President Muhammadu Buhari has summoned another Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to address prevailing security challenges in the sub-region.
President Buhari stated that the meeting, which is a follow up to a similar one held in N’djamena, the Chadian capital in November, was convened for the adoption of a report of the LCBC security and defence committee on the Boko Haram insurgency.
According to the Nigerian leader, time has come for the evil of Boko Haram to be brought to a definitive end, and expressed the hope that the Saturday’s summit would take the right decisions in this regard.
“This is a fight to the finish. We must, and we will, by the grace of God, wipe out terrorism from our sub-region.
The president observed that their participation in today’s summit was a clear demonstration of the collective resolute commitment of the sub-region to the fight against the common enemy, Boko Haram, and the restoration of durable peace and security to the sub-region.
He said: “Your Excellencies would recall that during our Summit in N’Djamena, the need to overhaul our current strategy and concept of operations in the fight against the Boko Haram Terrorists took the centre stage of our discussions.
“This was necessitated by the resurgence of attacks, particularly on the military, and the abduction of civilians for ransom across our borders by Boko Haram with the support of international terrorists who have infiltrated our sub-region.
“Our meeting today will consider the report of the Committee we set up during our last Summit on the way forward.’’
President Buhari thanked the Committee for meeting the deadline assigned to it and expressed the hope that their recommendations will bring a new dynamism in the fight against Boko Haram and their international affiliates.
He noted that the Lake Chad region had suffered decades of neglect and poor infrastructural development, saying that the Boko Haram crisis in the last eight years had worsened its already bad situation.
“We must take cognizance of the fact that sustainable growth and development of the sub-region is dependent on the quick attainment of peace and stability in the area.
“We must put an end to the crisis in the sub-region to enable meaningful development for its people.
“We must remain resolute and committed in our collective efforts at attaining peace as well as eradicating terrorism and violent extremism from the sub-region,’’ he added.
The time has come for the evil of Boko Haram to be brought to a definitive end. I am sure that this summit will take the right decisions in this regard.
“This is a fight to the finish. We must, and we will, by the grace of God, wipe out terrorism from our sub-region,’’ he added.
The president maintained that while executing the war against the Boko Haram terrorists, “we must not be oblivious of the fact that military may not provide the desired results alone.’’
According to the Nigerian leader, there is the pressing need to pursue simultaneously both military and developmental approach to the challenges of the region.
He said the regional leaders must work towards strengthening of civil-military cooperation in the fragile areas of the region to accelerate the implementation of the Regional Stabilisation Strategy.
“Our military strategy must be complemented by the mobilization and deployment of adequate resources to ensure the reconstruction, rehabilitation and rebuilding of civil authority, as well as the provision of relief and succor for the affected.
“The Inter Basin Water Transfer project to recharge the disappearing Lake Chad would also go a long way in the restoration of sustainable peace and security to these areas.
President Buhari used the opportunity to pay tribute to the gallant troops who remained focused and committed to the task of ensuring the safety and stability of the region.
He urged them to remain steadfast in executing the war with the highest sense of honor, professionalism and patriotism.
He lauded the efforts of partners and the larger international community for their valuable support and contributions in helping with the resultant humanitarian crisis.
“We thank you for intelligence sharing and operations in our determination to defeat Boko Haram and its affiliates.
“We, however, solicit greater cooperation and additional assistance to the LCBC/MNJTF to completely end the menace of Boko Haram and eradicate it from the sub-region.
“Such an outcome would add to global peace and security,’’ he said.
In an address, the Executive Secretary of the Lake Chsad Basin Commission, Mamman Nuhu, called for accelerated action on the implementation of the regional stabilisation strategy in areas within the Lake Chad region affected by terrorist activities.
He said: “A coordinated and well sequenced implementation of the strategy is essential in order to break the vicious cycle of stranded insurgents’ repenters returning to the bush to take up arms because they are unable to make a smooth transition back into the society.’’
Nuhu expressed delight at the recent renewal of the mandate of the Multi National Joint Task Force operating in the Lake Chad Basin by the African Union Peace and Security Council for another one year period from January 2019.
The African leaders attending the meeting include President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic, Prof. Faustin-Archange Touadera of the Central African Republic, Idriss Deby Itno of the Republic of Chad and Patrice Talon of the Republic of Benin.
President Paul Biya of Cameroun was represented by the country’s Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, at the meeting.
Also in attendance were the Ministers of Defence of Lake Chad Basin Commission Member Countries and the Chiefs of Defence Staff of Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin Republic.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports a communiqué on the new strategy to be adopted in the fight against Boko Haram is expected at the end of the meeting.(NAN)