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Boko Haram Headache Brings President Buhari To Cameroon 

By Yerima Kini Nsom

The new President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has announced a visit to Cameroon to further cement concerted efforts in the fight against the terrorist group, Boko Haram.

President Buhari made the announcement while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the African Union, AU, Summit that took place in Johannesburg in South Africa last week.

“On my way to Nigeria now, l will try to go to Cameroon,” the French News Agency (AFP) quoted Buhari as having said.

Since President Buhari came to power recently, he has met with peers directly linked to the fight against Boko Haram, except President Paul Biya of Cameroon.

The Lake Chad Basin Commission provided an opportunity for the two Presidents to meet last week, but President Biya rather sent the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Edgar Alain Mebe Ngo’o, to represent him. Buhari, therefore, met only with the Presidents of Chad, Benin and Niger.

After rising to the helm of the Nigerian State last May 29, President Buhari immediately visited Niger and Chad. He did not come to Cameroon, which is Nigeria’s unavoidable partner in the fight against Boko Haram.

Contrary to claims by some observers that Buhari was paying Biya back in his own coins for not attending his swearing-in ceremony, the French News Agency quoted the Nigerian President as saying “he would have come to Cameroon if he were not going for the G7 Summit in Germany”.

Despite the fact that Cameroon and Nigeria strained their ties in the Bakassi dispute, analysts hold that both countries are bound to live together by virtue of the fact that providence made them brothers, sisters and neighbours. Both countries are also compelled to work together because they now have a common enemy called Boko Haram.

Last week, the Lake Chad Basin Commission Summit committed an 87,700 regional force involving five countries. The Regional force will now replace an adhoc coalition of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon forces.

Earlier, Chad’s President, Idriss Deby, sent troops to assist their Cameroonian counterparts against an upsurge of attacks by Boko Haram militants.

Troops from Chad and Niger crossed into the Nigerian territory. While indicating that crushing Boko Haram is his top priority, President Buhari said recently that the new Multi-National Task Force would not be restricted in terms of movement.

A Nigerian officer will head the force for the duration of the mission, while his deputy will come from Cameroon. AFP quoted the Nigerian President as saying:

“The most important support is intelligence. What we are looking for from G7 is intelligence. We want help in terms of logistics.”

“Boko Haram declared that they are in alliance with the Islamic state (ISIS), so, terrorism has gone international. They are in Mali, they are in Nigeria, and they are in Syria. So, it is an international problem”.

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