“We closed our land borders here for more than a year, but arms and ammunition continued to flow illegally.”
This was the complaint of President Muhammadu Buhari today, March 18, when he received in audience, the outgoing Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohammed Ibn Chambas.
According to Buhari, the urge to possess arms and ammunition as well as to fight emanated from Libya, which he said had remain politically unstable after the death of its leader, Muammar Gadaffi.
“As far as Libya remains unstable, illegal arms and ammunition will continue to flow in the Sahel region of the African continent,” the President complained, explaining that Gadaffi held a grip on power in Libya for 42 years by recruiting armed guards from different countries, who then escaped with their arms when the Libyan strongman was killed.
“They didn’t learn any other skill, than to shoot and kill. So, they are a problem all over the Sahel countries today.”
President Buhari stressed that Nigeria has to cope with the problems of development, “as we can’t play hop, step and jump. But we will eventually overcome those problems.”
President Buhari described Chambas, who spent many years in Nigeria in different capacities, from ECOWAS to UN, as “more of a Nigerian than anything else.”
He wished him well in his future endeavours.
The outgoing Special Representative thanked the President for personal support he received from him, “and from Nigeria as a country,” adding that the country would continue to play a leadership role on the continent.
On terrorism and violent extremism in the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin area, Chambas said that Nigeria is playing a yeoman’s role, particularly in giving support to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF)