In a meeting with Heads of State of the Lake Chad Basin Commision (LCBC), it was decided that Nigeria will retain its position as the lead Commander in the counterinsurgency operation in the Northeastern region of the country until the end of the mission.
The Summit, which was 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.
The Heads of State also agreed that the Deputy Commander position will rotate between Chad and Cameroon every twelve months.
These announcements come after President Buhari rejected an earlier decision to have a rotational six-month tenure of the Multi-National Joint Task Force’s (MNJTF) Commander.
President Buhari suggested that Nigeria leads the force against Boko Haram since it is providing most of the troops.
Buhari argued that the shorter periods are detrimental to sustaining operations against Boko Haram who said, “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.
Last week, Tukur Buratai, a Major General from Nigeria, was appointed Force Commander of the Multi-National Joint Task Force.
The Heads of State and governments of the LCBC, and Benin, acknowledged the progress that the states have made in curbing Boko Haram’s impact.
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’s insurgency.
The leaders agreed on the need to support military operations with an emergency development plan to help vulnerable populations in the region in order to fight against insecurity relating to poverty.
By the end of the meeting, directives were given for the deployment of the MNJTF headquarter at N’Djamena (Chad) by July 30, 2015. The leaders also approved $30 million for the installation and equipping of the MNJTF HQ.
The Heads of State also asked for the African Union’s support in MNJTF operations, logistics and general mission support; by mobilizing financial support.
The Heads of State also seek the support of strategic partners, notably the European Union, France, United Kingdom and United States of America.
They 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.