Deby visits Jonathan, denies knowledge of Shekau’s whereabouts
• Reporter loses State House accreditation over embarrassing’ question
CHADIAN President, Idris Deby yesterday in Abuja, denied knowledge of the whereabouts of the leader of Boko Haram, Sheik Abubakar Shekau.
Deby’s denial is contrary to his previous widely reported claims that he had information regarding Shekau’s movement.
In a related development, the President-elect Maj-Gen Muhammadu Buhari yesterday met behind closed door with Deby.
And for daring to ask Deby a question about military activities in the Sambisa forest, considered embarrassing, the Deutsche Welle ( DW) Radio correspondent, Malam Ubale Musa yesterday had his State House accreditation withdrawn allegedly by security aides to President Goodluck Jonathan.
Both leaders who spoke to reporters at the end of the parley reiterated their resolve to end to the nefarious activities of the Boko Haram Islamists sect.
The Chadian President said he was on a congratulatory visit to the President-elect, adding that both countries brainstormed on how to bring about peace, stability and security in the sub region with the core issue of Boko Haram at the centre of the discourse.
Speaking with State House correspondents through an interpreter after he held a closed door meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa, Deby attributed the apparent failure to completely wipe out the terrorists, especially from the Sambisa forest to lack of coordination between Nigeria and his country’s troops.
He added: “it 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 the 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.
“As you all know we bothwork together to fight Boko Haram. I thought it was important that before the President leaves office, I will come for us to have overview of what we did together, what we achieved together in the fight against Boko Haram.
“It Is regrettable that the two armies that is the Nigerian army and the Chadian Army are working separately in the field, they are not undertaking joint operation. If they were operating jointly probably they would have achieved more results.”
He said he does not know the whereabouts of Shekau contrary to media reports quoting him as having claimed to know the movements of the Boko Haram leader, adding, “I cannot tell you today that I know where he is hiding and even if I knew, I will not tell you.”
Deby, also joined other African and world leaders in praising Jonathan for conceding defeat to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, noting that the action had saved the country and other African countries a lot of crisis.
On the relationship between the multinational task force fighting in Lake Chad and the South African mercenaries with them, he said, “I have no information concerning mercenaries from South Africa.
“Still on the issue of Boko Haram, in the Lake Chad Basin there are four countries Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and Niger that are currently securing the area. The four countries have managed to form a multinational mixed force that will metaphase into what is probably known as a Rapid Response Force that the African Union is trying to form for Africa.”
According to Deby :”Chad and Nigeria are facing the same challenges and how to meet the expectations of the people. Both countries are members of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the two countries, 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 which is being handled by the two countries.
Buhari, who spoke in the same vein, noted that his incoming government will sit down with the neighboring nations and come up with comprehensive review of the security situation in the North-east and how it affects Nigeria.
Musa had asked Deby to explain the relationship between the multinational task force fighting in the forest and the South African mercenaries fighting with them, to which the visiting leader claimed ignorance.
But the question reportedly angered President Jonathan , who asked of the identity of the reporter. When he was told, he further asked if he came with the visiting delegation, he was informed that the reporter in question was one of the State House correspondents, then the President went back to his office angry.
Shortly after, Musa was invited into the President’s office, where he encountered the Chief Security Officer ( CSO), who reportedly withdrew his tag. When he came out of the office, he was driven out in a Hi Lux van with registration number SH 639 and driven out via the gate used only by very important personalities (VIPs) popularly referred to as Service Gate.
Later Musa came back to the briefing room near the Aso Council to pick his lap top and other working tools, where he confirmed the withdrawal of his accreditation. He said the CSO appears not to be comfortable with the question he asked the visiting Chadian leader.
No official statement ,has however, been issued at press time.