By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah
The President of Chad Republic, Marshal Idris Deby Itno, has said terrorism remains an issue in the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel region of Africa because the crusade against it has not been adequate.
President Itno was at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa Abuja on a one-day official visit, during which he had bilateral discussions with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Responding to questions from State House Correspondents after the meeting with President Buhari, President Itno said that the four countries sharing the Lake Chad Basin had put together a formidable military formation, the Multinational Joint Task Force (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 at 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.
He, however expressed optimism that with the new activities 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.
“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, that 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.
“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, President Itno 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.