President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the Republic of Chad of Nigeria's readiness to help that country stabilise and return to democratic rule within 18 months as promised by its Transitional Military Council President, Lt General Mahamat Deby last month.
The President, who gave the pledge yesterday while receiving Deby, also lauded the efforts of the Nigerian neighbour in the drive to fight terrorism in the country.
The President, in a release issued after the closed-door meeting by his Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, emphasised that Nigeria would assist the Republic of Chad to stabilise, and return to constitutional order.
According to the statement, he said: "We will help you to ensure a smooth transition in 18 months, as you have promised your people."
President Buhari further said that Nigeria would help strengthen the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
He also said: "We are bound together by culture and geography, and we will help in all ways we can. Nigerians know and appreciate the role Chad played in helping us to combat terrorism, and we will continue the collaboration."
The President said the late Marshal Idris Deby "was a personal friend, and a friend of Nigeria, and Chad has been very steadfast in defending Nigeria," so the country should not hesitate to ask for help in areas it deemed necessary. Speaking earlier, Deby thanked Nigeria for the solidarity shown after the passage of the former President, noting that the main objective of the Transitional Military Council "is the security and cohesion of our country."
He expressed his commitment to democratic, free, fair polls in 18 months, telling President Buhari: "You were very close to Marshal Itno. I'm here to reaffirm that relationship, and for you to support our transition. We rely on our brother country Nigeria, as we have shared history, culture and geography. We are ready to be guided by you in our journey to constitutional rule."
Former President of Chad, Marshal Idris Deby, had died in battle last month, while leading troops to confront insurgents, who had come into the country through the Libyan borders.
The country thereafter set up the transitional council, headed by the son of the deceased, Lt General Mahamat Deby and a return to democratic order is expected in 18 months.