The Special Representative of the United Nations (UN) Secretary General to West Africa and the Sahel, Amb. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, has called for enhanced regional collaboration to tackle Boko Haram in the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin region.
Chambas made the call while delivering a graduation lecture at the Nigerian Army War College for participants of Course 3/2019, on Wednesday, November 20, 2019 in Abuja.
He delivered a paper on the topic: “Emerging Non-Traditional Threats in the Sahel and Implications for National Security”.
Chambas said that regional partnership and robust continental collaboration among key stakeholders was needed to address emerging security threats bedeviling the Sahel region and Africa as a whole.
He said that the killing of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and the subsequent breakdown of law and order in the North African country was a major contributor to the instability in the Sahara region.
According to him, the flow of weapons from looted Libyan military stockpiles into the surrounding countries have galvanized existing political oppositions, separatist movements, transnational militant groups, and human trafficking, among other security challenges.
He lauded the College for producing the leadership of several peacekeeping missions in Africa, saying the real impact of the College is visible in the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The UN diplomat commended the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, for the giant strides of the Nigerian Army under his leadership.
He described the Nigerian Army War College as a positive force multiplier in the search for global peace and security.
In his address, Buratai, while congratulating the course participants on their graduation, also underscored the need for effective synergy among nations of the Lake Chad and Sahel region.
He said that the activities of Boko Haram and other violent militia groups in the region could be effectively tackled through collaboration between the countries.
Earlier, the Commandant of the College, Maj.-Gen. Charles Ofoche, disclosed that the lecture was a major event of the College and a key activity of the graduation ceremony.
Ofoche said that the knowledge gained during the course was geared towards enhancing the capacity of the officers to function effectively in emerging security threats.
He explained that the topic was carefully selected in view of the myriads of factors that have exacerbated the vulnerabilities of the Sahel.
The college graduated a total of 66 participants drawn from the military, paramilitary, the police as well as the public service.
Later, a delegation of the UN and EU led by Chambas paid a courtesy call on Buratai at Army Headquarters where he reemphasised the need for regional collaboration in the fight against terrorism in the region.
Chambas also disclosed that the joint mission of the UN and EU had commenced fact finding mission to the affected countries of Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria with a view to finding lasting solution to the security threats in the region.
By Sumaila Ogbaje