By Ben Agande, Abuja
The Chadian President, Idris Derby Monday made a volte face as he said that he does not know the where about of the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau.
President Derby had in a widely circulated claim said some months ago that he knew where the Boko Haram leader was hiding and had warned him to surrender or risked being killed by Chadian forces.
But speaking with state House correspondents after meeting with President Jonathan, President Derby said even if he knew where the terrorist was, he would not say where he is.
“I cannot tell you today that I know where Shekau is hiding and even if I knew I won’t tell you” he said tersely in an answer to a question.
President Derby hinted that the inability of the Nigerian and Chadian army to carry out joint operations may have affected the success of the on going operations in the North east to tackle Boko Haram.
“Is regrettable that the two armies that is the Nigerian army and the Chadian Army are working separating in the field, they are not undertaking joint operation. If they were operating joint operation probably they would have achieved more results” he said.
He said he was in the Presidential Villa to consult with President Jonathan on the fight against terrorism and to congratulate him for setting a good record for Africa by conceding defeat in the just concluded election.
“I came to consult with my brother President Goodluck Jonathan. As you all know Nigeria and Chad are two countries that have a lot of similarities in fighting insurgents.
“Chad has had its own problems in the 70s and 80s and Nigeria assisted chad during those difficulties times.
“On the 2015 general elections, I came principally to congratulate Mr. President for the statesmanship he demonstrated during the elections. We all know that elections in Africa is always contested but Mr. President demonstrated a lot of statesmanship, that he is a real democrat by conceding defeat and congratulating the President-elect.
You all know that when Nigeria sneezes the neighbouring countries catch cold. If Mr. President had not taken that laudable initiative, you all know what would have happened now. Nigeria is still living in peace, you all are living in peace and that would not have happened but for that laudable initiative he took.
“So I came to congratulate him for leaving a legacy not only for Nigeria but for Africa as a whole” he said.
On the fight against Boko Haram, President Derby said:
“As you all know we both work together to fight Boko Haram. I thought it was important that before Mr. President leaves office, I will come for us to have overview of what we did together, what we achieved together in the fight against Boko Haram.
“It Is true Boko Haram has not been completely eradicated but they have been tremendously weakened. I did not want to wait and come during the inauguration of the new government, I thought I should come to consult with Mr. President, to congratulate him and to have this exchange and have overview of what we have been able to achieve in the fight against Boko Haram” he said.
The chadian President said that the four countries around the Lake Chad Basin that are currently securing the area have formed a multinational mixed force that will metamorphose to a Rapid Response Force that the African continent.