From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Following the death of Chadian President Idriss Deby, the Federal Government of Nigeria has admitted that the absence of Chad’s influence on the border may worsen Nigeria and neigbouring countries security situation.
The federal government said it will beef up security around the country’s borders, particularly with the Republic of Chad, following ongoing unrest in the country, which the government says may escalate insecurity.
Minister of Defence Maj Gen Bashir Magashi (retd) said the current attacks on police formations in the South East is an affront to Nigeria’s national security and warned that such attacks would no longer be tolerated.
He added that the killers of 12 soldiers in Benue State will be brought to book, saying: ‘Whoever touches the military has no regard for this country.’ He disclosed that nine of the 12 weapons belonging to the murdered soldiers have been recovered and arrests are being made.
The minister made thr disclosures to State House Correspondents on Thursday in Abuja at the special weekly briefing organised by the Presidential communication team.
Magashi said in order to prevent a situation where bandits will infiltrate the borders, the influx of refugees into the country will be controlled.
‘If there’s no security in Chad there will be a lot of trouble for all neighboring countries. But, thankfully, we have a lot of ongoing military cooperation, through the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF), which we expect to continue. We remain mindful of our borders and developments in Chad,’ the minister said.
‘When we heard of this unfortunate killing of the Chadian President, we knew that the problem is bound to be replicated among neigbouring countries and Nigeria will be most hit by his absence. If there is insecurity in Chad, there will be a lot of problems. But thank God, we have a lot of military activities with Chad, Niger, Cameroon, we have all that military concern. So, in the name of that multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF), all these countries, including Chad, are contributing countries for the operation. What we hope is that very soon we will find a secure way for the continuation of the activities we’re supposed to be doing. The problem is now going to be aggravated. Because we are not sure the direction in which that country is going to face. But I assure you that we are mindful of our borders, we are mindful of the development, and politically the government is putting its head together to see how best they can restore the peace in that country.
‘So, security-wise, we’re beefing up all borders to ensure that refugees do not flow into a country. Even Nigerians there I’m sure some of them would like to come back. We have to make ready. Let’s prepare for them and not allow them to come in and use others to come because of the problems that they will create.
On the issue of weapons and armament. We are also afraid of that. Before now, Chad has been the one stopping most of these infiltration of weapons and the rest of it… from Libya down to Nigeria. It’s very easy now because the absence of the influence of Chad in that route. So, we also have to take care of that. I think we are on top of the situation. All we are praying is that African countries will find a solution to the problem of Chad and get in a more corrective society as respected by international organisations.’