President Muhammadu Buhari has blamed insecurity in the Sahel on armed guards that he said were recruited from all over Africa by the late Libyan President, Muammar Gadaffi.
He made the declaration at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday while receiving in farewell audience the outgoing Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mohammed Ibn Chambas.
President Buhari observed that 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.
The president warned that as long as Libya remains unstable, illegal arms and ammunition will continue to flow in the Sahel region of the African continent.
A statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), quoted President Buhari as saying: “They didn’t learn any other skill than to shoot and kill. So, they are a problem all over the Sahel countries today.”
He added: “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 (Buhari), 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).