Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, his Chadian counterpart, Idris Deby and others are currently attending an extra-ordinary meeting of Heads of State and Governments of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) in Abuja to adopt a report on the Boko Haram insurgency.
Other African leaders attending the crucial meeting are President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic, and Prime Minister of Cameroon, Philemon Yang, who represented President Paul Biya.
President Buhari in his address declared the the fight against Boko Haram as “a fight to the finish.”
The meeting was a follow up to the one earlier held in N’djamena, the Chadian capital last month. It was convened for the adoption of a report of the LCBC security and defence committee on the Boko Haram insurgency.
In his remark during the opening ceremony, President Buhari who is the chairman of the LCBC, said the adoption of the report of the committee would bring dynamism into the fight against the insurgents.
He reiterated that the Boko Haram war must be won, adding that the time had come for evil of the Boko Haram to be brought to a definite end.
“This was necessitated by the resurgence of attacks, particularly on the military, and the abduction of civilians for ransom across our borders by Boko Haram with the support of international terrorists who have infiltrated our sub-region.
“Our meeting today will consider the report of the Committee we set up during our last summit on the way forward. I thank the committee for meeting the deadline assigned to it and I hope that their recommendations will bring a new dynamism in the fight against Boko Haram and their international affiliates.
“The Lake Chad region has suffered decades of neglect and poor infrastructural development; the Boko Haram crisis in the last eight years has worsened its already bad situation. We must take cognisance of the fact that sustainable growth and development of the sub-region is dependent on the quick attainment of peace and stability in the area.
“We must put an end to the crisis in the sub-region to enable meaningful development for its people. We must remain resolute and committed in our collective efforts at attaining peace as well as eradicating terrorism and violent extremism from the sub-region.
“The time has come for the evil of Boko Haram to be brought to a definitive end. I’m sure that this summit will take the right decisions in this regard. This is a fight to the finish. We must, and we will, by the grace of God, wipe out terrorism from our sub-region.”
Buhari insisted that “while executing the war against the Boko Haram terrorists, we must not be oblivious of the fact that military may not provide the desired results alone. There is the pressing need to pursue simultaneously both military and developmental approach to the challenges of the region.
“We will work towards strengthening of Civil-Military Cooperation in the fragile areas of the region to accelerate the implementation of the Regional Stabilization Strategy.
“Our military strategy must be complemented by the mobilisation and deployment of adequate resources to ensure the reconstruction, rehabilitation and rebuilding of civil authority, as well as the provision of relief and succour for the affected. The Inter Basin Water Transfer project to recharge the disappearing Lake Chad would also go a long way in the restoration of sustainable peace and security to these areas.”
He commended the military saying: “I must now pay tribute to our gallant troops who remain focused and committed to the task of ensuring the safety and stability of the region. I urge you to remain steadfast in executing the war with the highest sense of honour, professionalism and patriotism.
“To our esteemed partners and the larger international community, we appreciate your valuable support and contributions in helping with the resultant humanitarian crisis. We thank you for intelligence sharing and operations in our determination to defeat Boko Haram and its affiliates. We, however, solicit greater cooperation and additional assistance to the LCBC/MNJTF to completely end the menace of Boko Haram and eradicate it from the sub-region. Such an outcome would add to global peace and security.”
The closed session is expected to last for five hours.
At the end of the meeting, a communiqué would be issued on the new strategy to be adopted in the fight against Boko Haram.