President Muhammadu Buhari has said despite the closure of Nigeria’s land borders, arms and ammunition continued to flow into the country.
President Buhari spoke Thursday when the outgoing Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohammed Ibn Chambas, visited him in Abuja.
A statement by his media aide, Femi Adesina, quoted the president as saying that, as long as Libya remains unstable, this would remain a problem for the Sahel region of Africa, particularly with the existence of armed guards recruited by the late leader.
Nigeria has been facing series of security challenges ranging from insurgency, banditry, kidnapping among others, with successive administrations making efforts to stop the menace without reasonable success.
All of these, President Buhari said would not leave Nigeria and other countries in the Sahel Africa, except Libya remains stable.
With this problem, he said illegal arms and ammunition would keep flowing into the Sahel region of the African continent.
President Buhari said the late Libyan leader, Muammar Gadaffi, had a firm grip on power in the Arab nation for 42 years, during which he recruited armed guards from different countries, who then escaped with their arms when the Libyan leader was killed.
He said: “They didn’t learn any other skill, than to shoot and kill. So, they are a problem all over the Sahel countries today. 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.”
Speaking eloquently of the UN envoy, President Buhari said Chambas, who spent many years in Nigeria in different capacities, from ECOWAS to UN, was “more of a Nigerian than anything else,” and wished him well in his future endeavours.
In his remarks, the outgoing Special Representative thanked the president “for personal support” and “from Nigeria as a country”, adding that the country would continue to play a leadership role on the continent.
Speaking on terrorism and violent extremism in the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin area, Chambas lauded Nigeria for playing a yeoman’s role, particularly in giving support to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
Masari slams Gumi
Meanwhile, Katsina state Governor Aminu Bello Masari has slammed Sheikh Ahmad Gumi’s mediatory approach to the banditry ravaging the North-west.
Among others, the cleric had at the end of visit to the bandits’ den, pleaded with the government to grant the criminals amnesty.
While Zamfari state Governor Bello Mohammed Mutawalle agreed to granting reprieve to repentant bandits, his Kaduna counterpart, Nasir El-Rufai said dealing with the gunmen remains the best and only solution.
However, featuring on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Masari said of Gumi: “What did he know about what we did in Kaduna? I challenge Gumi to come and tell us if he knows what we did in Kaduna.
“The stories they are telling him are the stories they said in 2015, the same story in 2019. What does he know about the forest? Is he victimising killings?
“I don’t support Sheikh Gumi’s intervention because he did not do it rightly. I expect him to; first of all, preach to them (the bandits), the implication of killing innocent people and also the implication of abducting people and its consequences. That is what I expect a clergyman first and foremost to do.”