At the extra-ordinary summit of the heads of state and governments of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Thursday, President Buhari promised to pay up the $100 million pledged by Nigeria towards the Multi-National Joint Task Force’s (MNJTF) effort to defeat Boko Haram.
The Nation informs that the meeting started at about 10:50, and included presidents from Niger Republic, Mahamadou Issoufou, Chad, Idriss Deby Itno, Benin Republic, Boni Yayi, and Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari while the Camerounian President was represented by the Camerounian Minister of Defence.
Buhari said of his promise: “Permit me, at this junction, to recall that Nigeria has already pledged the sum of $100 million for the smooth take off of the MNJTF. I hereby reassure you that my government will keep faith with this promise.”
Buhari said the MNJTF must use its resources to stop the transfer of weapons and intelligence among the terrorist across borders.
However, Buhari expressed concerns with the command structure of the MNJTF.
He said: “While I agree that this is a joint operation with shared responsibilities, I am, however, of the opinion that military operations that are subjected to a rapid turnover of command and control structures, six months duration, as it is being proposed in the documents before us, do not augur well for effectiveness and efficiency.
“Such a process will undermine, even if it not intended, the military capacity to sustain the push against the insurgents, who also have the uncanny ability to adapt and rejig their operational strategies.”
Buhari begged the leaders to allow Nigeria to take command of the MNJTF due to Nigeria's importance in the war against Boko Haram.
The president said: “I am inclined, on account of the above, to suggest for your excellences consideration that Nigeria retains the position of the Force Commander of the MNJTF for the period of the war effort.
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“This command will be to the effectiveness of military strategy, since Nigeria will be providing the bulk of the troops and the main theatre of the war is on Nigerian soil.
“Our meeting today is premised on common resolve and commitment of member states of Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin to maintain the momentum in degrading the capacity of the insurgents until they are completely defeated.
“It is also going out with urgency to mitigate the suffering which has been imposed on our civilian population by the nefarious activities of the insurgents and the terrorists."
The president expressed joy that the meeting was used to finalize strategies in the fight against the Islamists.
He continued: “You will recall in my inaugural address on 29th May 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 president said his visits were disrupted when he attended the G-7 summit. Buhari added that his thank you visits to fellow head of states would not end even after Boko Haram is crushed.
Buhari has promised to fight Boko Haram until they are eradicated.
In his inaugural speech Buhari expressed his determination to tackle the militant sect. He asked the relocation of the military command and control centre from the capital Abuja, 800km (500 miles) to Maiduguri, the main city at the epicentre of the insurgency, until the conflict is resolved.
The fight against Boko Haram received a boost when the Prime Minister of United Kingdom David Cameron promised to assist Nigeria in the war against the Boko Haram insurgency.