Buhari Woos Qatar On Investments In Refineries, Power, Economy

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has asked Qatar to invest in Nigeria’s refineries, power, economy and other sectors as he attempts to improve bilateral relations between both countries.

The President played host to the Emir of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, at State House, Abuja, on Tuesday.

In a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the recharge of Lake Chad Basin was also amongst the issues discussed by both leaders.

“We invite you to invest in our refineries, pipelines, power sector, aviation, agriculture, education, and many others so that you can have your management here to oversee the investment. We need your expertise.

“We need help with the recharge of Lake Chad, as it is not a project that the concerned countries can handle alone.

“Recharging the lake will bring back fishing, farming, animal husbandry, and the youths won’t be attracted by insurgency or illegal migration.

“We want Qatar to be involved because of the humanitarian nature of the endeavour,” President Buhari said.

READ ALSO: Buhari Condemns Gombe Killings, Condoles With Victims’ Families

Sheikh Hamad Al-Thani, whose visit is his first to Nigeria, lauded the relationship between both countries and urged that it should be solidified.

“We share a lot of similarities in different areas. We need to enhance bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

We are willing to do a lot more with Nigeria, and will continue to work on investment opportunities of mutual benefit,” he added.

“The relationship between our countries is very good. We just have to build on it,” the emir said.

Insurgency: Buhari, Other Lake Chad Basin Leaders Meet In Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari and other leaders of the Lake Chad Basin countries are currently in a meeting in Abuja.

Presidents of Chad, Niger, Central African Republic and Cameroon are in attendance at the meeting and President Buhari is the chairman.

The leaders during the meeting considered the report of the Defence and Security committee set up by the leaders in Ndjamena, Chad earlier in December.

The committee’s report is expected to overhaul strategies to counter Boko Haram and other security threat in order to stabilise the region.

READ ALSO: Army Lifts Suspension Of UNICEF’s Activities In North East

President Buhari during the opening ceremony of the meeting said he believes that military strategy must be complemented by the mobilisation and deployment of adequate resources.

According to him, this will ensure reconstruction, rehabilitation, and rebuilding of civil authority and provision of relief to affected persons.

The meeting holds a month after President Buhari traveled to N’djamena Chad to convene a similar meeting to review the security situation and intensify the efforts to end the insurgency in the region.

Lake Chad Basin Governors Pledge To End Terrorism

 

Governors of the Lake Chad Basin have unanimously agreed that the war against terrorism would have to be fought from all fronts.

The two-day event was held in Borno had governors from Borno and Adamawa states, while Chad, Niger and Cameron Republics from outside Nigeria.

The newly inaugurated forum believes that tackling the receding Lake Chad, climate change, and other development issues cannot work without security.

The Lake Chad Basin Governors’ Forum centered its meeting on Regional Cooperation on Stabilization, Peacebuilding, and Sustainable Development.

Community leaders, religious leaders and opinion leaders, as well as key stakeholders from the international community, actively participated in the conversations.

While the top agenda is how to salvage the dwindling fortunes of the region owing to climate change and Lake Chad’s recession, insecurity in the region was noted as a stumbling block.

The Multinational Joint Task Force confirms that a large number of the Boko Haram elements have now moved to the Lake Chad islands.

A reality that threatens to be a setback to the noble resolve of the Forum and everyone in the room.

The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambers admits that Boko Haram still constitutes a grave threat to the stability and survival of people in the Lake Chad region.

He assures that the UN and the international community would continue to support the region to ensure Boko Haram insurgents were routed in the Lake Chad.

A ten-point communique at the end of the closed sessions contains the resolve of the governors to keep communication channels open for cross-border response to crisis and solutions.

The forum also resolved to make the meeting an annual event with the Niger Republic to host the next meeting in 2019.

The Lake Chad Governors Forum meeting was convened and facilitated by the UNDP.

Presidency Cancels Wednesday’s FEC Meeting For Lake Chad Basin Conference

The weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) which holds on Wednesdays will not be holding this week.

In a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, he said the cancellation of the meeting is due to the participation of President Muhammadu Buhari, and a significant number of ministers at the High-Level Meeting of the International Conference on Lake Chad Basin.

The meeting is expected to hold on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

AFP

The two-day conference, organised by the government in Abuja and the Lake Chad Basin Commission, aims to “save the lake from extinction”, according to UNESCO, which is backing the talks.

A $6.5-million (5.3-million-euro) research and conservation programme will involve Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, whose borders meet on the lake, as well as the Central African Republic.

