Even though the minister declined to grant an interview to journalists, his visit may not be unconnected with the recent phase of attacks allegedly carried out by ISWAP, the Boko Haram faction in the Lake Chad Basin.
“Muhammadu Buhari has asked me to convey his goodwill to all of you for your doggedness, resilience and hard work you’ve been putting in the northeast sector of our operations.
My purpose of coming here is to see all of you, discuss with your colleagues from Chad and see how we can improve our operational efficiency.”
Magashi while addressing the troops said he has been talking to Commanding Officers and assured that the troops’ welfare will be adequately taken care of.
“We have discussed at length with your officers they have told us your problems and everything that is needed for you to improve the conduct of this operation our prayer is that you continue with the good work you have been doing. And ensure that all that you’re doing will not be left unattended we will do our best to see that your welfare and motivation are well taken care of by the grace of God all of you will go back to your families and continue with your normal training in your career and the government and the people of Nigeria will never forget our heroes who have done us proud but have lost their lives,” Magashi told the troops.
The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) has killed 42 Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists during a clearance operation on Friday.
According to a statement by the Chief of Military Public Information, MNJTF, Colonel Timothy Antigha, activities of the terrorists were disrupted at Doron Naira, an island in Lake Chad.
He added that other terrorists escaped with gunshot wounds and the troops recovered arms and ammunition.
“At about 6 am yesterday, 21 June 2019, troops embarked on clearance operation to Doron Naira (an island in Lake Chad), in a bid to disrupt ISWAP’s activities on the island and adjoining localities. Troops effectively suppressed ISWAP and successfully conducted the clearance operation.
“At the end of the engagement, the following statistics were recorded; 42 terrorists neutralized, several others escaped with gunshot wounds, 2 Gun trucks destroyed, 3 Motorcycles destroyed, 2 Light machine guns recovered, 2 AK 47 Riffles recovered.”
Troops of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and national forces have neutralized over 20 terrorists operating around Arege, Malkonory and Tumbum Rego general area of Lake Chad region.
The operation which occurred in the early hours on Tuesday against Islamic State terrorists got more success after troops recovered and destroyed several gun trucks, arms and ammunition.
In a statement by the Chief of Military Public Information, MNJTF, Colonel Timothy Antigha, four personnel sustained injuries, but are receiving treatment.
In continuation of the ongoing offensive operations to oust Islamic State terrorists from the Lake Chad Area, troops of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in conjunction with national forces, in an early morning raid today, neutralized over 20 terrorists operating around Arege, Malkonory and Tumbum Rego general area.
Similarly, several gun trucks, arms and ammunition, as well as a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device, which was meant to disrupt troops advance was also destroyed.”
President Muhammadu Buhari will host leaders of Lake Chad Basin Commission in an informal summit on the sidelines of Democracy Day and second term inauguration celebrations in Abuja on June 12, 2019.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday.
According to him, the meeting will focus on bringing up new strategies to end the menace of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region.
Ahead of the summit, Shehu said that President Buhari held a bilateral meeting with President Idris Deby Itno of Chad Republic in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, where both leaders attended the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit.
At the meeting, President Buhari said it was time for a new way forward that completely removes the threat of terrorism from Lake Chad sub-region.
He noted that since elections were over, he would have more time to pursue the threat of terrorism with full force.
Both presidents agreed on the need for sub-regional leaders to sit down and agree on changing the strategy for a more sustained operation, which will continue until the threat is brought to a permanent end.
President Buhari and President Deby Itno also discussed the challenge posed by rainy season to military operations against terrorism and resolved to urgently review strategies that would bolster onslaught against the insurgents.
They also talked about how the meeting in Abuja would respond to infiltration of displaced elements of the Daesh, an acronym for ISIL’s Arabic name, al-Dawlah al-Islamīyah fī l-ʻIrāq wa-sh-Shām, through Libya into the Lake Chad area.
Addressing State House correspondents after the meeting, Dr Adesina thanked President Buhari for his support, without which he said he would not have been AfDB President.
He also acknowledged the progress being made in Nigeria’s economy while listing the achievements of the bank in the country since his presidency.
The Presidency also confirmed the acceptance of Mr Guterres in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.
Shehu said the President welcomed the acceptance of the UN chief, noting that such a special forum was necessary, in view of the size of capital required for the project which was unavailable to the Lake Chad Basin countries.
Addressing issues directly related to the AfDB, the President was delighted with successes recorded in the four years of Dr Adesina’s tenure at the bank.
President Buhari specifically cited the Bank’s contribution to the growth of Nigeria’s agriculture and infrastructure, and commended what he called “its critical gesture in 2016 during the difficult period of economic recession through the issuance of USD600 million budget support facility.”
