Written by Isiaka Wakili
.Journalist expelled from State House
He said this accounted for the difficulty in arresting the leader of the Boko Haram insurgents, Abubakar Shekau.
The two armies were separately prosecuting the anti-terrorist war, Deby told reporters after a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja yesterday.
He said if Nigerian and Chadian soldiers had launched joint operations against the insurgents, more results could have been achieved.
He said: “It is regrettable that the two armies; that is, the Nigerian army and the Chadian army are working separately in the field.
“They are not undertaking joint operations. If they were operating joint operations, probably, they would have achieved more results”.
Deby, however, parried a question on the whereabouts of the Boko Haram leader, saying “I cannot tell you today that I know where Shekau is hiding, and even if I know, I won’t tell you”.
Deby told a news conference in N’djamena on March 5: “Abubakar Shekau must surrender. We know where he is. If he doesn’t give himself up, he’ll suffer the same fate as his compatriots”.
The Chadian president also stated yesterday that though Boko Haram insurgents had been tremendously weakened, the sect had not been eradicated.
“It is true Boko Haram has not been completely eradicated, but they have been tremendously weakened”, said the visiting president.
He said: “I came to consult with my brother, President Goodluck Jonathan. As you all know, Nigeria and Chad are two countries that have a lot of similarities in fighting insurgents.
“Chad has had its own problems in the 70’s and 80’s, and Nigeria assisted Chad during those difficult times…As you all know, we both work together to fight Boko Haram.
“I thought it was important that before Mr. President leaves office, I will come for us to have an overview of what we did together, what we achieved together in the fight against Boko Haram. I did not want to wait and come during the inauguration of the new government. I thought I should come to consult with Mr. President, to congratulate him and to have this exchange and have an overview of what we’ve been able to achieve in the fight against Boko Haram.
“Still on the issue of Boko Haram, in the Lake Chad Basin, there are four countries: Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and Niger that are currently securing the area. The four countries have managed to form a multinational force that will metamorphose into what is probably known as a Rapid Response Force that the African Union is trying to form for Africa”.
He said he also came “principally” to congratulate Jonathan on the statesmanship he demonstrated by conceding defeat and congratulating the president-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, during the just concluded president poll.
According to him, if Jonathan had not done so, Nigeria would not have been at peace now.
“We all know that elections in Africa are always contested, but Mr. President demonstrated a lot of statesmanship, that he is a real democrat by conceding and congratulating the president-elect. You all know that when Nigeria sneezes, the neighbouring countries catch cold.
“If Mr. President had not taken that laudable initiative, you all know what would have happened now. Nigeria is still living in peace. You all are living in peace and that would not have happened, but for that laudable initiative he (Jonathan) took. So, I came to congratulate him for leaving a legacy, not only for Nigeria, but for Africa as a whole,” Debby said.
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