President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria and its neighbouring countries must stand together to defeat and degrade Boko Haram insurgents in the sub-region.
Speaking late Wednesday at a state dinner at the Unity Palace in Yaounde during his two-day working visit to Cameroon, President Buhari said countries in the sub-region cannot afford to falter in their resolve to get rid of the evils of insurgents.
“We recognize that none of us can succeed alone. In order to win this war, we need the collective efforts of each one of us, standing together as a formidable force for good, to defeat and end these acts of terror against our people,’’ he said.
The President told guests at the dinner hosted by President Paul Biya that the security situation in the Lake Chad basin is challenging.
However, Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), in a statement on Thursday, said the challenges present an opportunity for Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin to work together for their common security, peace and socio-economic development.
“Let me assure all of my relentless pursuit of all possible means to safeguard Nigeria’s territorial integrity, protect the lives and property of our citizens as well as my commitment to continue to collaborate with Cameroon and our other neighbours within the framework of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.
“The Federal government of Nigeria is committed to respecting international norms to resolve this matter and to restore normalcy to all the affected areas as soon as possible,’’ he said.
The President, who had earlier on his arrival on Wednesday held a closed-door session with his host, thanked President Biya for providing refuge to Nigerians who had fled their homes because of the insurgents.
He also commended Cameroon for its support to Nigerian military and security personnel in the fight against terrorism and offered his condolences to the families of the victims of terror in both countries.
President Buhari used the occasion of his speech to announce Nigeria’s willingness to expand economic partnerships with Cameroon, through increased joint ventures in infrastructure development, transport and commerce, among others.
He welcomed the achievements so far recorded by the Nigeria-Cameroon Joint Commission and all the landmark agreements signed between both countries.
The President, who described relations between both countries as excellent, recognized the roles played by past and present leaders and Nigerian citizens in sustaining friendly relations with Cameroon.
In his remarks, Biya while congratulating President Buhari for a successful inauguration into office said his electoral victory has provided an opportunity for him to preside over the “destiny of Nigeria.
“Mr President, a dark cloud is looming over our countries even as we welcome you; we are facing the same threat, which may rock the foundation of our two nations
“This danger bears the name of Boko Haram; its atrocities and crimes are jeopardizing peace around Lake Chad and especially in our two countries.
“The number of dead and victims are rising, economic activities have been crippled in affected areas, the number of refugees and displaced persons are ever increasing
“We cannot allow this cancer to spread, we must pool our resources and forces and share our experiences,’’ he said.
President Biya, who reaffirmed Cameroon’s commitment to the fight against terror, welcomed the “fresh push’’ on economic ties between both countries through easing of trade.
“I strongly believe in your readiness to work towards that goal and your visit to Cameroon as well as the discussions we have had have strengthened my conviction,’’ he said.