President Muhammadu Buhari has emphasized the need for countries in the West African sub-region and those in the Sahel, rocked by security challenges, to team up to confront the menace.
The President spoke Tuesday at State House, Abuja, while receiving the new Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mr Mahamat Saleh Annadif, a Chadian.
Said the President: “You are our neighbour. You have vast experience on matters affecting the Sahel, having served for five years in Mali. I hope you will get the countries to work together to confront the issues affecting them.”
Describing the problems as “enormous,” President Buhari noted that Boko Haram has exacted heavy toll in terms of lives and resources in Nigeria and some neighbouring countries, while Mali equally has a large swathe of the country occupied by militants.
He submitted: ‘I hope under the auspices of UNOWAS, you will help get the problems sorted out. Most of them have to do with the instability in Libya, and it affects all of us.”
President Buhari pledged the assistance of Nigeria to the Special Representative, so that he could succeed in his assignment.
Mr Annadif said he was visiting shortly after his appointment, because he recognized the crucial role of Nigeria in West Africa.
He said he was quite familiar with the problems of the Sahel region, and would depend on the help of Nigeria to succeed.