Nigeria's Buhari eyes Cameroon trip for Boko Haram force

2015-06-15 14:12
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. (File: AP)

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. (File: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - Nigeria's president Muhammadu Buhari is planning to visit Cameroon to cement a regional fighting force against Boko Haram, he told AFP on Monday.

Buhari met his counterparts from Niger, Chad and Benin at a summit in Abuja last week but Cameroon's leader Paul Biya was noticeably absent and represented by his defence minister.

The two countries have long had strained ties, in part over a bitter territorial dispute but also after Boko Haram mounted cross-border raids into northeast Nigeria from Cameroon's far north.

Buhari visited Niger and Chad in his first week in office and said he would have gone to Cameroon's capital Yaounde for talks with Biya had he not been invited to attend the G7 summit in Germany.

"But on my return to Nigeria now, I will try to go to Cameroon," he said on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Johannesburg.

Nigerian territory

Last week's Abuja summit rubber-stamped an 8 700-strong regional force involving the five countries to replace an ad hoc coalition of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

The current force came into being after Chad's president Idriss Deby sent troops to assist their Cameroonian counterparts against a wave of attacks by the Islamist militants.

Troops from Niger and Chad have crossed into Nigerian territory but those from Cameroon have not, in an indication of the strained relations between the neighbours.

But Buhari indicated last Thursday that soldiers from the new Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) would not be restricted in terms of movement.

The MNJTF will be headed by a Nigerian officer for the duration of the mission, with his deputy from Cameroon for an initial 12 months once troops are deployed from July 30.

Previous administration

Buhari has made crushing Boko Haram his immediate priority since coming to power on May 29 and he told AFP that foreign support was vital.

"The most important support is intelligence. What we are looking for from the G7... is intelligence. We want help in terms of logistics," he said.

"Boko Haram declared that they are in alliance with ISIS, so terrorism has gone international. They are in Mali, they are in Nigeria, they are in Syria, they are in Iraq, they are in Yemen...

"It's an international problem now," he said.

In the interview, Buhari also addressed concerns he had not yet appointed a cabinet more than two weeks after he came to power following his victory in March polls.

"I don't know why people are so anxious to have ministers, but eventually we will have," he said.

Buhari said that audits were currently being carried out in various government departments - and the finance and petroleum ministries in particular - to try and establish what situation they were left in by the previous administration.

"I am not in a hurry to get ministers," he said.

"I want to get ministers after at least I have seen this report, so that I don't have to appoint a minister today and sack him next week."

Read more on:    muhammadu buhari  |  nigeria  |  cameroon  |  west africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.