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Ofehe Joins Other World Diplomats To Tackle Security Issues At The Sahel Region

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Comrade Sunny Ofehe, Executive Director , Hope for Niger Delta Campaign (HNDC) right, Mrs Hadja Lahbib, Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs and Foreign Trade (2nd right) addressing the summit





Nigerian-Netherlands based environmental rights activist, Comrade Sunny Ofehe, on Thursday joined other world diplomates at Brussels, Belgium, venue of the Sahel High-Level Brainstorming” Seminar tailored to chant security roadmap for the Sahel region.

Ofehe who was specially invited for the event, seat on the same roundtable with Mrs Ludivine Dedonder, the Belgium Minister of Defence, Mrs Hadja Lahbib, Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs and Foreign Trade and Mrs Caroline Gennez, Belgium Minister of Development Cooperation as they brainstormed over issues bogging the region.

Also in attendance were, Ambassador Bart De Groof, Ambassador, Special Envoy for the Sahel region, Ambassador Saïd Djinnit, former UN Special Representative for West Africa & AU Commissioner for Peace and Security and the Sahel countries Ambassadors.

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Ofehe, in a telephone conversation said that he was at the summit to chant issues plaguing the minority people of Nigeria, particularly the Niger Delta nay Delta as Belgium’s presence in the Sahel region continues to increase over the past five years.

Belgium, in a bilateral agreement had recently established three new Embassies in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, and also designate a Special Envoy to the Sahel region, an indication of the importance it attached to the region.

These developments have taken place following, and in parallel to the Belgian Defense military assistance mission Operation “New Nero” in Niger, which has entailed the training of over 1000 Nigerien troops, while Belgium has increased its development cooperation in the country through ENABEL projects amongst others, with a new country program in Niger of €50m and a thematic program on climate change in the Sahel region for the same amount.

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Multilaterally, Belgium has been represented in the UN mission in Mali with both troops and the Force Commander, as well as in Mali, again, with both troops and a Belgian Head of Mission, and also in Niger with a Belgian Head of Mission.

According to Ofehe, due to Belgium’s increased focus and presence in the Sahel region, a new Belgian Sahel Strategy has been drafted to provide guidance for current and future Belgian initiatives and to facilitate a comprehensive approach, both on a national and on an international level.

This Sahel High-Level Brainstorming Seminar aim, was to discuss the success or failure of previous bi- and multilateral Sahel strategies and reflect on future developments by bringing together diplomats, politicians, policy makers, practitioners, and academic experts for an open discussion under Chatham House rules, he said.

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“Security in the Sahel region of Africa calls for global multilateral concerns particularly as the French and the UN mission have been asked to withdraw their presence in some countries”, he said.

Ofehe, who is the Executive Director, Netherlands based Hope for Niger Delta Campaign (HNDC), said that the current Sahel strategies would attract investors to the Sahel countries, maintaining that he spoke glowingly about the investment potentials in Nigeria particularly in States like Delta where he hailed from.

Ofehe said that the knowledge acquired through the summit was enormous and promised to deploy same acting as an external relations envoy for the advancement of the current administration in his own Delta State.

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