President Muhammadu Buhari has said the closure of Nigeria’s land borders for over a year did not stop the influx of illegal arms.
The president was quoted in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, saying this when he received the outgoing Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohammed Ibn Chambas.
According to Buhari, Muammar Gadaffi held a grip on power in Libya for 42 years by recruiting armed guards from different countries, who then escaped with their arms when the Libyan strongman was killed.
“They didn’t learn any other skill, than to shoot and kill. So, they are a problem all over the Sahel countries today,” the President said, adding:
“We closed our land borders here for more than a year, but arms and ammunition continued to flow illegally. As far as Libya remains unstable, so will the problem remain.
“We have to cope with the problems of development, as we can’t play hop, step and jump. But we will eventually overcome those problems.”
President Buhari described Chambas, who spent many years in Nigeria in different capacities, from ECOWAS to UN, as ”more of a Nigerian than anything else.”
He wished him well in his future endeavours.
The outgoing Special Representative thanked the President “for personal support I received from you, and from Nigeria as a country,” adding that the country would continue to play a leadership role on the continent.
On terrorism and violent extremism in the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin area, Chambas said Nigeria was playing a yeoman’s role, particularly in giving support to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).