President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said he regretted that despite his government’s closure of Nigeria’s land borders, arms and ammunition continues to flow into the country illegally.
Buhari stated this when he received the outgoing Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohammed Ibn Chambas at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He attributed the problem to the situation in Libya, saying that once the country remains unstable, illegal arms and ammunition will continue to flow in the Sahel region of Africa.
Recall that Nigeria shut its land borders in August 2019 to crack down on smuggling. They were however reopened in December 2020 ahead of the January 1, 2021 implementation date of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement
According to the statement issued by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina and titled “An unstable Libya remains a problem for the Sahel region, says President Buhari.” quoted him saying “As far as Libya remains unstable, so will the problem remain.
See Also: House of Reps sets to revamp NOA
In a statement by Presidential Spokesperson, Femi Adesina, titled “An unstable Libya remains a problem for the Sahel region, President Buhari was quoted saying “we closed our land borders here for more than a year, but arms and ammunition continued to flow illegally.
“As far as Libya remains unstable, so will the problem remain. We have to cope with the problems of development, as we can’t play hop, step and jump. But we will eventually overcome those problems.”
Buhari said Muammar Gadaffi held a grip on power in Libya for 42 years by recruiting armed guards from different countries, who then escaped with their arms when the Libyan strongman was killed.
“They didn’t learn any other skill than to shoot and kill. So, they are a problem all over the Sahel countries today,” the President said.
He described Chambas, who spent many years in Nigeria in different capacities, from ECOWAS to UN, as “more of a Nigerian than anything else.” He wished him well in his future endeavours.
The outgoing Special Representative thanked the President “for personal support I received from you, and from Nigeria as a country,” adding that the country would continue to play a leadership role on the continent.
On terrorism and violent extremism in the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin area, Chambas said Nigeria was playing a yeoman’s role, particularly in giving support to the Multinational Joint Task Force.