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Buhari, Chadian Leader Mull Plan to Tackle Boko Haram

President-elect, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (r), welcoming the Chadian President, Idris Derby at the Defense House in Abuja...  Photo: Sunday Aghaeze
  •  Ambassadors of 16 countries meet president-elect
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The President-elect, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), and the visiting Chadian President Idris Derby monday held discussions on how both countries will collaborate to find a lasting solution to the security threat posed by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Buhari, who met with Derby for about 40 minutes behind closed doors at his temporary office in the Defence House, Abuja, told journalists that their discussions centred around concerns over cross-border insurgency and the damaging impact on the infrastructure and business life of the people.
He said both leaders agreed that as soon as the administration comes into being, a comprehensive review of the security situation would be carried out with a view to taking new measures to restore regional stability.
"We know how Chad, Niger and Cameroun has been helping Nigeria to secure our border and you know this helps in commerce and industry. Due to the insurgency attacks, some of the bridges were blown up while infrastructure were destroyed.
"These were some of the things that we discussed and God willing, when the administration (Buhari’s) is in place, we will sit and make sure we have a comprehensive review of the security situation in the North-east and how it affects the country," he said.
While explaining his mission, Derby said he had to congratulate Buhari on his election and re-emphasise the common bond of relationship existing between Nigeria and Chad.
He also said that their discussions touched on other issues of common interest, especially how to have a joint action to handle the issue of Boko Haram.
He said Chad and Nigeria are facing the same challenges on how to meet the expectations of the people, adding that both countries are members of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and together with other members are considering how to bring about peace, stability and security in the sub-region with the core issue of Boko Haram.
"We discussed issues of common interest which we will pursue together and to have a joint action to handle the issue of Boko Haram and will overcome it and by the grace of God, peace and security will prevail in the sub-region.
"This visit is aimed at congratulating the Nigerian people and leaders for achieving one of the greatest elections ever seen in Africa. Nigeria and Chad are two countries with one people. We have many things in common, a long tradition and a long history together.
"In this sense, the visit here to meet with the president-elect is the same as coming to congratulate President Jonathan and to enhance the bilateral relations aimed at meeting the common challenges. The meeting is in continuity of the relationship between the two states and they discussed issues of common perspectives to the two sides and what they have to achieve," he said.
Also yesterday, the president-elect received in audience ambassadors from 16 countries from Africa, Asia and Europe.
Speaking to journalists shortly after holding discussion with Buhari, the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Masala Otsuka, said the ongoing peaceful transition of power shows that democracy is deeply rooted in Nigeria, adding that other African countries should emulate Nigeria.
He said Japan is eager to expand bilateral relations with Nigeria, adding that his country is going to send a special envoy to attend the inauguration ceremony.
The Swedish ambassador, who was also at the Defence House yesterday to congratulate Buhari, expressed his willingness to strengthen relations with Nigeria.
The ambassador of Finland Pirjo Suomela Chowdhury told journalists that her country would collaborate with the incoming government in the development of the education sector.
The Serbian ambassador said he tried to draw the attention of Buhari to the usually huge expectations the people have about a new government, advising that he should be mindful of this and work towards satisfying the Nigerian people.
Ambassador of Demark said his country is re-opening its embassy in Nigeria closed down 20 years ago due to financial constraints.
Other countries' ambassadors who visited Buhari yesterday included Algeria, India, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait.
Earlier, President Derby had expressed regret that the Nigerian and Chadian armies were not engaged in joint operation in the war to completely eradicate insurgency in the northeastern part of Nigeria which had also spilled into neighbouring countries in that region.
Derby said if the two armies had been undertaking joint operation, probably they would have achieved more results in the war against the terrorists group, Boko Haram.
When asked about speculations that he knew the hiding place of Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, the Chadian president told State House correspondents that: "I cannot tell you today that I know where Shekau is hiding and even if I knew I won't tell you."
Derby spoke in French and was interpreted in English while fielding questions from State House correspondents, shortly after he visited President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa.
Asked about the relationship between the multinational task force fighting in Lake Chad and the South African mercenaries fighting with them, Derby replied: "I have no information concerning mercenaries from South Africa.
In another development, the State House correspondent of a German Radio, Deutche Welle, Alhaji Ubale Musa, who asked Derby the question on the South African mercenaries, had his Villa's accreditation tag withdrawn by the Villa security.
By this implication, Ubale will no longer be allowed into the Presidential Villa.
On his mission to the Villa, Derby said he came to consult with Jonathan, adding that  Nigeria and Chad have a lot of similarities in fighting insurgents.
According to him, "Ii is true Boko Haram has not been completely eradicated but they have been tremendously weakened. I did not want to wait and come during the inauguration of the new government, I thought I should come to consult with Mr. President, to congratulate him and to have this exchange and have overview of what we have been able to achieve in the fight against Boko Haram."
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