Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari and his colleagues of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), have renewed their commitment to end the Boko Haram insurgency.
To this end, the regional leaders agreed to seek the support of community leaders to strengthen the fight against terrorism.
The leaders made their position known in a communiqué issued at the end of one-day summit convened by President Buhari in Abuja.
The regional leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to the accelerated implementation of the Regional Stabilisation Strategy in the areas of Lake Chad affected by the Boko Haram crisis.
The Regional Stabilisation Strategy was recently endorsed by the African Union Peace and Security Council.
The leaders, therefore, agreed to implement Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) within the limits of available resources to provide immediate relief to the communities affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.
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While expressing appreciation to the African Union Peace and Security Council for renewing the yearly mandate of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) for the year 2019, the leaders also commended partners and international community for their support and contributions.
President Buhari and his colleagues were urged to extend additional assistance to the LCBC/MNJTF to eradicate the Boko Haram insurgency and to reinforce global peace and security.
The regional leaders also directed the Committee of the Chiefs of Defence Staff to meet regularly to assess the security situation and the efforts being made to bring an end to the insurgency.
They also thanked President Buhari for his inspiring leadership in his capacity as Chairman of the Summit of Heads of States and Government of Lake Chad Basin Commission.
The sub-regional leaders who attended the meeting included: President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic; Prof. Faustin-Archange Touadera of the Central African Republic, Idriss Deby Itno of the Republic of Chad and Patrice Talon of the Republic of Benin.
President Paul Biya of Cameroun was represented by the country’s Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, at the meeting.
Also in attendance were the Ministers of Defence of Lake Chad Basin Commission Member Countries and the Chiefs of Defence Staff of Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin Republic.
Earlier, Buhari had declared that this, “is a fight to the finish.”
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.
According to him, “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 (8) years has worsened its already bad situation. We must take cognizance 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 am 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 Stabilisation Strategy.
“Our military strategy must be complemented by the mobilization and deployment of adequate resources to ensure the reconstruction, rehabilitation and rebuilding of civil authority, as well as the provision of relief and succor 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 honor, 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.”
At the end of the meeting, a communiqué issued on the new strategy to be adopted in the fight against Boko Haram said the leaders:
“Renewed their commitment to the fight against Boko Haram terrorist with a view to bringing a definitive end to the insurgency;
“Reaffirmed their commitment to the accelerated implementation of the regional stabilisation strategy in the areas of Lake Chad affected by Boko Haram crisis which was recently endorsed by the African union peace and security council.
“Agreed, in this context, to implement Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) within the limits of available resources to provide immediate relief to the communities affected by Boko Haram insurgency.
“Recognised the important role of local community leaders in the fight against terrorism.
“Agreed to seek the support of the community leaders to strengthen the fight against terrorism;
“Expressed appreciation to the African union peace and security council for renewing the yearly mandate of the multinational joint task force for the year 2019;
“Expressed appreciation to partners and international community for their support and contribution, and urged them to extend additional assistance to the LCBC/MNJTF to eradicate the Boko Haram insurgency to reinforce global peace and security; and
“Directed the committee of the chief of Defence staff to meet regularly to assess the security situation and the efforts being made to bring an end to the insurgency.”