Troops from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria are fighting a battle against Boko Haram jihadists in the remote region.

Lake Chad is the principal source of freshwater for 40 million people.

But climate change and water mismanagement have contributed to a staggering 90 per cent decline of the lake’s surface over the past 40 years.

As it dries up and hunger rises, the region has become fragile and Boko Haram jihadists have targeted subsistence farmers and fishermen to fill their ranks.

The ongoing Islamist insurgency has forced tens of thousands of people to cross borders in search of food and safety.

The UN estimates that more than two million people have been uprooted from their homes and 10.7 million are in need of food handouts to survive.

UNIMAID Workers Abducted By Boko Haram Will Regain Freedom Soon – Gov Shettima

Shettima, Borno, Northern Leaders, Northern Nigeria

The Governor of Borno State has said all hope is not lost for the University of Maiduguri workers who were abducted by Boko Haram in July as talks are ongoing for their release.

Governor Kashim Shettima gave the assurance in an exclusive interview with Channels Television’s political correspondent, Seun Okinbaloye.

“I believe discussions are currently ongoing. I would rather not comment on this issue so as not to jeopardise the lives of those hostages. But I can assure you that discussions are ongoing and very soon they will regain their freedom,” the governor said.

The hostages were among the UNIMAID staff and workers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation who were ambushed in July with more than 20 members of the team and soldiers meant to provide security for them killed by the insurgents.

Shortly after the ambush, Boko Haram had released a video showing three of them appealing to the Federal Government to meet the demands of the terrorists and secure their release.

Governor Shettima, in giving the assurance that they would regain their freedom soon, expects exploration activities to continue in the Chad Basin despite the attack.

He said he had witnessed the flaring of gas in the region more than 20 years ago and that there had appeared to be more gas than oil in a well that was explored then.

With the growing importance of gas, the governor said it was important to pursue the exploration of the Lake Chad basin.

“Gas has become the product of choice. Oil will become to Nigeria what coal is to Newcastle in the next 20 to 30 years but gas will continue to be relevant in the foreseeable future,” he said.

“So, I believe that even for the sake of national stability and complementarity, the issue of exploring for oil and gas in the Lake Chad Basin should be pursued with vigour.”

UNGA: Aisha Buhari, Wives Of Lake Chad Basin Presidents Collaborate To Help Refugees

On the sidelines of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Wife of the President of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari and other wives of Presidents in Lake Chad basin has held a meeting in New York to mobilise resources and discuss issues that concern refugee women and girls.

The joint humanitarian project which is held in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) is aimed to support refugee women and girls in the Lake Chad Basin region.

Wives of Presidents of the four Lake Chad basin countries – Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon were in attendance as the programme was chaired by Toyin Saraki, representing Aisha Buhari.

Saraki at the event spoke about Nigeria’s collaborative effort at handling the problem of insurgency and giving succor to the internally displaced persons in the region.

READ ALSO: Buhari’s UNGA Speech: It Is A Good Time To Be Nigerian, Says Adesina

“The issue goes beyond aid, the issue requires all the countries affected by the region to come together and strategy, not just to help the internally displaced people but to begin to plan a way forward out of this problem. To actually rebuild their lives.

“I am able to say Nigeria is leading the effort to really rehabilitate and restore the Lake Chad basin to its former prosperity which includes restoring peace and I have high hopes for this concerted efforts,” she said.

An estimated $1.5 billion is needed in 2017 to support 11million women and children refugees in the Lake Chad region.

Photos from the event…

Wife of Nigeria’s Senate President, Toyin Saraki representing Aisha Buhari at the event.

U.S. Africa Command Pledges Support For Nigeria

Army Discovers Boko Haram Terrorist Graves In BornoThe United States Africa Command has announced a strong commitment to Nigeria in its battle against insurgency, as well as other countries of the Lake Chad basin.

The Commander of U.S. AFRICOM, General Thomas Waldhauser, noted that information sharing with the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) was part of a continuous strategy to combat terrorism.

He told journalists after a lecture organised for Course 25 at the National Defence College, Abuja that the U.S. would continue to participate in the insurgency fight, as long as reports of progress tallies with the actuality.

Although General Waldhauser said intelligence of the military has in many ways come under scrutiny, he reiterated the need to enforce partnership with Africa towards development.

On his part, Commandant of the defence college, Rear Admiral Samuel Alade, said sharing information and an overall goal to develop capacity was very much the target for the command.

Other speakers at the event also stressed the need for the government to reinforce its initial push against Boko Haram terrorists with the support of friendly countries like the United States.

