President Muhammadu Buhari has sent the minister of defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan Ali (rtd), to the neighbouring Republic of Chad for an urgent meeting with President Idris Deby and his defence counterpart.
This is sequel to the deteriorating security situation on the Nigeria–Chad Border that has led to the increasingly devastating Boko Haram terrorist activities in the area.
Diplomatic sources that do not want to be named in Abuja said Nigeria has a Chad problem in the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) put together to secure the Lake Chad basin areas and repel Boko Haram terror attacks against all the countries adjoining the Lake.
The sources revealed that Chad is believed to be having its own internal security challenges and this has reportedly led to the country pulling out its troops manning its own border around the Lake Chad.
“That lacuna is being exploited by the Boko Haram terrorists, who go in and out of Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon to launch terrorist acts. This is a clear illustration of the fact that terrorism is beyond national borders,” a source said.
When pressed by State House correspondents, the senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, said he was aware that the defence minister was going to Chad but he was unaware what his mission was.
Recent reports that Boko Haram killed 44 soldiers and nine farmers in three days of attacks on some villages in Borno State have left many Nigerians sad and bewildered especially as the terrorists were thought to be a waning force.
According to the report, which quoted security sources, the Islamic State West Africa Province, a Boko Haram splinter group, killed at least 44 soldiers in attacks on three military bases at the weekend. However, there are conflicting figures of casualties, with some claiming it is higher than 44.
LEADERSHIP Weekend gathered that miffed by the reversal against the troops, the president has acted swiftly to address the situation by dispatching the defence minister to Chad to hold crucial security meeting with the neighbouring country’s leaders towards adopting joint effort to stem the resurgence of Boko Haram terrorists in the Lake Chad area.
On Thursday, the Nigerian Senate bemoaned the brutal killing of 44 soldiers of the 157 Task Force Battalion by the terrorists who had overrun their base in Melete, Borno State.
The senators observed a minute silence for the fallen soldiers who had paid the ultimate price in defence of their fatherland. They also directed the committees on army and defence to investigate the killings and examine the welfare and well-being of troops in the frontlines of the counter-insurgency operations.
They also resolved to visit the officers and men of the armed forces involved in the battle against the insurgents in the North East.