An extraordinary meeting of Heads and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin has approved that Nigeria retains the position of the force commander in the war against Boko Haram until the end of the mission.
It also approved that the slot of the deputy force commander and chief of staff be rotated between Cameroun and Chad every twelve months.
Their decision followed an earlier rejection of a rotational six-month tenure of the Multi-National Joint Task Force’s Commander, by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr. Buhari suggested instead that Nigeria heads the force for the period of the war against the insurgents since it was providing the bulk of troops.
Mr. Buhari had earlier argued that such a process will undermine the military’s capacity to sustain the push against the insurgents “who also have the uncanny ability to adapt and rejig their operational strategies”.
“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,” he said.
A Nigerian, Tukur Buratai, a major general, had only last week been appointed the force commander of the Multi-National Joint Task Force,
The summit which held at the Presidential Conference Lodge of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja was attended by, Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger Republic; Idriss Deby, President of Chad; and Boni Yayi, President of Benin Republic.
The Cameroonian President, Paul Biya, was represented by Mebe Ngo’o Edgard Alain, minister delegate at the presidency in charge of Defence
Deliberations at the summit focused on The Security Situation in the Lake Chad Basin, the Immediate Operationalization of the Multinational Joint Task Force and the Adoption of Emergency Development Plan.
They were preceded by a preparatory meeting of the Ministers of Defence, the Chiefs of Defence Staff and Heads of Security and Intelligence Services of the LCBC member States and Benin.
The heads of state and government of the LCBC and Benin Republic acknowledged with satisfaction the success recorded on military operations jointly conducted in the field by the coalition of the troops from Cameroun, Niger, Nigeria and Chad which have significantly broken down the military capability of Boko Haram terrorist group.
However, they agreed on the need to keep up the drive marked by solidarity in action by taking decisive measures in order to totally curb Boko Haram insurgency.
According to a communique released at the end of the one day summit, the Heads of State agreed on the need to support military operations with an emergency development plan in favour of vulnerable populations in the region in order to fight against the root causes of insecurity relating to poverty.
At the end of their deliberations, the Heads of State also approved the Concept of Operations Strategic and Operational and related documents of the MNJTF for the fight against Boko Haram terrorist group.
Approval was also given for the immediate deployment of the MNJTF HQ at N’Djamena (Chad) by implementing its human, logistic and financial requirements as well as the deployment of the national contingents to the MNJTF under the operational command of the MNJTF commander assisted by his joint headquarters by July 30, 2015.
The leaders also approved $30million for the installation and equipping of the MNJTF HQ.
MNJTF will require $30 million in the next one year to reduce terrorism in Nigeria’s north-east and neighbouring countries to its barest minimum, the executive secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, Sanusi Abdullahi, had said on Wednesday, at the end of a two-day meeting of the Ministers of Defence and top military officials of the LCBC, in Abuja.
The leaders approved the establishment of the executive secretariat as the headquarters of the mission and the executive secretary of the LCBC to be the head of mission.
It requested the African Union’s support to the MNJTF in its operations, logistics and general mission support; by mobilizing financial support.
The heads of state also resolved to seek the support of strategic partners, notably European Union, France, United Kingdom and United States of America in favour of the MNJTF.
It also requested the president of the UN Security Council to make a declarative statement in support of MNJTF Operations against the Boko Haram terrorist group.
The Emergency Plan for Development in the Lake Chad Basin, was also adopted at the summit.