The United Nations Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Ambassador Mohammed Ibn Chambers, the UN Special Representative for Central Africa, Amb. Francois Fall and the European Union Special Representative for the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin Commission, Amb. Angel Lusada on Wednesday visited the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai at Army headquarters.
They were at Army headquarters according to Amb. Ibn Chambers, to ascertain how the world bodies could intervene and support the affected countries and in particular, states affected by the destructive effect of terrorism.
While noting that the gallant efforts of the Nigerian Army in combating the terrorists and curtailing their destructive activities in not only Nigeria but the West African Sub Region was legendary, Amb. Ibn Chambers said the world bodies would also partner the Army in capacity and other supports.
His words, “The openness of the Nigerian Army to the United Nations has become legendary. We are here in the context of the visit to Boko Haram affected areas. We have visited Cameroon, Chad. This is our last leg to Nigeria. The objective is to support affected states, to see how the UN, EU and other stakeholders can work together in the fight against violent extremism and terrorism”.
“One area of interest is the ongoing efforts to checkmate Boko Haram and stop its spread because of its affiliation to international terrorists groups. That is why it is incumbent on us all, that we must see the fight against Boko Haram, as a fight against international terrorism.
“We are all concerned and we believe that Boko Haram is fight that we can win.
“That is why we are especially applauding the gallantry and efforts of the Nigerian Army in dealing with the menace.
Speaking further, Amb. Chambers said, “We welcome the establishment of the Lake Chad Governors Forum which had its inaugural meeting in Maiduguri last year. We believe it is part of a holistic approach which will focus on the root causes of the insurgency.
“We also want to underscore the continuous support of the federal government of Nigeria and in particular, the Nigerian Army for its various supports to United Nations programmes.
“Without the support of the Nigerian Army, it would have been difficult for UN humanitarian agencies to work in the North East including non UN agencies”.
Also speaking, Amb. Lusada said the EU was committed to Nigeria and the Multinational Joint Task Force in the efforts to ending Boko Haram and international terrorism in the Lake Chad basin.
“We are happy with the work of the Nigerian Army. There are so many initiatives taking place and new once coming up and this involves funding but we want coordination. The crisis has become regional and can only be solved with regional partnerships. That is why we are meeting with stakeholders” he said.
Responding, the COAS, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai commended both international bodies for standing by Nigeria in the efforts to dislodge terrorism and violent extremism from the sub-region.
He said the Nigerian Army will look as areas of collaboration pointing out that the Multinational Joint Task Force where Nigeria is contributing more than a Brigade is a veritable platform for more collaboration.
He urged the United Nations and European Union to pay a visit to the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Center in Jaji and see how the center can be expanded and further supported to enhance its international contributions to UN peacekeeping efforts.
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