The United States (U.S.) is set to join forces
with the Muhammadu Buhari administration
in the battle against Boko Haram.
The Obama administration will send a team to
Nigeria in the next few weeks to discuss with
the government ways to renew cooperation in
the fight against the sect, a senior U.S.
diplomat said yesterday.
In N’Djamena, the capital of Chad yesterday,
President Buhari and his host President Idris
Derby pledged to pursue the sect members
They spoke after a bilateral meeting on the
activities of the sect, which has been
operating across the borders.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was at
Buhari’s inauguration last week. This
underscores U.S. interest in working with his
Tensions emerged between the former
government of President Goodluck Jonathan
and the Obama administration last year over
corruption and human rights abuses by the
military in its campaign to crush Boko Haram.
In his inauguration speech, Buhari vowed to
defeat Boko Haram and called the group,
which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State
in Syria and Iraq in March, “mindless” and
”With the new government, we are optimistic
we can reset the relationship,” U.S. Assistant
Secretary of State for Africa Linda Thomas-
Greenfield told a congressional hearing. “We
want to work with him and have expressed
that to him.”
She said Buhari had committed both publicly
and privately to “do everything possible to
address the situation in terms of resources
and staff” to tackle Boko Haram, which
launched its insurgency in 2009.
U.S. officials have said the United States
could send more advisers to Nigeria to train
its military and help boost the economy, the
largest in Africa, through more investment in
its oil and gas sector.
Thomas-Greenfield said the United States
was encouraged that Buhari’s first trips were
to neighbors Niger and Chad, which are part of
a multi-national force being set up to fight
Boko Haram’s insurgency in the Lake Chad
Nigeria’s Major-General Tukur Buratai has
been appointed to head the new force, which
will be funded partly by the international
”He is someone we have worked with and
someone we feel will be a positive force on the
multinational task force,” she said, adding
that Buhari was still studying options to fund
a stepped- up effort to tackle Boko Haram.
A communiqué issued at the end of President
Buhari’s one-day visit to Chad said both
leaders agreed on the need to quickly make
the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF)
fully operational to effectively combat
terrorism in Northeast Nigeria and
“everywhere” that Boko Haram operates.
The two Presidents called on the international
community to support the Lake Chad Basin
Commission and neigbouring countries to
combat terrorism and insurgency.
“Both Heads of State agreed that the war on
Boko Haram should be supported by
emergency development initiatives in areas
affected by this insurgency group.
“This will help to overcome the harmful effects
faced by local populations,” the communiqué
President Buhari paid tribute to the gallantry
of Chadian soldiers who have engaged in
operations against Boko Haram and condoled
the families of their comrades who were killed
While in the Chadian capital, President Buhari
also met with Gen. Buratai, who has just been
appointed Force Commander of the MNJTF
whose headquarters will be in N’Djamena.
Yesterday’s visit was the second of the two-
leg trip by Buhari to neigbouring countries to
galvanise them for the final onslaught against
Boko Haram. Buhari was in Niger Republic on
Buhari noted that the security of Nigeria and
her neighbours were intrinsically linked,
adding that it is very essential that they
cooperate on security issues in a robust and
The President said when it becomes fully
deployed and functional, the MNJTF, which
comprises Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon,
will secure and stabilise all the areas affected
by the Boko Haram insurgency.
He reaffirmed his conviction that with greater
cooperation among Nigeria and neighbouring
countries, the Boko Haram insurgency will be
brought to an end very soon.
Buhari thanked Chad for her invaluable
support in the fight against insurgency and
He said: “Your troops have stood shoulder to
shoulder and fought gallantly with ours in the
fight against the forces of evil.
“This is a remarkable show of good
neighbourliness, which we must reinforce in
the years ahead.”
The President said the harrowing images of
displaced citizens of both countries, in search
of safety and succour must spur their
governments and others in the sub-region to
do more “to restore their dignity and give
them the relief they need”.
On the bilateral relations between Nigeria and
Chad, Buhari noted that both countries were
bound by “nature’’, adding that they must
therefore work together to find lasting
solutions to border management, migration
and movement of goods and services.
The President also thanked President Deby for
attending his inauguration ceremony on May
29 in Abuja, adding that he would return to
Nigeria with the assurance that Nigeria and
Chad are poised to intensify their cooperation.
President Deby praised Buhari for his “wise
decision’’ to relocate the Nigerian Military
Command centre from Abuja to Maiduguri.
The Chadian President said that the decision,
which was announced in President Buhari’s
inaugural address, was a right step towards
restoring peace and security to states affected
by terrorism, and the sub-region.
He assured President Buhari that Chad will
continue to work with Nigeria to achieve
lasting peace and security in the sub-region,
given their historic, cultural and economic