Border closure did not stop smuggling of arms into Nigeria — Buhari

Border closure did not stop smuggling of arms into Nigeria — Buhari


President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said arms and ammunition have continued to flow illegally despite the closure of the country’s land borders.

The President said this while receiving 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.

He said an unstable Libya will remain a problem for the Sahel region of Africa with the existence of armed guards recruited by the late leader.

President Buhari warned that illegal arms and ammunition will continue to flow in the Sahel region of the African continent as far as Libya remained unstable.

He 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.

“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,” he said.

Buhari, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, 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” and “from Nigeria as a country”, adding that the country would continue to play a leadership role on the continent.

Chambas, while speaking on terrorism and violent extremism in the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin area, said Nigeria is playing a yeoman’s role, particularly in giving support to the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).