He used the occasion to highlight the successes achieved by his administration through the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
The President stressed that his focus would continue to be on diversifying the economy and making it more inclusive, as well as the creation of jobs in critical sectors like the Information Communication Technology (ICT) and manufacturing.
He disclosed that a lot was being achieved in providing guaranteed off-takers for farmers, and in the provision of infrastructure that included airports, rail, roads and water ways.
President Buhari, however, said, “We still have significant work ahead in the provision of power, small scale cottage industries and promotion of the agro-industrial zones coming up in the country.”
He then asked for ADB’s continued support in this regard.
The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) says its troops have killed several terrorists and recovered their weapons in the Lake Chad region.
In a statement on Thursday, the Chief of Military Public Information of MNJTF, Colonel Timothy Antigha, stated that the troops intercepted the Boko Haram members in Tunbum Rego.
According to him, the operation was made possible following collaboration with the Cameroonian, Niger and Nigerian Air Forces.
“In a recent engagement, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platforms, as well as ground attack aircraft from a coalition of Cameroonian, Niger and Nigerian Air Forces, intercepted and destroyed Boko Haram Terrorists in Tunbum Rego, a prominent island in Lake Chad, believed to harbour High Valued Boko Haram Targets.
“In a related development, MNJTF troops from Sector 4 attacked Boko Haram assets in Arege, killing scores of terrorists in the process,” he stated.
The MNJTF spokesperson explained that at least 33 terrorists lost their lives with several weapons recovered during the two-day aerial bombardment.
According to the MNJTF spokesperson, items recovered include two gun trucks, one armoured personnel carrier, two motor cycles, one 120MM motar tube, 12 AK-47 Riffles, and two 60MM motar bombs recovered.
Others are 3,736 rounds of assorted ammunition, one binocular, and two hand grenades recovered.
The Multinational Joint Task Force, (MNJTF), operating in the Lake Chad region, has claimed that the leadership of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, is overwhelmed and in disarray owing to its ongoing ‘Operation Yancin Tafki’ in the North East.
The Chief of Military Public Information, MNJTF, Colonel Timothy Antigha, said the troops, made up of forces of the Lake Chad Basin countries — Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria — have been embarking on a series of well-coordinated day and night missions conducted by the Air Forces.
“As an aftermath of sustained air and land operations of the ongoing Operation Yancin Tafki, information from captured and defected Boko Haram fighters indicates that the leadership of Boko Haram terror network has been overwhelmed and are currently in disarray.”
He added that the operation has destroyed several Boko Haram logistic facilities and fighters.
“In the last 4 weeks of the Operation, about 70 Boko Haram vehicles; mostly gun trucks, facilities such as fuel dumps, weapons and ammunition have been destroyed, leading to successful and devastating air interdictions which have destroyed Boko Haram logistic facilities and fighters in Tumbum Gini, Abadam, Arege, Tumbun Rego and Dagaya environs between 7 and 11 March 2019.”
According to Col. Antigha, quoting reliable sources, internal crisis led to change of Boko Haram leadership on March 3, 2019, prompting the Islamic State West Africa Province announcing the sack of the former Boko Haram break-away leader, Abu Mus’ab Al Barnawi and the appointment of Abu Abdullahi Ibn Umar Al Barnawi, as leader of the ISWAP affiliate group.
“The frequent execution of Boko Haram commanders and fighters which have been observed in the past few months as well as the recent replacement of its leadership are clear indications of the effectiveness of recent past and ongoing Operation Yacin Tafki,” Col Antigha added.
President Muhammadu Buhari has challenged the Heads of State and Governments of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to strengthen their efforts towards curbing the activities of Boko Haram terrorists in the region.
He made the call on Thursday at a one-day consultation with the LCBC leaders in N’djamena, capital of the Republic of Chad.
“We must not relent and allow the enemies of the region to succeed in their quest to destabilise the area,” said the President who added, “We must reinvigorate our collective will and commitment towards eradicating terrorism from our region.”
“We must remain focused and true to ensuring sustainable development. To this end, I have requested that bilateral and multilateral platforms of engagements by member countries affected by the conflict be revamped to ensure collective actions towards stamping out the remnants of the terrorists from the region.”
The meeting was convened to address the recent upsurge in terrorist activities in the region, and President Buhari rallied his colleagues from Chad, Niger Republic, and the Republic of Cameroon to a fresh onslaught against insurgents, particularly the Boko Haram group.
“Times as these call for quick interventions and measures. As you are aware and have witnessed in recent times, there are new developments of security concern in our sub-region,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina.
“The region in the recent past has witnessed increasing attacks, particularly on military formations by elements of the Boko Haram terrorists as well as the renewed kidnapping of people. These activities are aimed at weakening our collective resolve to eradicate them from the region.”
