How Russia/Ukraine conflict, violence in Sahel compound terrorism, by Buhari
Nigeria spends over $209m on MNJTF in six years
The simmering Russia/Ukraine conflict has conspired with other violent situations in the Sahel region of West Africa to compound Boko Haram terrorism in the Lake Chad Basin region.
President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed this, yesterday, in his opening address at the 16th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to Buhari, who is also Chairman of the Summit, weapons and fighters are already slipping into the region from Russia and Ukraine, heightening the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, a situation he said calls for reawakening of border security of countries in the region.
The President noted that though much had been done to decimate the strength of Boko Haram and other violent extremist groups in the region, terrorists’ threats still persist.
He said: “I am glad to inform my dear brothers that in keeping with that decision, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) has since then successfully conducted three major operations: Ops YANCIN TAFKI (I&II) and Ops Lake Sanity I, with, the fourth one, Ops Lake Sanity II, being planned.
The next phase of the operation will take cognisance of lessons learnt from previous exercises and effectively consolidate the gains attained by preceding operations.
“I am glad to note that during the execution of Ops Lake Sanity I, regrouping terrorists in the Lake Chad Islands were effectively decimated. It must, however, be stated that despite the successes recorded by gallant troops of the MNJTF and various ongoing national operations in the region, threats still lurk in the region.”
Buhari added: “Regrettably, the situation in the Sahel and the raging war in Ukraine serve as major sources of weapons and fighters that bolster the ranks of the terrorists in Lake Chad Region.
“A substantial proportion of the arms and ammunition procured to execute the war in Libya continues to find its way to the Lake Chad Region and other parts of the Sahel. Weapons being used for the war in Ukraine and Russia are equally beginning to filter to the region.
“This illegal movement of arms into the region has heightened the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, which continues to threaten our collective peace and security in the region. There is, therefore, the urgent need for expedited collaborative actions by our border control agencies and other security services to stop the circulation of all illegal weapons in the region.”
Meanwhile, in his welcome address to the Summit, the Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), Ambassador Mamman Nuhu, disclosed that Nigeria had remitted a total of $209,075,748 to the funding of MNJTF between 2015 and 2021.
He said: “I want to avail myself of this opportunity to express our deep appreciation to your Excellencies for your unwavering support to your respective MNJTF sectors, regardless of other challenges that equally demand similar support from you.
“Special thanks also to the Chairman of the Summit for his tireless support to the MNJTF. The last remittance of the sum of $10,500,000 on April 6, 2021, brought the total direct disbursement of Nigeria to the MNJTF to $209,075,748 from 2015 to 2021.”