•Explains why terrorism persists in W’Africa
•Shrunken lake chad affects 30m people, says Buhari
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
President of Chad Republic, Marshal Idris Deby Itno, has given an assurance that the new strategies being employed by the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) put together by the four countries sharing the Lake Chad Basin will soon put an end to Boko Haram insurgency threat ravaging the area.
Itno spoke with reporters on Saturday after holding bilateral talks with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
This is just as President Buhari revealed that the shrunken Lake Chad basin has adversely affected 30 million people.
The Chadian President emphasised that with the new strategies being deployed and new officers with fresh ideas being assigned to take over commands at both national and regional levels, the defeat of the various terror groups, including Boko Haram and the Islamic State, West African Province (ISWAP), is imminent.
He said: “With the new security apparatus that has been put in place with the new security chiefs and not only in Nigeria, but even on the Multinational Joint Task Force itself, which also has a new leadership, that we’re hopeful now that with new strategies, and new dynamism, that we’ll be able to address definitively the issue of Boko Haram.
“All the countries participating and are taking responsibility, none of them are shirking their responsibilities and the military of all the countries also have that sense of responsibility of what needs to be done and what their obligation is, which is to protect all the countries and that they are fully on track for that and that with this new security architecture, we’re hopeful that the things will get much better and it will be done all together.
“Boko Haram is indeed an evil that has hampered the four countries of the Lake Chad Basin and it has done many harm to our populations. It would be remembered that since 2013/2014, the four countries put together their means to create the Multinational Joint Task Force, this Multinational Joint Task Force has had good results. Unfortunately, the resilience of Boko Haram and the Islamic State in the Lake Chad Basin has been unprecedented. They are being supplied and being trained and being formed through Libya.
“The MNJTF has done a lot of work and as you have seen recently, we’ve had exchanges on this with my brother on the way ahead. With the new team of the Chief of Defence Staff and the new Commander that has been appointed at the Multinational Joint Task Force, they were convinced that we can eradicate Boko Haram.
There’s a lot of hope on this new team, with this new strategy. I remain confident that the four armies of the four countries can finish this evil and eradicate Boko Haram once and for all”.
The visiting President stressed that terrorism remained a major issue in the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel region of Africa because the crusade against it has been inadequate.
According to him, the four countries sharing the Lake Chad Basin had put together a formidable military formation, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), to stamp out terrorism in the region.
He said a number of important issues including the challenges facing Nigeria and Chad were discussed at the bilateral meeting adding that the meeting also discussed various bilateral relations between the two countries and how to strengthen those bilateral relations.
The Chadian President further said that they meeting discussed the issue of islamic state and the challenges that they pose to the two countries as well as the lake Chad environment.
He said the issue of transfer of water from the Central African Region Republic was looked into the question of Chad being a landlocked country.
Other areas of discussion centred on transportation from Chad, which is a landlocked country by road and the possibility of constructing roads as well as rail transportation from Chad through Nigeria, and to Port Harcourt, where goods that are coming in will be transferred to Chad.
Speaking earlier while receiving the Chadian leader, President Buhari had stated that
about 30 million people are adversely affected by a shrunken Lake Chad, which is now just about ten per cent of its original size.
According to him, It is imperative that there be water transfer to the Lake Chad from the Congo Basin, so that the people can resume their normal lives.
He added that with inter-basin water transfer, farming, fishing, animal husbandry would resume, and curtail irregular migration of youths, who now dare the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, to get into Europe, seeking greener pastures.
His words: “I’ve been engaging with the relevant stakeholders in Africa and beyond, on why we need to recharge Lake Chad. Nigeria will benefit more, but it is also advantageous to everyone”.
He appreciated Chad for its role in curbing insurgency in the region, particularly the Boko Haram challenge.
“We appreciate what you are doing on security. When I first came to office in 2015, I came to see you, as well as leaders of other neighbouring countries, because it makes sense to be in the good books of our neighbours.”