President Muhammadu Buhari
- To offset $100 million pledge to Multi-National Joint Task Force
- Opposes six-months' change of MNJTF Commander
- Wants Nigeria in charge of MNJTF till Boko Haram's defeat
Jaiyeola Andrews in Abuja
In a bid to completely degrade and eradicate the menace of Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram, President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday called for strategic ways of limiting the violent sect's capacity to access funds and weapons.
He also called for strengthening of cross border patrols, as well as increase in capacity to gather and share intelligence.
In this wise the president urged that all necessary steps be immediately taken to re-invigorate the Regional Intelligence Fusion Unit (RIFU).
Buhari disclosed this in his welcome address at the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission held at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Buhari said: "Our Ministers of Defence have proposed modalities for the operations of the MNJTF. I want to commend them for the painstaking effort and the outcomes of their deliberations, which they have presented to us for our consideration and approval.
"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 is not intended, the military capacity to sustain the push against the insurgents, who also have the uncanny ability to adapt and re-jig their operational strategies.
"I am inclined, on account of the above, to suggest for Your Excellencies consideration that Nigeria retains the position of the Force Commander of the MNJTF for the period of the war effort. 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.”
"Permit me, at this juncture, to recall that Nigeria has already pledged the sum of one hundred million ($100,000,000) USD for the smooth take-off of the MNJTF. I hereby reassure you that my government will keep faith with this promise.
"Notwithstanding this pledge by my government, funding still remains a major issue of this campaign. I had raised this issue at my meeting with the G7 leaders, while I am encouraged by their support, I also urge you to garner the support of your international friends and partners to sustain this campaign."
The president stressed that the campaign against Boko Haram must be seen within the wider context of the global war against terror.