Tony Ailemen, Abuja
Nigeria yesterday made case for the country to retain headship of the Multi- National Joint Task Force, MNJTF on Boko Haram even as it reaffirmed commitment to redeeming the $100 Million pledged for the war.
President Muhammadu Buhari while speaking at the Extra- Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin, which held at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, assured the body that Nigeria will redeem its pledge.
The President noted that the meeting was borne out of the urgency to mitigate the suffering that has been imposed on the civilian population by the nefarious activities of the insurgents and terrorists.
The President, while also recalling that Nigeria had pledged the sum of $100 million for the smooth take off of the MNJTF, reassured them that Nigeria will keep faith with the promise President Buhari declared that the six months change of the ‘MNJTF and its control structure urged the leaders to allow Nigeria control the force throughout the period of the war against Boko Haram.
President Buhari had recalled his inaugural address on 29th May 2015, where he affirmed thus that “ I will consult regularly with heads of government of our immediate neighborhood” He added that this promised was fulfilled when, “within four days of my assumption of duty as President I embarked on a thank you visits to the Presidents of Niger and Chad” adding that “ This important assignment was however interrupted because I had to honor the invitation extended to me by the G-7 member states to attend their meeting in Germany”.
He noted that there was need to strengthen cross border patrol and intelligence sharing, adding that efforts must be targeted at limiting the insurgents’ capacity to access funds and weapons. Presidents from Niger Republic, Mahamadou Issoufou, Chad, Idriss Deby Itno, Benin Republic and Boni Yayi, were in attendant at the meeting, while Cameroonian President, Paul Biya, was represented by the Camerounian Minister of Defence.
According to the President “While I agree that this is a joint operation with shared responsibilities, I am, however, of the opinion that military operations that are subjected to a rapid turnover of command and control structures, six months duration, as it is being proposed the documents before us, do not augur well for effectiveness an efficiency” he said “Such a process will undermine, even if it not intended, the military capacity to sustain the push against the insurgents, who also have the uncanny ability to adapt and rejig their operational strategies,” he said.
He noted further that the region was now more resolved and committed to maintain the momentum in degrading the capacity of the insurgents until they are completely wiped out.
“ I am inclined, on account of the above, to suggest for your excellences consideration that Nigeria retains the position of the Force Commander of the MNJTF for the period of the war effort” “This command will be to the effectiveness of military strategy, since Nigeria will be providing the bulk of the troops and the main theatre of the war is on Nigerian soil.”
“It is also going out with urgency to mitigate the suffering which has been imposed on our civilian population by the nefarious activities of the insurgents and the terrorists. “Our meeting today provides us an excellent opportunity to finalize the instruments of the operations of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in order to give life to our joint military campaign to decisively defeat the insurgents. The President said he intends to continue his thank you visits to the remaining Lake Chad Basin Commission member states.