President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday arrived Yaoundé, the Cameroonian capital where he had closed door meeting with President Paul Biya over Boko Haram as he assured that Nigeria will not revisit Bakassi issue
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday arrived Yaounde, the Cameroonian capital where he had closed door meeting with Cameroonian President, Paul Biya at the Cameroonian State House, the ‘Unity Palace’.
The meeting which started around 2:06 p.m lasted late into yesterday evening. A large crowed of enthusiastic Cameroonians had thronged out to have a glimpse of the Nigerian President leading to closure of shops with most business activities paralyzed.
President Buhari is on the first leg of a two nation tour which will also take him to Benin Republic in Saturday as he tries to fashion a lasting solution to the security issues and Boko Haram insurgents threatening the West African nations.
Both President Buhari and his Cameroonian counterpart are also expected to discuss other issues affecting both countries including trade amongst others Permanent Secretary Ministry of Defence, Ismail Aliyu, who is on the Nigerian delegation while speaking with Nigerian journalists said the deployment of force to the Multinational Task Force taking off on Thursday, will form major part of the discussions.
“You know these preparations have been on for a long time and most of participating countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin Republic making up Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon have all contributed their troops. “Tomorrow being 30th of July is the last day for operationalization of the multinational task force.
Also as you are aware, the commander of the task force has been made the Chief of Army Staff of the Nigerian Armed Forces. A new one has been appointed. But that does not stop the operation from taking off, hopefully by tomorrow the operation will kick off.
“As usual, we are also pleading with all of us, irrespective of which country, to give this task force a chance to operate and succeed”, he added Aliyu disclosed that “Nigeria is contributing about 3,500 strong military men to the 10,000 joint task force”.
Cameroonians and Nigerians line the route from the airport to the Unity Palace dancing and waving to President Buhari.
Most of the Shops located along the airport road had their gates shut as they troupe out to welcome the Nigerian President President Buhari was also scheduled to meet Nigerians residing in Cameroon at the Hilton Hotel in Cameroon, to enable him interface with them too.
President Biya is also expected to host Buhari and members of his delegation, including state governors, to a state dinner. Meanwhile, the president has as
sured his host that Nigeria will abide by the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the Bakassi Peninsula.
Speaking at an interactive session with Nigerians living in Cameroon during his two-day working and friendly visit to the country, President Buhari said his administration would ensure the faithful implementation of the Green Tree Agreement, which regulates the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroon
. “Since Nigeria allowed the case to go to court (ICJ), and we lost, we have to abide by it”, the President said in response to a question from a Nige
rian on the issue.
President Buhari, who is on his maiden visit to the country after his inauguration on May 29, said his administration had yet to articulate a foreign policy for Nigeria beyond what was captured in the All Progressives Congress (APC) party’s manifesto. “However we will make our embassies more efficient and improve our relations with other countries”, he said.
The President urged Nigerians in Diaspora to be law abiding in their host countries and told representatives of the over four million Nigerians living in Cameroon to continue to live in peace and harmony with Cameroonians.
On the plight of some 40,000 Nigerian refugees in Cameroon, who were forced to flee their homes because of Boko Haram terrorists, the President said the Federal government would ensure their safe return and rehabilitation in the shortest possible time.
“We also have about 1.5 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria and we have a programme of rehabilitation and reintegration into the society for them, which involves providing shelter and schools to the displaced persons”, he said.
Responding to a question on the voting rights for Nigerians in Diaspora, the President promised that his administration would revisit the issue, which would require legislation from the National Assembly.
Later in a prepared text read to the Nigerian community, the President pledged to do everything possible toward bringing positive change to Nigeria. “Despite the numerous challenges confronting us, the future of our country is bright. You all know very well that your fellow Nigerians are resilient, hardworking and patriotic.
“These qualities have always seen us through our most difficult national challenges and they will do so now”, he noted. On the fight against Boko Haram, the President assured Nigerians that the current security challenges are not insurmountable.
He said Nigeria was working with all her neighbours, including Cameroon, to fight and stand firmly against all forms of terror and trans-border crimes.
He appealed for patience and vigilance from Nigerians to ensure that youths are not lured into joining “misguided groups.’’ “We are determined to end this callousness against our innocent citizens.
“The defence of the territorial integrity of Nigeria and the protection of lives and properties of Nigerians and all those who live in the country are out top priorities.
We shall explore all reasonable options to enable us to bring this rebellion to an end”, he vowed. President Buhari will depart Cameroon for Abuja Today after addressing a joint press conference in Yaounde with his host, President Paul Biya.