Defence Ministry Hosts Meeting Of Experts
Good governance, justice, and fair play can considerably scale down threat to peace, breaches of the peace and act of aggression, and we can only break barriers through credible information and intelligence sharing.
The Honourable Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali stated this while addressing the Ministers of Defence, Chiefs of Defence Staff and Heads of Security and Intelligence Services of Lake Chad Basin Commission member countries and Benin Republic at a 4 day intensive meeting to review the performance of Operation GAMA AIKI 1 and to also approve requirements for Operation GAMA AIKI 2, which is on-going, and the approval of the financial and logistics requirement of the same Operations.
In his address, the Minister also commended the efforts of the member countries which he said, justifies the establishment of the Multi-National Joint Task Force in 1998 for the conduct of joint military operations within the Lake Chad region with a view to flushing out rebels and other undesirable elements from the Lake Chad Basin countries and also to facilitate free movement of people across their common borders.
He further thanked the leaders of LCBC countries and Benin Republic for their moral support to the sustenance of Lake Chad Basin Commission and Multinational Joint Task Force.
Commenting further on the successes achieved by Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in Op GAMA AIKI 1, the Minister expressed confidence that OP GAMA AIKI 11, which has just commenced, will achieve even greater successes, by dealing a decisive blow on Boko Haran Terrorists (BHTs) in their collective Area of Responsibilities (AOR).
The Minister, in his words, said “over the years, the MNJTF was restructured to broaden its horizon, operational mandate and noted that the activities of the terrorists have been on the decline for some time now due to the combined efforts of all of us”, and attributed all the successes to a combined efforts and resilience of the member countries.
Earlier in his speech, the Executive Secretary, Head of Mission of the Multinational Joint Task Force, Engr. Sanusi Imran Abdullahi, on behalf of the Commander, Officers and Soldiers of the MNJTF, the staff of the LCBC/MNJTF mission and the Delegation from the Troop Contributing Countries (TCC), expressed his gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, and Nigerians for hosting the meeting; a gesture according to him, is a clear testimony of strong and continued commit-ment towards eradicating Terrorists, operating in the North East of Nigeria and in the Sub-region in general.
Engr. Sanusi said that the extra ordinary progress being made by Multi- National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and the Nigerian Soldiers in ensuring that the Terrorist group is flushed out of the LCBC Sub-region and the entire North East of Nigeria are commended, adding that the major things to be done are to speedily facilitate the rehabilitation, reconstruction and re-integration of communities and the return of refugees/IDPs to their homes.
He further observed that, despite the huge feat by MNJTF and other security agencies, there is the need for more efforts to ensure that we do not only win the war, but also sustain the peace as well.
He also emphasized on the importance of the civilian component of the society, which he says, should handle judiciously the last stages of the war, as the terrorists may sneak back to live in the midst of the people.
In his good will message, the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui, stated that the African Union and the International Partners recognized the efforts made by the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin Republic towards their collective efforts to combat Boko Haram terrorist group.
He reiterated the Commission's commitment, to mobilize additional resources from the International Communities to support the regional efforts of the LCBC Member States and Benin Republic to rid the region of insurgents.
The 4 day meeting was concluded by issuance of a communiqué, Signing of Memoranda of Understanding on the Operationalization and Justice Sustenance of the multinational Joint Task Force of Lake Chad Basin Commission to fight Boko Haram Terrorists group.
Support Implementation Agreement (SIA), was also signed by the Troop Contributing Countries. They also reviewed and approved the report of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) meeting as presented by General AG Olonisakin, Nigeria Chief of Defence Staff. A glowing tribute was paid to Military Personnel killed in the battle field and finally, they expressed their profound gratitude to the Federal Government and Nigerians for their hospitality to the delegates.
By Modupe Okon