Leaders of Lake Chad countries along with French President Francois Hollande, US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond have gathered in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Saturday in order to discuss a way of defeating Boko Haram.
The world’s deadliest terrorist group, Boko Haram, has killed nearly 20,000 people, captured more than a thousand school girls and threatens the whole Lake Chad region.
Despite vital gains made since the last summit two years ago in Paris, officials agree that not enough has been done to eradicate the rising treat.
After the group gained control of territories in northeastern Nigeria in 2014, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) was re-activated by Lake Chad countries, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin, in order to stop Boko Haram attacks which spread to the whole region.
The MNJTF has succeeded in pushing Boko Haram out of territories the group had captured. However, the militant group still has a presence in the northeastern Sambisa Forests.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said the Lake Chad Basin Commission has estimated over $1 billion is needed in the near future to further develop the region.
Analysts say that the lack of development in the region is a key factor in recruitment of improvised young people to Boko Haram.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said that the countries shaken by the violence have to win "the hearts and minds of those terrorised by Boko Haram" as the conflict is "a generational struggle against an evil that will destroy us if we do not destroy it."
French President Francois Hollande (L) speaks next to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari during a joint press conference following the 2nd Regional Security Summit in Abuja on May 14, 2016.
"It is vital that the international community now does more. We need to continue" French President Hollande said. He also added that despite gains against Boko Haram, "it is not time to drop our guard."
Hollande's presence at the summit reflects Paris' traditional interest in its former colonies surrounding Nigeria. France and Nigeria recently signed an agreement on closer military cooperation.
Last April, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced that France will increase the number of troops in Ivory Coast, from 500 to 900, during his visit to the country.
Hollande and Buhari signed a "letter of intent" to set the stage for a defence agreement.
The two leaders also signed several agreements to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries, including $120 million through Frances development agency to Nigerias electricity sector.
The northeastern Borno state, the worst place hit by violence, has announced that displaced people face a food crisis. More than 2.6 million Nigerians have been displaced by the violence. Homes, mosques, churches, schools, hospitals, telecommunication systems and governmental buildings are being destroyed or damaged during the fighting.
Additionally $5.9 billion is needed to rebuild damaged infrastructure.
The UN Security Council voiced its deep concern on Friday about the Boko Haram insurgency and alarm over links between Nigerias Boko Haram militants and DAESH terrorist organisation which has a foothold in Syria, Iraq and Libya.