President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday warned that as far as Libya remained unstable, illegal arms and ammunition would continue to flow in the Sahel region of the African continent, including Nigeria.
He spoke 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.
Buhari recalled that Muammar Gadaffi had a firm 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,” the President said.
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.”
The outgoing Special Representative thanked the President “for personal support I received from you, 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).