Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, The Minister of Foreign Affairs, said today in Abuja that Nigeria will not question the financial commitment of other member countries of the Multi National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to the war against Boko Haram.
The minister, while addressing newsmen on the sideline of the ongoing second Regional Security Summit in Abuja, said Nigeria remained committed to ending terrorism in the sub-region. The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) is a combined multinational formation, comprising units, mostly military, from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria. It is headquartered in N’Djamena and is mandated to bring an end to the Boko Haram insurgency.
Onyeama said although Nigeria remained the only financial contributor to the force, the efforts of other troops-contributing countries had been instrumental to the successes recorded in the war against the insurgents.
He said, “We mustn’t sniff at what our neighbours are bringing to the table because what they are bringing is also extremely valuable and sometimes cannot be quantified in financial terms but may even be more critical to our survival.
Onyeama added that Nigeria’s commitment to the terrorism war in cash and in kind was borne out of the threats posed by Boko Haram on its territory and its people. He said the challenges posed by the Boko Haram insurgency were more visible in Nigeria than in Cameroon, Chad or Niger.
The minister said the participation of countries outside the Chad Basin at the regional summit was informed by the need to form a bigger regional alliance against terrorism. “When you remember that the Boko Haram threat is essentially Nigerians within Nigeria and we are the ones that were facing an existential challenge and at one time it was looking very gloomy for this country.
He stressed that, “Cameroon was not facing an existential challenge from Boko Haram neither was Chad nor Niger, Benin is not even a Lake Chad basin country but out of solidarity they came on board. “So we bore the real brunt and we have to accept that the main responsibility is with us, the thing with this terrorist threat is also gone beyond. “We’ve seen what happened in Cote d’Ivoire there was terrorist attack there, terrorist attack in Burkina Faso and in Mali, so their coming on board I think is important because it has to be a collective effort’.’
On the return of 65,000 Nigerian refugees in Cameroon, the minister said the governments of Nigeria and Cameroon in collaboration with other partners were working towards their safe return to Nigeria.
Onyeama said the United Nations body in charge of refugees would meet officials from Nigeria and Cameroon to agree on the road map for the return of the refugees. According to him, the return of all refugees will have to be in the best possible circumstances in order to ensure that they are returning to a safe environment.
The discussions at the summit will also focus on raising funds to resuscitate the Lake Chad Basin and meeting the needs of refugees and internally displaced persons in the region.