President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday stressed the need for countries in the West African sub-region and those in the Sahel, rocked by security challenges, to team up to confront the menace.
The President spoke while receiving in audience the new Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mr Mahamat Saleh Annadif, a Chadian, at the State House, Abuja.
President Buhari, according to a release issued by his Media Adviser, Femi Adesina, told the special envoy: “You are our neighbour. You have vast experience on matters affecting the Sahel, having served for five years in Mali. I hope you will get the countries to work together to confront the issues affecting them.”
Describing the security problems as “enormous,” the President noted that Boko Haram had exacted heavy toll in terms of lives and resources in Nigeria and some neighbouring countries, while Mali equally had a large swathe of the country occupied by militants.
According to him: ‘I hope under the auspices of UNOWAS, you will help get the problems sorted out. Most of them have to do with the instability in Libya, and it affects all of us.”
President Buhari pledged the assistance of Nigeria to the Special Representative, so that he could succeed in his assignment.
Earlier in his speech, Mr Annadif said he was visiting shortly after his appointment, because he recognized the crucial role of Nigeria in West Africa.
He said he was quite familiar with the problems of the Sahel region, and would depend on the help of Nigeria to succeed.