President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday in N’Djamena, the Chadian capital, called for strong action among countries of Sahel and Saharan regions to counter the infiltration of small arms into the region, especially Nigeria.
The Nigerian leader who was participating in a one-day Extraordinary Session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, CEN-SAD, said the action is necessary to halt illegal smuggling of arms by the militia forces, bandits and insurgents who are becoming a threat to human rights and internal security.
Buhari participated at the event alongside his host and current Chairperson of CEN-SAD, Idriss Deby Itno and their counterparts from Niger and Togo, with high-level representations from other member-countries.
President Buhari will while in N’Djamena, also use the opportunity to press for the protection of the well-being of the large population of Nigerians living both legally and illegally in Libya, which is the host country of the CEN-SAD Secretariat.
Nigeria under President Buhari has been at major risks resulting from the illegal smuggling of light arms, despite the country’s efforts working closely with her immediate neighbours in the last few years to stem the widespread availability of small arms and light weapons making their way into Nigeria.
Buhari said the “very disturbing recent developments” have impelled his administration to seek support from a wider circle of countries if the illegal inflows are to be curtailed.
The President is also putting on the table for discussions, the problems of irregular migration, trafficking in persons, especially of women and children, as part of the security nature of his engagements.
President Buhari, recognizing the significance of the organization and the role it can play in furthering domestic security, had ordered the reinvigoration of Nigeria’s interest in the organization.
The President also approved the payment of the backlog of unpaid funds and for a speedier work on the processes of the ratification of the treaty binding the members of the organization.
Tony Ailemen, Abuja.