President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday explained that the instability in Libya and the consequential flow of illegal arms and ammunition to the Sahel was responsible for the state of insecurity in Nigeria and other West African countries.
This was disclosed by Mr Femi Adesina, the Buhari’s spokesman, in a statement when he hosted 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, on Thursday at State House, Abuja.
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.
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.”
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 personal support I received from you, and from Nigeria as a country.”
He added that Nigeria 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).