From Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen Mansur Muhammad Dan Ali (Rtd), will later in the week, visit N’djamena, Chad to discuss with his Chadian counterpart, General Daoud Yaya, on how to respond to the worsening security crisis along the Nigeria – Chad border.
The scheduled meeting was confirmed on Sunday in a statement issued by Col. Tukur Gusau, the Public Relations Officer to the Minister of Defence.
According to Col Gusau, Brig-Gen Dan-Ali’s visit was in continuation of consultations with the defence ministers of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) Troops contributing countries (TCC) which include, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Benin Republic.
Dan- Ali had last month paid a similar visit to Niger Republic, during which he held bilateral discussions with his Nigerien counterpart, Brigi Rafini.
“The Minister’s visit to Chad will revolve around strengthening the operations of MNJTF to enable it achieve its mandate of eliminating security threats and creating a safe and secure environment in its area of responsibility,” Gusau said.
The bilateral talks is also coming in the wake of the rising tide of insurgency in the north-east in which over 100 soldiers from the 157 Task Force Batallion were killed on November 18 in Metele, a remote village in Borno State, along the Nigeria- Chad border.
The Islamic State West Africa (ISWA), an offshoot of Boko Haram, which has pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State in Syria (ISIS), has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
It will be recalled that THISDAY first reported last week that President Muhammadu Buhari had mulled dispatching Dan-Ali to Republic of Chad for an urgent meeting with President Idris Deby and Ali’s defence counterpart to address the deteriorating security at the Nigeria- Chad border.
The report said Ali’s mission was to unearth what led to the increase in the activities of Boko Haram terrorists in the area, including finding an immediate solution to the upsurge.
Chad, which is member of MNJTF, is said to be having its own internal security challenges, which has reportedly led it to pull out its troops, manning the country’s border around Lake Chad.
Boko Haram and ISWA terrorist elements are capitalising on this lacuna to launch attacks on Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger, which are countries bordering the Lake Chad Basin areas.