President Idris Deby of Chad has praised President Muhammadu Buhari for his “wise decision’’ to relocate the Nigerian Military Command center from Abuja to Maiduguri, to speed up the defeat of the insurgent group, Boko Haram.
The Chadian President said the decision, which was announced in President Buhari’s inaugural address, was a right step towards restoring peace and security to states affected by terrorism, and the sub-region.
He assured President Buhari, who visited Chad Thursday, that his country will continue to work with Nigeria to achieve lasting peace and security in the sub-region, given their historic, cultural and economic ties.
The two presidents, Thursday, in N’Djamena reaffirmed the commitment of their countries to greater cooperation in the fight against Boko Haram.
According to a communiqué issued at the end of President Buhari’s one-day official visit to Chad, both leaders agreed on the need to quickly make the Multi-National Joint Task Force fully operational to effectively combat terrorism in North-East Nigeria and “everywhere” that Boko Haram operates.
Messrs. Buhari and Deby called on the international community to provide the Lake Chad Basin Commission and neighbouring countries with all necessary support to combat terrorism and insurgency
“Both heads of state agreed that the war on Boko Haram should be supported by emergency development initiatives in areas affected by this insurgency group,” the communiqué said. “This will help to overcome the harmful effects faced by local populations.”
President Buhari paid tribute to the gallantry of Chadian soldiers who have engaged in operations against Boko Haram and condoled the families of their comrades who were killed in action.
While in the Chadian capital, President Buhari also held a closed-door meeting with Major-General Tukur Buratai of Nigeria, who was recently appointed Force Commander of the MNJTF, with headquarters in N’Djamena.
Mr. Buhari called on member countries of the Lake Chad Commission to redouble their efforts to intensify the operations of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) established to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency.
Speaking at bilateral talks between Nigeria and Chad, President Buhari noted that the security of Nigeria and her neighbours were intrinsically linked, adding that this makes it essential that they cooperate on security issues in a robust and sustained manner.
The president said he was quite certain that when it becomes fully deployed and functional, the MNJTF, which comprises Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon, will be able to secure and stabilize all the areas affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
The President thanked Chad for her invaluable support in the fight against insurgency and terrorism.
“Your troops have stood shoulder to shoulder and fought gallantly with ours in the fight against the forces of evil.
“This is a remarkable show of good neighbourliness, which we must reinforce in the years ahead,’’ he told President Idriss Deby.
President Buhari, who is on his first visit to Chad, after assuming office as President of Nigeria, expressed concern that the insurgency has taken a huge toll on citizens of both countries, many of whom have been forced to flee their homes.
The President said the harrowing images of displaced citizens of both countries, in search of safety and succour, must spur their governments and others in the sub-region to do more “to restore their dignity and give them the relief they need”.
On the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Chad, President Buhari noted said both countries were bound by “nature’’, adding that they must therefore work together to find lasting solutions to issues of border management, migration and movement of goods and services.
The President, who had earlier thanked President Deby for attending his inauguration ceremony on May 29 in Abuja, said he would return to Nigeria with the assurance that Nigeria and Chad are poised to intensify their cooperation.