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Bridging the development gap within countries helps diffuse anger and frustrations that often lead to uprisings, Nigerian
Ambassador to Zimbabwe Dr Odeka Janet Bessong has said. Addressing students of course number 06 /2017 yesterday at the Zimbabwe National Defence University on Nigeria’s foreign policy and security challenges in West Africa, Ambassador Bessong said proactive measures such as job creation can help stem the growth of terror outfits.
She said West Africa has of late suffered heavy losses at the hands of marauding terrorist groups and the region was still vulnerable to emerging threats.
“Unemployed youths are often (the) target of terrorist recruits as they are usually dissatisfied with their national governments. These disgruntled youths might choose to engage in terrorism to communicate their discontent,” said Ambassador Bessong. Apart from unemployment, she said, ethno-nationalism, alienation and discrimination, indoctrination and religion were also some of the drivers of terrorism.
She added that no nation was immune to terrorism and nations should therefore be proactive rather than reactive in responding to terrorist attacks.
“It is truism that no nation is immune to terrorism. Even the most advanced nations with their sophistications and technological savvy systems have been surprised by the terrorists, who keep devising new strategies to outsmart the security authorities,” said Dr Bessong.

According to Dr Bessong, Nigeria’s foreign policy was “concentric” as it was focused on the country’s own security, independence and prosperity, including its relationship with neighbouring countries such as Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

She said the second circle revolves around the country’s relations with its West African neighbours, while the third circle focuses on continental African issues of peace, development and democratisation. Ambassador Bessong said the fourth circle involves Nigeria’s relations with organisations, institutions and states outside Africa.
It is this policy, she said, that has enabled the West Africa country to maintain cordial relations with global powers such as Britain, United States, China and France.


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