By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
Countries in the Lake Chad Basin have worked together very well in dealing with the terrorist insurgency in the region and the consequent humanitarian crisis, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, has said.
Osinbajo spoke Thursday evening while receiving a delegation from the African Union Peace and Security Council which has been visiting countries in the region on a fact-finding mission on the crisis as part of its mandate.
“The Lake Chad Basin collaboration is one we are extremely proud of, where we as Africans are working together on our own issues. I am pleased to say the countries have worked greatly together,” the Acting President said.
He cited the progress of the Multi-National Joint Task Force set up to address the terrorist insurgency, noting that unlike in the past when there were difficulties when the militaries of the four countries tried to work together, the MNJTF had surmounted the challenges and had succeeded.
According to him, the Buhari administration was “extremely pleased with what we have seen, and we like to see more,” of such cooperation.
However, he observed that the humanitarian consequences of the insurgency were compounded by deep poverty, making the costs of dealing with the situation “huge and enormous.”
Osinbajo recalled that there were, for instance, about 2.4m displaced persons, extensive destruction of property, infrastructure, schools, homes and farmland. In some cases, he said, the situation required the “rebuilding of whole societies.”
But he expressed satisfaction with the work of the Peace and Security Council of the AU, saying “I am extremely pleased and encouraged by the work of the PSC, the time and attention paid to this issue. These are matters we must address now and in the future.”
The PSC delegation was led by its Chairperson for the month of July, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, who is also Nigeria’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and to the AU.
In his remarks, Adeoye told the Acting President that the PSC delegation had been visiting the four countries in the Lake Chad Basin in the past five weeks, and had specifically visited seven cities in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
“This visit is the high point of our mission,” Adeoye stated adding that Nigeria’s commitment to peace in Africa has been well demonstrated.
The PSC of the African Union is the standing organ of the Union for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts. Membership of the 15 member-council are drawn -three each- from Central, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Africa.