Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) public affairs office.
High-ranking military chiefs from African countries and the United States gathered “to build relationships, exchange information on current topics of mutual interest and encourage cooperation in addressing challenges, from 8 to 12 May, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire,” confirmed the SETAF-AF’s public affairs office. The ALFS 2023 was held at the Sôfitel Hotel in Abidjan.
Included on the conference agenda was a Plenary Session titled “Counter‐Violent Extremist Organizations (VEO) Best Practices in Africa.” The speakers leading this session were Lassina Diarra, researcher and consultant at the Centre for Strategies and Security for the Sahel Sahara, and Geoffrey Jackson, professor in the Department of Humanities at Mount Royal University.
ALFS2023 was attended by 39 African army commanders, along with army commanders from Brazil, the US, and other European countries – in all, 46 countries attended.