By Ben Agande
President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to offset the pledge of $100 million (about N21.5billion) for the funding of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) as promised by the Nigerian government.
Nigeria had made the commitment under former President Goodluck Jonathan to provide the task force with the funds in supporting its operation.
Speaking at an Extra-Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, President Buhari told the leaders ” I hereby reassure you that my government will keep faith with this promise.”
Making a case for Nigeria to command the MNJTF, President Buhari said leaders should jettison the call for Nigeria to take charge of the command structure of the MNJTF for six months.
He explained: “While I agree that this is a joint operation with shared responsibilities, I am, however, of the opinion that military operations that are subjected to a rapid turnover of command and control structures, six months duration, as it is being proposed in the documents before us, do not augur well for effectiveness and efficiency.
“Such a process will undermine, even if it not intended, the military capacity to sustain the push against the insurgents, who also have the uncanny ability to adapt and rejig their operational strategies.” He said.
He urged the leaders to allow Nigeria control the force throughout the period of the war against Boko Haram.
Buhari said: “I am inclined, on account of the above, to suggest for your excellences consideration that Nigeria retains the position of the Force Commander of the MNJTF for the period of the war effort.
“This command will be to the effectiveness of military strategy, since Nigeria will be providing the bulk of the troops and the main theatre of the war is on Nigerian soil.” He added.
President Buhari told the leaders that “Our meeting today is premised on common resolve and commitment of member states of Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin to maintain the momentum in degrading the capacity of the insurgents until they are completely defeated.