Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari will today leave Abuja for N’Djamena, the capital of Chad Republic, to participate in the Extraordinary Session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD).
Presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, who said in a statement that CEN-SAD was created by the Treaty of Tripoli on February 4, 1998 with six founding members, to create a free trade area in Africa, as well as “strengthen peace, security and stability, and achieve global economic and social development of its members,” added that Nigeria joined the current 29-member regional economic community in 2001.
According to him, delegations from 22 member-nations were expected at the extraordinary meeting of CEN-SAD taking place at the Radisson Blu Hotel, N’Djamena.
“President Buhari and other regional leaders will join their host and current Chairperson of CEN-SAD Conference, President Idriss Deby Itno to deliberate among others on political and security issues, state of peace and ways to address multifaceted threats in CEN-SAD area especially Boko Haram and refugees; and make a declaration on the entry into force of CEN-SAD revised Treaty intended to fast-track the realisation of the objectives of the body.
“During the opening Session of the Conference, special Awards will be given to Heads of State and Military contingents in Mali, Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic and in the Lake Chad Basin,” the statement added.
The statement also said the president would be accompanied to the CEN-SAD meeting by Governors Kashim Shettima, Akinwunmi Ambode and Adegboyega Oyetola of Borno, Lagos and Osun States respectively.
It listed others to include: the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Interior, Lt-Gen Adulrahman Danbazau (rtd); Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen Mansur Dan Ali (rtd); National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen. Mohammed Monguno (rtd); Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mohammed Babandede; and the Federal Commissioner for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Sadiya Umar Farouq.
Shehu added that the president would return to the country at the end of the conference today.