President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed that the insecurity challenges confronting Africa, particularly Sahel region of the black continent cannot be divorced from Libya’s instability.
He added that illegal arms and ammunition would continue to flow in the Sahel region of the continent as far as Libya remains unstable and lasting peace continues to be elusive.
Buhari said that the former Libyan leader, Muammar Gadaffi, held a grip on power in the country for 42 years by recruiting armed guards from different countries, who then escaped with their arms when the Libyan strongman was killed.
The president spoke on Thursday at State House, Abuja, while receiving in farewell audience 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.
“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,” Buhari said.
Buhari described Chambas, who spent many years in Nigeria in different capacities, from ECOWAS to UN, as “more of a Nigerian than anything else.”
The outgoing special representative thanked Buhari “for personal support I received from you, and from Nigeria as a country,” adding that the country would continue to play a leadership role on the continent.
On terrorism and violent extremism in the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin area, Chambas said that Nigeria was playing a yeoman’s role, particularly in giving support to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).