By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
President Deby who was at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on a one-day official visit, during which he had bilateral discussions with President Muhammadu Buhari, also said Multi-national Joint Task Force (MNJTF) new strategy can eradicate insurgency in the region.
Speaking to State House Correspondents after the meeting with President Buhari, President Deby aired his views on many burning issues concerning the two traditional friendly nations.
Specifically, he said that the four countries sharing the Lake Chad Basin had put together a formidable military formation, the MNJTF, to stamp out terrorism in the region, but lamented that the formation had not been carrying out enough required operations.
According to him, he discussed the situation in the MNJTF with President Buhari, saying a situation where the joint military outfit embarks on just one operation in a whole year had made the fight difficult and defeating the terrorists rather impossible.
The Chadian leader, however expressed optimism that with the new activities and 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), the menace should be addressed permanently.
Said he: “However, 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, 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”, he assured.
President Deby also said: “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”, he said.
Speaking further, the Chadian President said a number of important issues including the challenges facing Nigeria and Chad were discussed at the bilateral meeting.
He said that the meeting also discussed various bilateral relations between the two countries and how to strengthen those bilateral relations.
The President further said that they 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 that 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 were 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 able to be transferred to Chad.
They also discussed the issue of power and the interconnection, connectivity of power between Nigeria and Chad and the closure of the borders as well, adding that the discussion made him to understand the reasons why the borders were closed.
He thanked President Buhari for hosting him and assured the Nigerian President that the relations between the two countries will continue to work towards strengthening them for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries.