President Muhammadu Buhari has said that as far as Libya remains unstable, illegal arms and ammunition will continue to flow in the Sahel region of the African continent.
The President spoke on Thursday at State House, Abuja, 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.
This was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
According to the statement, President Buhari said 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.
He said, “They didn’t learn any other skill than to shoot and kill. So, they are a problem all over the Sahel countries today. 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 the personal support he received from him 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).