The President, however, told the meeting, “We must not cave in.”
“The group’s renewed strategy of increasingly mining the general area as well as its recent deployment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance activities have proved to be critical factors in the resurgence of attacks in the region.”
– Renew Assault On Terrorism –
President Buhari thereafter commended what he called the “untiring efforts” of the leadership of the LCBC, and officers and men of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
He noted that the efforts of those who strive to bring peace and stability to the region would never be forgotten.
“We are committed to ensuring that the ideals of restoring peace, stability and viability of the Lake Chad Region to its glorious state, for which some of you have paid the ultimate price are attained,” the President vowed.
He added, “There is no gainsaying that also fueling the crisis are the twin menaces of poverty and the continued shrinkage of the Lake Chad, which have rendered the people of the region vulnerable to terrorist activities.
“Attention is drawn to the Lake and its resources, which have always been the source of livelihood for the millions of people that live within and around the basin.”
In this regard, the Nigerian leader urged the Presidents and Heads of Governments in attendance to make concerted efforts to ensure the actualisation of efforts to recharge the Lake through Inter-Basin Water Transfer from the Congo Basin.
He stressed that if meticulously pursued, the project “has the capacity to unlock the economic potentials and provide solutions to the myriad of interrelated challenges confronting the region.”
As Chairman of the Summit of Heads of State and Governments of the LCBC, President Buhari assured them of his commitment to providing the required leadership and direction for the actualisation of peace and security in the area.
He reiterated an earlier promise he had made to troops fighting terrorism, saying, “We are committed to ensuring you have the requisite and enabling equipment to optimally function.
“Your welfare is and would continue to remain our priority. Together, we shall restore the Lake Chad Region to its glorious days.”
Other nation leaders in attendance at the consultation were President Idris Deby of Chad, President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic, and Prime Minister of Cameroon, Philemon Yang, who represented President Paul Biya.
In a joint communique, the Heads of State and Governments resolved to change modus operandi, collaborate more, and renew assault on all forms of terrorism and criminal acts, till wholesome peace was restored to the region.
President Muhammadu Buhari says the greatest investment Europe and America can make in Africa now is to help the continent accomplish inter-basin water transfer to recharge the Lake Chad.
The President said this at the State House, when he hosted the chairman of the African Union Commission, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, on Friday.
According to him, because of climate change, the Lake Chad which has been a source of livelihood to millions of people in the region, has shrunk to about 10 per cent of its original size.
He said, “People who depended on the lake for fishing, farming, animal husbandry, and many others, have been thrown into dire straits. That is one of the reasons youths now dare the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, to seek greener pastures in Europe. But helping to recharge lake chad will help a great deal in curbing irregular migration.”
The president also promised that issues of security, including the influx of small arms from the Sahel, which has worsened the conflict between herders and stagnant farmers will be kept on the front burner.
“At all international fora, we emphasize the matter of Lake Chad. We also talk about the influx of small arms from the Sahel, which worsens the security situation between herders and stagnant farmers. We will keep the issues on the front burners,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari has called for an immediate action plan by African leaders and the international community to restore Lake Chad to its lost glory.
The President made the call on Wednesday in his address at the International Conference on saving the Lake Chad in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Those at the conference include presidents of Niger and Chad, Mahamadou Isoufou and Idris Deby, among other African leaders, as well as representatives from the United States and other concerned agencies.
President Buhari warned the delegates against any further delay in arresting the situation, in order to mitigate its consequences on the large population in the basin.
According to him, the negative effects of the shrinkage of the lake are enormous while the major challenges facing the region remain unresolved.
The Nigerian leader explained that the conference was convened with a view to finding workable solutions in resuscitating the Lake Chad to the benefit of all member countries in the region, and to the ecological balance of a large area of West Africa.
He was also convinced that it would not just be another ‘talk shop’ but would serve as a platform to re-launch the partnership and commitment of various nations to the growth of the continent.
President Buhari, who noted that the Lake Chad issues must be treated with the required urgency, called on all stakeholders to share the mission of rescuing the Lake Chad Basin.
Read the President’s full speech at the conference below:
Let me begin by welcoming you to Abuja on behalf of the people and Government of Nigeria and to also thank you for honouring the invitation of the organisers to this important conference on the Lake Chad which was jointly planned by the Federal Government of Nigeria, Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The same welcome to our distinguished guests, speakers and delegates who have come from different parts of the world. Nigeria is indeed honoured to host you at this historic event.
The Lake Chad is very dear to our heart as it is a source of livelihood to over 45 million people living in the Basin. This Lake, which is one of the oldest Lakes in Africa, is shared by Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. The people living in the Basin depend on the Lake Chad for agriculture, fisheries and livestock for their economic well-being.
