Nigeria warns that weapons used in Ukraine war are «leaking» into Lake Chad basin

Archivo – El presidente de Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari – Dan Kitwood/PA Wire/dpa

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that «weapons used in the war in Ukraine are beginning to leak into the region» and called for reinforced border security deployment in the Lake Chad Basin, where terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and Islamic State operate.

«Unfortunately, the situation in the Sahel and the active war in Ukraine serve as major sources of weapons and fighters that strengthen the ranks of terrorists in the Lake Chad region,» Buhari has said during a summit of heads of state and government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC).

He noted that «a substantial proportion of arms and ammunition for the war in Libya continues to enter the Lake Chad region and other parts of the Sahel», before stressing that «this movement of arms into the region has increased the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, which continues to threaten collective peace and security in the region».

Buhari therefore stated that «there is an urgent need to accelerate collaborative actions by border control agencies and other security services to stop the circulation of all illegal arms in the region,» as reported by the Nigerian Presidency on its Facebook account.

The Nigerian president stressed that the «threat» posed by Boko Haram and its offshoot, Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA), makes it «imperative» for countries to «enhance their collaboration in the face of a common aggressor», while applauding the actions of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).

He said that the MNJTF «has responded to the challenge» and has demonstrated that «the region can resolve its challenges in the best possible way». «The MNJTF has become a model, breaking physical barriers and affirming the operability of a common stance to conquer the challenges in the area.»

Buhari stressed that «terrorists have been effectively decimated» in the Lake Chad area because of the operations of the national armies and this joint force, although he argued that «military actions alone cannot effectively win the war against terrorism.»

«There is a need to complement military operations with the implementation of sustainable development projects that improve the living conditions of the people affected (by the insecurity and humanitarian crisis) in the region,» he said.

«The presence of the government must be felt in a positive way in the area to restore the confidence of the citizens in the ability of the state to protect them and give basic infrastructure for all,» he has defended, before asking the international community for «support» for development projects in the region with the aim of «winning hearts and minds.»

He therefore called for «ingenious solutions to the challenges» and «continue to see the region through the lens of equality, justice, diversity and inclusion». «We must rise up and meet the challenges in the region to realize the bright future we want for the region,» he reiterated.