By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA -To realize the December deadline to stamp out insurgency in Nigeria, President of the Republic of Benin, Mr. Boni Yayi, has pledged to send 800 soldiers to fight alongside Nigerian troops.
Yayi’s disclosure came on a day President Mohammadu Buhari also charged him to ensure that he conducted a credible election that would herald his exit from office next year.
The visiting president who addressed State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with his host at the presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday, stated that the soldiers were battle ready.
According to him, Benin Republic would always stand by the government of President Buhari to ensure he succeeds in office.
He said, “President Buhari took over the mantle of government at a time terrorism occasioned by the activities of Boko Haram is high.
“To fight terrorism, Benin is ready to send about 800 men to join the men that are already prepared to fight terrorism. The team is battle ready for deployment.
“The will power is there and Benin is committed to deploying the men. Benin will always remain on the side of Nigeria in its trying times.
“The subregion is also going through serious problems of development. Fighting Boko Haram is becoming difficult because OPEC countries are going through oil crises.
“We will always stand beside Buhari in his fight against corruption.”
In his response, president Buhari stated that his government was committed to defeating the insurgents.
He said that the terrorists had retreated to the hinterlands of the North-east due to the intensified military operations in the region.
He called for the cooperation of neighbouring countries in the fight against terrorism, oil theft amongst others, revealing that it was for that purpose that Nigeria would be hosting the Economic Community of West Africa States in less than two weeks from now.
Meanwhile, a statement by the presidential spokesperson, Mr. Femi Adesina about what transpired during the closed-door meeting stated that president Buhari tasked Yayi on transparent polls next year February.
“Whatever happens in Benin is of particular interest to Nigeria because we are very good neighbours. I will like to congratulate the President of Benin for successfully completing two terms in office, and his plan to hand over power after the elections in February,’’ the President said.