29 November 2018

Nigeria: Boko Haram - Buhari, Deby, 4 Leaders Meet in Chad Today

Photo: MBuhari/Twitter
President Muhammadu Buhari has sought urgent measures by leaders of the Lake Chad Basin Commission states to halt the resurgence in attacks by Boko Haram.

A high level meeting of six African leaders including President Muhammadu Buhari and Idriss Deby will hold today in N'Djamena, the Chadian Capital over the resurgence of Boko Haram insurgency.

The meeting was convened by President Buhari in his capacity as Chairman of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), according to the president's special adviser on media and publicity Femi Adesina

He said the one-day meeting will review the security situation in the areas affected by Boko Haram insurgency and adopt measures to enhance the capacity of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to meet the challenges of securing the areas.

The presidents of the LCBC member countries of Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and the Central African Republic have been invited to attend the meeting. The president of Benin Republic, a troops-contributing country, has also been invited.

The MNJTF and the national operations of the affected countries have appreciably degraded the capacity of Boko Haram terrorists, although the insurgents still pose a threat.

Meanwhile, President Buhari has ordered the military to eliminate all threats of Boko Haram, declaring that the war against terrorism is "a must win."

Declaring open the 2018 Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, the president said: "I want to encourage our troops not to be distracted by speculations but remain focused and committed to the task of eliminating Boko Haram from the surface of the earth."

He told the military that "as your Commander-In-Chief, I will do everything within my power to continue empowering you by providing all the necessary equipment, force multipliers and enablers required for you to prevail on the field.

"I also want you to be aware that I am currently looking into measures to improve your entitlements and welfare generally."

A statement by the president's Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, also quoted Buhari as commending the efforts and sacrifices of the military in safeguarding the peace, security and territorial integrity of the country.

"The officers and men who are fighting against terrorism in the North East deserve all the attention our country's leadership can give them.

"As President of the country, I am determined to ensure that every citizen feels safe and secure in all parts of the country. "To achieve this, the security agencies must rise to the challenge and curb threats to security in our country," he said.

Buhari called on the armed forces to embrace "the wind of change that is blowing across the country," urging more cooperation at inter-service and inter-agency levels.

"To this end, the Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs must work closely together as well as with other security agencies to improve on strategies that will defeat terrorism, militancy and other forms of criminal activities in our country," he said.

Buhari, who also addressed officers and men of the Nigerian Army at the Maimalari Barrack, headquarters of Operation Lafiya-Dole, said he shared in the agony of loss of gallant soldiers.

"I have come to pay homage to the gallant soldiers lost by the nation and to console the injured ones in recent terrorist attacks. I urge you to remain focused and win the war," the president said.

President Buhari also commended Nigerian Army's commitment to upholding democracy and urged them to remain committed to their profession.

"As we approach the 2019 general elections, I want to urge all members of the Armed Forces to live up to their responsibilities and remain non-partisan. In addition, you must all remain vigilant throughout the electioneering period and alongside other security agencies, prevent every form of violence that could disrupt the process in line with your Rules of Engagement," he said.

President Buhari urged the soldiers, who were on parade, to always show disciplined conduct.

"No matter how equipped the military is, the military is of no use if it doesn't have discipline," he said, urging them to uphold the tenets of the constitution and ensure tight security to protect lives and property."

Army chief vows to counter recent losses

In his statement at the conference, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai said internal security had greatly improved from what it was in 2015 when President Buhari assumed office.

Buratai said a new proactive strategy would be put in place to counter the recent military losses.

He said the army remains neutral and non-partisan and will carry out their constitutional duty of safeguarding the nation's democracy.

The Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan Ali (rtd) assured the President that the military was putting in place new strategies to stabilize the country.

Buhari asked for a minute's silence in memory of the gallant soldiers and before his departure, he went round the wards to visit wounded soldiers in the hospital within the army barracks.

At the Palace of Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El-Kanemi, President Buhari said his administration will do everything to secure the country, commiserating with all Nigerians who lost loved ones following recent setbacks in the fight against terrorists.

"We have to remind ourselves where we were and where we are now and what happened in between. The people of Borno State know what we did in the last three years. The situation would have been worse," he said.

In his remarks, the Shehu of Borno, who spoke on behalf of the State's Council of Chiefs, thanked the president for bringing peace to the state, and asked for intensive security patrols across the territories to save people from attacks on farms.

Buhari has since returned to Abuja after attending the Chief of Army Staff Annual Conference.

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