By Ismaila Chafe
President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad has expressed the hope that the task of defeating Boko Haram insurgency would now be less cumbersome as Nigeria introduces new security apparatus and changes in the leadership of the army.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in January announced the appointment of new service chiefs. He decorated the new chiefs with their new ranks on March 5.
The new service chiefs included Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, Chief of Navy Staff, Vice-Marshal Awwal Gambo, and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao.
The Chadian leader, who spoke to State House correspondents at the end of his one-day official visit to Nigeria on Saturday, also welcomed the changes at the Multinational Joint Task Force as well as the fresh strategies put in place to curb insurgency.
Deby, who spoke through an interpreter, said he discussed the issue of the Multinational Joint Task Force with Buhari.
“We agreed that a situation where it is only able to carry out one operation a year, makes things very difficult and the task of defeating Boko Haram more difficult.
”But we expect a lot with the new security apparatus that has been put in place and with the new security chiefs not only in Nigeria, but even on the Multinational Joint Task Force itself, which also has a new leadership.
”We’re hopeful now that with new strategies, and new dynamism, that we’ll be able to address definitively, the issue of Boko Haram,” he said.
The President further said that the two leaders discussed the issue of Islamic state and the challenges that they posed to the two countries as well as the Lake Chad environment.
He regretted that the resilience of Boko Haram and the Islamic State in the Lake Chad Basin had been unprecedented
Deby noted that the insurgents were being trained and supplied with weapons through Libya.
He said: “Unfortunately, the resilience of Boko Haram and the Islamic State in the Lake Chad Basin has been unprecedented. They are being supplied and being trained and being formed through Libya.
“The MNJTF has done a lot of work as you have seen recently; we’ve had exchanges on this with my brother on the way ahead.
“With the new team of the Chief of Defence Staff and the new Commander that has been appointed at the Multinational Joint Task Force, I am convinced that we can eradicate Boko Haram.”
He said that they also discussed the issue of transfer of water from the Central African Republic into the Chad Basin.
“We also discussed issues like power, border closure, construction of roads and rail lines linking Nigeria to Chad.
”Other areas include transportation from Chad, which is a landlocked country, by road, and the possibility of constructing roads as well as rail transportation from Chad through Nigeria, and to Port Harcourt, where goods that are coming in will be transferred to Chad.”