Humanitarian: U.S. Declares Additional $92m For Lake Chad Basin

Boko Haram, Humanitarian, U.S., Lake Chad BasinThe United States has announced about $92 million in additional humanitarian assistance to people affected by the ongoing conflict and severe food insecurity in Nigeria and throughout the Lake Chad Basin region.

With this announcement, the United States is providing at least $291 million in humanitarian assistance since the 2016 fiscal year to people affected by the Boko Haram-related conflict and the related humanitarian crisis.

A statement by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) revealed on Tuesday that the U.S. has continued to be the single largest humanitarian donor to the region.

“This new funding to United Nations and NGO partners will help tens of thousands of people receive critically needed humanitarian assistance, including food, water, shelter and services to address acute hygiene, protection, and nutritional needs.”

In Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad, the conflict has left more than 6.4 million people in need of emergency food assistance and displaced 2.6 million people.

The U.S. estimated that an additional $1 billion was needed to meet the humanitarian needs of the people in 2017.

They called on other donors to contribute additional humanitarian assistance for the millions of people in the region whose lives have been affected by Boko Haram insurgency.

End Of Boko Haram Is In Sight, Buhari Assures International Community

muhammadu-buhari-in-senegalNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday assured the international community that the end of Boko Haram terrorists is in sight.

President Buhari made the optimistic expression in Dakar, Senegal, even as he hailed the increased cooperation between Nigeria and its neighbours in the fight against terrorism.

Addressing audience at a Panel of Heads of State at the 3rd Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa, the President also assured the international community that the security situation in Nigeria had improved significantly.

“About a month ago, I spoke with the President of Chad and I was pleased that a number of Chadians and Nigeriens that were Boko Haram members are surrendering to him en-masse. The good news I have is that the end of the raining season has come in the North eastern region of Nigeria.

“Members of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) are in their respective positions and at an agreed time they will move simultaneously and spontaneously for us to see the end of Boko Haram. We are now operating in the Sambisa Forest and as far as Boko Haram is concerned in the Lake Chad Basin area, I think they are done for,” the President declared.

Looking For Any Kind Of Job

Highlighting the gains of the cooperation among the Lake Chad Basin Commission countries comprising Chad, Niger, Cameroon, Benin Republic and Nigeria, the Nigerian leader told the gathering that Boko Haram is no longer holding any territory or Local Government Area (LGA) Nigeria.

“Those who live in the North East know that Boko Haram is no longer holding a single territory in the 774 LGAs in Nigeria. But they have a system of using IEDs and they indoctrinate mostly teenage girls and send them to soft targets to churches, mosques and market places. That too is becoming very rare.

“I think Boko Haram shot themselves in the foot when they gave their ideology a religious connotation by killing children in their schools, people in the mosque and churches and shouting Allahu Akbar.

“This is a major contradiction as no religion advocates hurting the innocent. You can’t kill people and say Allahu Akbar. You either do not know what you are saying or you don’t believe it,”’ President Buhari said.

Niger Republic, Boko Haram
Boko Haram has in the past seven years pushed for an Islamic State and an end to Western education in the northeast region

A statement by a spokesman for the President Buhari, Mr Garba Shehu, said the Nigerian leader emphasised that the oil-rich nation was capable of surmounting its security challenges and appealed to the international community to focus more attention on addressing piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and unemployment in Nigeria.

“In the southern part of the country, stolen Nigerian crude is being illegally transported through the Gulf of Guinea and installations offshore are being subverted. We also have the problem of unemployment in Nigeria. With a population of 180 million people of which 65 per cent are under the age of 35, young Nigerians are looking for any kind of job to survive.

“We are addressing the situation (unemployment) by turning to agriculture and solid minerals because we are lucky to be blessed with arable land, water and resources,” the President noted.

Hundreds of Boko Haram Fighters Surrender In Chad

boko-haramBoko Haram, which has killed and kidnapped thousands of people, had seized an area approximately the size of Belgium in northeastern Nigeria by last year but has since lost significant ground amid growing regional military pressure.

Analyst and security sources think the fighters are probably recent recruits that Boko Haram has struggled to retain as it has ceded territory. Defections of Boko Haram fighters have been reported in Nigeria but are not known to have previously occurred on such a large scale.

“They surrendered to our troops on the front line in Lake Chad,” said Colonel Mohammad Dole, Chief Military Public Information Officer for the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) headquartered in Chad’s capital N’Djamena.

“The surrenders are taking place because of the firepower of our operations. The groups, many of them armed, have been arriving since September and their number keeps increasing,” he said.