The Lake Chad region was formerly an “oasis in the desert”, a hub of economic activities and food security. The farmers, fishermen, herdsmen and traders were happy because business was booming. The happiness and contentment contributed to the stability of the sub-region.
Unfortunately, today that is all history. The “oasis in the desert” is just a desert now, due to the drying up of the Lake Chad. This has resulted in dire consequences for our people as follows:
United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that food security has deteriorated, with more than seven million people in the sub-region facing the threat of famine and half a million children suffering from severe malnutrition;
Fish varieties are long gone leaving the fishermen jobless; farmers and herdsmen struggle over the little water left; herdsmen migrate in search of greener pastures resulting in conflicts; our youths are joining terrorist groups because of lack of jobs and difficult economic conditions. This has resulted in serious instability in the sub-region.
The negative effects of the shrinkage of Lake Chad are indeed enormous.
Let me take a moment to thank my esteemed colleagues – Presidents and Heads of Government of the LCBC for the measures so far taken to tackle the shrinkage of the Lake.
We are also implementing all LCBC programmes aimed at safeguarding the ecosystem of the Basin and the development of our people. Likewise, the Government of Nigeria has initiated several measures to cushion the plight of the people living on Nigeria’s side of the Basin. Notably, among these include:
The Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE); North East Recovery and Peace Building Assessment in collaboration with World Bank, EU, and UN; and the North East Development Commission (NEDC) recently established by law.
Unfortunately, the major challenges facing the Lake Chad region still remain unresolved. Our desire as a nation to restore the sub-region to its former glory is very real as evident in my numerous appeals to the international community for support towards the Lake’s revival.
One of such appeals was made during my meeting with the Director-General of UNESCO – Ms Irina Bokova, on August 11, 2016. During that meeting, I requested for a partnership with UNESCO in the organisation of an international conference to reactivate and raise awareness for an international campaign to save the Lake Chad.
UNESCO graciously accepted my request and a communiqué was issued. One of the outcomes of the communiqué is the organisation of this conference, so I must especially thank UNESCO for their support.
This international conference was designed with a view to finding workable solutions in resuscitating the Lake Chad to the benefit of all member countries of the LCBC and to the ecological balance of a large area of West Africa.
In the past two days, there have been technical sessions with delegates, experts, researchers and resource persons exchanging ideas, views, knowledge and sharing information on water resources development and management in a challenged environment.
This is now being followed by this high-level session to consider recommendations in order to garner political and global support for the restoration option identified for recharging of the Lake.
I am convinced that this conference will not just be another ‘talk shop’ but will be a platform to re-launch our partnership and commitment to our continent and the Basin in particular.
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the Conference Report will be presented shortly and I urge you to consider it critically with a view to making informed and strong contributions towards its implementation.
Let Abuja be the starting point of this commitment and we will call this “The Abuja Declaration.” Abuja Declaration will be a benchmark and the bedrock upon which future engagements on restoring the Lake would be built.
It will also serve as a fundamental and landmark document which will contain basic principles that can be used as a yardstick for holistic development model for the Basin.
Such a model will be useful especially for policy and decision makers, development partners, donor agencies, investors, researchers and institutions.
I owe a debt of gratitude to my brothers, the Presidents and Heads of State and Government of LCBC Member Countries – Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad and Niger for their invaluable contributions to the development of the Basin.
I must also sincerely appreciate the efforts and immense technical support of the United Nations (UN) and its agencies including FAO, UNDP and UNEP and most especially UNESCO for their invaluable contributions towards the Integrated Water Resources Management of the Basin and the organisation of this conference.
The banks have been our backbone – The African Development Bank, World Bank, Islamic Development Bank, China-Exim Bank; thank you all very much for your support.
The African Union, the European Union, ECOWAS, ECCAS, have also contributed immensely to the sustainable development of the sub-region.
We are also indebted to the governments of Netherlands, Hungary, France, China, Italy, Japan, United States of America, Canada and Britain.
As we continue on this journey towards our goal, I wish to use this medium to solicit for your continued collaboration and support.
Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, let me reiterate our firm commitment to restoring the Lake Chad to its former glory. Recognising that our efforts will be more productive with international support, we call on our international partners – technical and financial to remain unwavering in their support.
We must treat the issues of the Lake Chad with the urgency they deserve and show the needed political commitment towards reviving the Lake.
Together, let us share this mission of rescuing the Lake Chad Basin with a renewed vigour, determination and international collaboration as our inaction or delay will continue to accelerate the deteriorating standard of living of millions of our people with dire consequences on our continent and the world at large.
The time to act is now. The time to bail out the region is now. The time to show our humanity is now.
I thank you for what you have done in the past. I thank you in anticipation of what together you and we can do now and in the future.