Mohamed Bazoum, Muhammadu Buhari and Mahamat Deby
L-R: Niger President, Mohamed Bazoum; President Muhammadu Buhari and Chadian head of state, Mahamat Idris Deby during the summit in Abuja on Tuesday.

OBINNA EZUGWU

Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, has called on relevant stakeholders to help the country’s neighbour, Chad contain rebel forces, as according to him the country’s disintegration will have dire consequences for the region.

The Nigerian leader advised the global community not to treat the threats posed by Chadian rebel groups clamouring to overthrow the government with levity.

Buhari who spoke in Abuja on Tuesday at the opening of the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission convened to discuss the recent developments in Chad after President Idris Deby Itno died, rallied development partners and countries particularly France, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and Russia; the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union, as well as other friendly and partner nations to support the transition framework put in place by Chad’s Transition Military Council led by General Mahamat Idris Deby.

Buhari who declared the one-day summit open in his capacity as the chairman of leaders of LCBC member-countries, encouraged the international community to support Chad to conclude the transition from military to democratic government in a peaceful manner within the set time of 18 months.

‘‘Our region is faced with difficult, several challenges that need the support and engagement of all to overcome,” Buhari said.

‘‘While transnational crimes and rebellion cutting across our region continue to evolve in scope, the attendant conflicts also continue to retain their distinct form of inflicting untold hardship and difficulty on the lives of our citizens.

‘‘The threats by the Chadian rebel groups, who are clamouring to overthrow the government, must be viewed with all the seriousness they deserve because the consequences of a destabilized Chad to the sub-region cannot be imagined.

‘‘The flow of refugees and displaced persons from the country, unrestrained flow of arms, drugs and other harmful substances into Lake Chad and Sahel Regions, which are already challenged by terrorists seeking to establish parallel systems, would further compound the security and stability of our areas and neighbouring countries.

‘‘It is, therefore, our collective duty and in honour of the memory of the men and women that have died in search of peace in the region, to rise in unison as leaders of the region to ensure that peace, stability and security are not disrupted in Chad and in the entire region.

‘‘These challenges, which are fuelled by an interplay of poverty and the loss of sustainable means of livelihood due to climate change, have been further exacerbated by the direct consequence of complete breakdown of law and order in Libya,” he noted.

The meeting was attended by the Presidents of Central African Republic, Niger, Chad, Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya, a representative of the president of Cameroon, among others.