President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday kicked against a proposed guideline of the Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin that recommended six months duration for change of the command and control structure of the Multinational Joint Task Force.
He urged his colleagues to allow Nigeria retain the position of the Force Commander of the MJTF throughout the period of the war against insurgency.
Buhari made the appeal in his opening remarks at an extra-ordinary meeting of the commission’s Heads of State and Government held at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
A Nigerian, Maj.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, was recently appointed the Force Commander.
The President argued that military operations that are subjected to rapid change of command and control structures would not be efficient.
He said Nigeria should be allowed to retain the position of the commander since the country would be providing the bulk of the troops and the main theatre of the war is on Nigerian soil.
Buhari also stressed the need to strengthen cross border patrol and intelligence sharing, adding that efforts must be targeted at limiting the insurgents’ capacity to access funds and weapons
Setting the tone for the meeting, the President said the parley was premised on common resolve and commitment of member states to maintain the momentum in degrading the capacity of the insurgents until they are completely defeated.
He said it was also meant to mitigate the suffering which had been imposed on the civilian population by the nefarious activities of the insurgents and the terrorists.
He added that the meeting also afforded them an opportunity to finalise the instruments of the operations of force in order to give life to the joint military campaign to decisively defeat the insurgents.
He added, “You will recall in my inaugural address on May 29, 2015, I affirmed that I will consult regularly with heads of government of our immediate neighborhood and I have within four days of my assumption of duty as President embarked on a thank you visits to the Presidents of Niger and Chad.
The meeting was attended by President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic; President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad Republic and President Boni Yayi of Benin Republic.
Cameroonian President was represented by his Minister of Defence.
Source: The Punch