(PUNCH) President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said he had directed that $21m out of the pledge of $100m which Nigeria made to the Multinational Joint Task Force be released within the next one week.
Buhari disclosed this at the 25th AU summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. He chaired the Peace Security Council at the event.
He said he gave the directive based on the decision of the recent extraordinary summit of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin that $30m should be immediately made available to the MNJTF which is saddled with the responsibility of fighting Boko Haram.
The President said although the sect had extended its reach to Nigeria’s neighbours, its activities were not limited to them because terrorism is a global phenomenon.
He said the global nature of terror required all countries to act in partnership by waging war against agents of evil.
He said, “I am pleased to note that Cameroon, Chad and Niger are already showing this attribute by fighting alongside Nigeria under the umbrella of the MNJTF to defeat Boko Haram.
“In this regard, the member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin met recently where far-reaching decisions were taken to immediately put into operations the MNJTF.
“To this end, the summit approved the immediate provision of $30m for the task force.
“Consequently, out of the pledge of $100m which Nigeria made to the task force, I have directed that $21m be released within the next one week.”
The President regretted that the continent was indunated with conflicts of diverse forms in Burkina Faso, Mali, Libya, Central Africa Republic, South Sudan, and more recently in Burundi.
On the crisis in South Sudan and Burundi, Buhari regretted that the people were suffering while their political leaders were busy bickering.
He stressed the need for leaders to always place the interest of their countries above narrow and personal interests.
Buhari expressed the hope that the PSC would come out with a united message to call on all parties to act in the interest of their people and the entire continent.
Calling for a change of the face of Africa, Buhari said leaders must deliver a continent “that is at peace with itself, prosperous, a global partner and a democratic showcase.”
He however doubted the possibility of achieving the desired peace by 2020 as earlier planned by African leaders.
The President added, “As you are aware in 2013 during the 50th anniversary celebration of our union, we as African leaders committed ourselves to the objective of silencing the local guns in Africa by 2020.
“With just five years remaining, the prospect of realising this objective looks doubtful with pockets of violence in individual countries and the continent as a whole.”
He said Africans were witnesses to the rampant destruction of homes, roads, communication lines, vital infrastructure and displacement of persons and loss of lives on the continent.
This, Buhari added, is true of the North Eastern part of Nigeria where the country is dealing with the scourge of Boko Haram.
The ongoing AU Summit is Buhari’s first continental assignment after he was inaugurated on May 29.
He was accompanied to the event by the Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun; Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom and a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, among others.
The President is expected back in the country on Tuesday.