The United Nations and the European Union are ready to mobilise more support and resources to help Nigerian troops “defeat and eliminate” Boko Haram terrorists, UN special representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohammed Ibn-Chambas, said.
Mr Ibn-Chambas who led a UN/EU joint delegation to Borno on Thursday said this while meeting with top military commanders at the headquarters of Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri the Borno capital.
Accompanied by officials of the European Union and other top UN diplomats, Mr Ibn-Chambas explained that the joint committee he leads is an offshoot of the “United Nation Security Council resolution 2349 of 2017”.
He said the resolution charged the UN and other international humanitarian bodies to form a partnership and mobilise support to the efforts of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) countries of Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger in fighting terrorism in the region.
He said that mandate empowers the UN/EU joint delegation to combat, defeat and eliminate terrorism “in whatever form or shape it manifest itself in the Lake Chad Basin counties”.
Received by the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Olusegun Adeniyi, Mr Ibn-Chambas expressed “the strong support of the UN of the gallant efforts the Nigerian armed forces are putting in to totally eradicate Boko Haram and other terrorist groups which may be in Borno and any other states of the North-east and LCB areas.”
He acknowledged the “negative, nefarious and wicked intentions of the Boko Haram, as well as its criminal aspects and the distractions, the killings that it has brought upon armless civilians.”
He said Boko Haram is part of the international terrorism network which is globally condemned.
“And that is why we have always insisted at the UN that this fight against Boko Haram and other groups in Borno and other parts of the North-east is not a fight for Nigeria and its armed forces alone,” he said.
“It is a fight that requires total support of all the international community because thousand years of manifestation of international terrorism and, therefore, all of us must pull resources together to ensure a defeat of terrorism in Borno and in Nigeria as a whole.”
He assured of the desired cooperation of the UN and EU with Nigerian armed forces and the government.
“Your successes are our successes in the fight against Boko Haram terrorism,” he said.
He urged the military command to continue to count on the UN and EU’s support in the fight against Boko Haram.
Mr. Ibn-Chambas also advocated for a clear channel of communication to enhance a smooth working relationship between the humanitarian workers and the military.
He acknowledged that the recent “high-level consultation between the Nigerian government and the UN and other NGOs towards fostering a better working relationship between the government and the humanitarian workers.
“Our visit is to assure you of our strong solidarity and to assure you that the UN and EU will continue to advocate on your behalf of the necessary support that you need to ensure the battle is won until we eliminate Boko Haram and other forms of terrorism,” he said.
Responding to the speech made by Mr Ibn-Chambas as well as the brief comments made by other members of his entourage, Mr Adeniyi said the visit was “a morale booster” to officers and soldiers taking part in the counterinsurgency operation.
“This visit has proven to us that the international community – not just that but specific international organisations like the UN and EU is solidly behind the Nigeria military, ” he said.
“This is a welcome development and I assure you that your message of commendation would be sent down the message of your visit to the last trench in this theatre.”
He assured the delegation that all the ongoing talks that the North-east region would fall for Boko Haram “will never happen.”
“The only thing that I assure you will happen to Boko Haram is that it will crumble in this region in the shortest of time. They are not going to gain more grounds, they are not getting any younger and they are going to be helpless.”
The general said troops under his command will not disappoint the international community in discharging their duty.
“My soldiers are operating within the confines of the International law of armed conflict,” he said.
“If there is any deviation by that law, it is not official and such deviants would always be brought to book. The military leadership is not hiding any form of abuse or misdemeanor by any soldier. Take back our words assurances to the UN Secretary-General that we will not disappoint.”