President Jacob Zuma has agreed with the federal government of Nigeria to bolster the counter insurgency war by deploying South African special forces to fight Boko Haram insurgents following a bilateral agreement between Nigeria and South Africa.
Disclosing details of the agreement, in Abuja on Monday March 7, Nigeria’s Defence minister Mansur Dan-Ali said he met with his South African counterpart, Nobise Mapisa-Nqakula, on Monday to finalise modalities for the special forces deployment ahead of the arrival of President Zuma.
According to Daily Trust, he said the visit by Zuma is also expected to firm up trade and investment relations between the two countries which are the largest economies on the African continent.
“It is a very good thing that we are thinking that South Africa being our close ally should come and help us in developing our industrial complex, that is the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria.
We are of the opinion that very soon, after the two Commanders-in-Chief meet, we will look into going deep on how the two countries will work together and come to an agreement on the MoU and technical expertise between the two countries,” he said.
“This is just like the special forces that have been discussed by the two Chiefs of Defence Staff; that one will come into being between the two countries as soon as possible.”
Dan-Ali said in 2013, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the two countries with extensive bilateral agreements on defence cooperation, adding that the country acquired some mine resistant armoured vehicles from South Africa.
He said South African defence expertise may be needed for maintenance of the vehicles purchased and for other and operational purposes.
In her remarks, Ms Mapisa-Nqakula noted that the cooperation between the two countries would lead to stronger ties.
She said South Africa was interested in how best to engage in areas of cooperation, information sharing, training, research and development and exchange programs that would help the two countries deal with security challenges.