Heads of Lake Chad Basin to meet in Chad, Thursday over Boko Haram
The presidents of the Lake Chad Basin Commission member countries of Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and the Central African Republic are to meet on Thursday, November 29 at N’Djamena, the Chadian capital in the aftermath of Boko Haram onslaught.
President, Muhammadu Buhari who is the head of the Commission is reported to have consented to convening the meeting.
Buhari has been accused by the opposition to have caused the recent Boko Haram attack in military formation in Metele, Borno State where over 118 officers of the Nigerian army were killed by insurgents and many more wounded.
In a statement on Wednesday, Femi Adesina, the president’s spokesperson, said Buhari convened the one-day meeting which would review the security situation in the areas affected by Boko Haram insurgency and adopt measures to enhance the capacity of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to meet the challenges of securing the areas.
Reports say Boko Haram are taking advantage of the withdrawal of Chadian troops along its border with Nigeria.
Buhari had earlier sent his Minister of Defence, Manir Dan-Ali, for consultations with the Chadian authorities.
“The presidents of the LCBC member countries of Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and the Central African Republic have been invited to attend the meeting,” Mr Adesina said.
He also said the president of Benin Republic, “a troop-contributing country, has also been invited to attend”.
“The MNJTF and the national operations of the affected countries have appreciably degraded the capacity of Boko Haram terrorists, although the insurgents still retain the capacity to attack isolated targets in desperate search for supplies,” the statement said.
A statement by Atiku Abubakar, Presidential candidate of main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) reminded Nigerians of how Service Chiefs were invited to the launching of Mr Buhari’s reelection campaign in Abuja on Sunday, the same day Boko Haram thugs raided the 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele, killing at least 118 soldiers with estimated 153 missing in action.
Amongst those killed was the commander of the battalion, Ibrahim Sakaba, a lieutenant-colonel.
Atiku, who condemned the massive military losses, suggested a slew of urgent solutions and proposed welfare for the families of fallen soldiers, said neither Mr Buhari nor the APC has done nearly as much as he has for the military in the wake of the incident.
“Ironically, the All Progressives Congress that is now accusing Atiku Abubakar, has not seen fit to pay tribute to these gallant men who gave their lives in order to secure the lives of others. As a party, they have not issued even one statement condoling with the slain or their families, neither have they offered any tangible support to the families of these fallen heroes. Yet, they are accusing the Waziri, who has shown commitment to honouring these heroes, of selfishness.
“As a matter of fact, we now know through Premium Times report, that these real Nigerian heroes were killed on November 18, 2018 which was the exact time that the candidate of the APC, Muhammadu Buhari, invited the service chiefs to attend the launch of the plagiarised #NextLevel launch at the banquet hall of the Presidential Villa.
“The nation can only wonder if the Metele massacre could have been avoided if the APC and President Buhari had allowed the service chiefs to focus on their core duties, rather than on his ill fated re-election campaign.
“We at the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation commend the service chiefs for beating a hasty retreat from the event as soon as they discovered that President Buhari was trying to hoodwink them.
“It took Waziri Atiku Abubakar only a few hours to respond to the incident and express support, while it took the APC’s President Buhari a whole week to express “shock”. We therefore wonder who is truly ‘selfish’.
“It is left to Nigerians to compare and contrast who is a leader and who is a follower based on the conduct of these two parties.
“In any case, we would like to inform the APC of Waziri Atiku Abubakar’s call for financial support from well meaning individuals and Institutions for the survivors of the Metele massacre, and indeed for all who paid the supreme sacrifice in the frontlines for us to be safe. Seeing as the APC spent ₦100 million to buy front page advertorials in all the papers on that fateful day of November 18, 2018, we appeal to them to consider donating even 10% of that amount to the endowment for the families of our heroes as proposed by Atiku Abubakar.
“If they can spend ₦100 million to promote fraud, they should be able to spare at least ₦10 million to promote patriotism,” the statement said.
There have been claims online that the logo that accompanied the ‘NextLevel’ campaign of Mr Buhari’s reelection was plagiarised as unveiled at the November 18 event in Abuja.
The distributed logo, which President Buhari also shared on his Twitter handle bore strident similarities with that of the ‘NEXT LEVEL’ project of Winthrop University’s Rex Institute.