Some 240 fighters, most off whom are Chadian, are now being held in detention along with their families, Dole said.

The MNJTF, with troops from Chad, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Benin and intelligence, training and logistical support from the United States, launched a regional operation in July against the group, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

It has since continued patrols around the waterways of Lake Chad – one of the world’s poorest regions whose villages were last year regularly struck by fighters, sometimes aboard canoes.

Around 2.6 million people have been displaced in the Lake Chad Basin where Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon meet.

Signs that regional armies are wresting back control of the Chadian part of the lake is significant since it had been a recruitment hub, even if the group never sought to conquer territory there, said Ryan Cummings, director of consultancy Signal Risk.

“Their presence in Chad was more for recruitment and for resources. Its strikes in the country were punitive,” he said, referring to revenge attacks on regional military heavyweight Chad, which has supplied 3,000 troops for the MNJTF.

Nigeria’s Executives Ratify Lake Chad Basin Charter

Lake-Chad-BasinThe Executive Arm of Government in Nigeria has ratified the Lake Chad Basin Charter signed in 2012.

The Charter was ratified at the meeting of the Federal Executive Council in Abuja on Wednesday.

It would be sent to the National Assembly for enactment into law.

Threatened By Climate Change

The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, who hinted reporters about the ratification after the council’s meeting, said the lake had been threatened by climate change and that effort was being made to ensure the lake is safe from extinction.

The council at the meeting looked at the last one year of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, assessing the progress so far, the challenges encountered and the tasks members of the council still have to tackle.

After the meeting the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said that the council also considered developments in the mining sector and looked at more exploration needed in that sector.

Poor monitoring had affected the activities of the ministry in terms of checking miners’ activities to ensure that it conforms with standards.

Do Something Urgent

To boost monitoring, however, the Federal Executive Council approved the direct procurement of four-wheel patrol vehicles produced by Nissan for Mines Inspectorate Division of the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

Dr. Fayemi cited the killing of miners in Zamfara State, saying that the ministry for over a decade, does not have surveillance vehicles to check such unfortunate incidence and oversee mining activities in other states.

According to him, the approval was a show of the commitment of the Buhari’s administration to developing mining activities in Nigeria.

The vehicles will cost 326,781 million Naira.

The assessment of the performance of the council is coming one year after the cabinet was constituted by President Buhari months after he was sworn in.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in August urged rich countries to do something urgent to save the Lake Chad from extinction, arising from the effects of climate change.

he made the call at a meeting with the Director-General of UNESCO, Mrs Irina Bokova, in Abuja.

President Buhari warned that the failure to regenerate the Lake Chad would lead to another round of migration by the people living in the areas.

The President said Nigeria and the other countries of the Lake Chad Basin lacked the billions of dollars required to channel water from the Congo Basin into the lake to check its rapid depletion.

“Those living in the Lake Chad region have suffered untold hardship and displacement because of the violence perpetrated by Boko Haram terrorists.

“If there is no farming and fishing, they will dare the desert to migrate.

“Unless the developed countries make concerted efforts to complete the feasibility study, mobilize resources and technology to start the water transfer from the Congo Basin, the Lake Chad will dry up.

“The people will go somewhere and they will create problems for those countries,” the President told the visiting UN official.

The lake is said to have shrunk by over 90 per cent in the last 50 years, a reason the Nigerian government is making efforts to save the lake.

Abubakar Says Quality Governance Critical To Nation Building

Abdulsalami Abubakar, Nation Building, Quality GovernanceFormer Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), says the quality of governance is a critical element in a sustainable peace building process.

General Abubakar noted that it would require full security and resumption of normalcy, to sustain the current efforts in ending the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s northern region.

He made the recommendation on Monday at the multi-purpose hall of the Modibbo Adama University of Technology in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.

The former military President delivered a speech on “Post-conflict Peace Building and Reconstruction in the Lake Chad Basin” at a conference in collaboration with the Nigerian Army.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, was the special guest at the event.

He informed the gathering about the mandate of the military in the fight against terror, its achievement so far and the role it plays in a post-war effort to rebuild and reconstruct liberated territories from Boko Haram terrorists.

General Buratai also briefed reporters about the Army’s position on the recent video of the purported Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau.

On his part, Adamawa State Governor, Mohammed Jibrilla, applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to ending insurgency, especially in northeast Nigeria.

Subsequently, General Abubakar in company of the Army Chief, Governor Jibrilla and other dignitaries proceeded to commission two hostels at the university.