President Muhammadu Buhari has said that there was no proof that deadly group, Boko Haram sources its weapons from Islamic States, ISIS. He said this during a question and answer session with journalists at the closing of the second Regional Security Summit in Abuja over the weekend. President Buhari said the claim that Boko Haram was getting its arms and ammunition from IS remained unproven. According to him, a major source of the group’s sophisticated weaponry was from the various military and police bases attacked at the peak of the insurgency in the affected countries.
“The type of weapons they are using, I believe were the ones taken from military bases they attacked at the peak of the insurgency especially in Nigeria,” the Nigerian leader said. “If you recall they attacked military bases and carted away weapons, they attacked police stations and broke into their armouries, that was how they got the kind of weapons they have been using to fight.
“Frankly, up till now we don’t have firm intelligence of what IS has been able to send to Boko Haram in terms of weapons or even money. “But the fact that they said they are affiliated to IS has made many people to believe that they were getting weapons from ISIS,” he said. On the Civilian Task Force, JTF issue, Buhari allayed fears that members of the group are helping in the counter-insurgency operation in the North East , and would constitute threat to security in their various communities.
He said the Civilian JTF were carefully constituted by the various state governments, stressing that there was a broad plan to rehabilitate them in government’s post insurgency programme. Over 20,000 people have been killed since the Boko Haram insurgency began in North-East Nigeria in 2009.
Millions of others were also displaced by the insurgency although some of them have returned to their communities since Nigerian troops began reclaiming territory from the insurgents. On his part, the United States Deputy Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken said the United States had been supportive of Nigeria’s counter-terrorism war in the past two years. He pledged the US’s commitment to improved support to the Nigerian military and to the government’s post insurgency plan. Mr. Blinken said more military equipment would be supplied to Nigeria to counter Boko Haram and to help in sustaining the gains that have been recorded in the war against insurgency. He, however, warned that the battle against terrorism was far from over as much would be required to win the war as well as the peace. Furthermore, the Vice President of the European Union, Federica Mogherini said the EU had committed 50 million Euro to support the Multi National Joint Task Force.
He said the EU remained committed to the peace process in the Lake Chad region as well as the resuscitation of economic and social activities in the region. The Presidents of France, Senegal, Niger, Chad, Gabon, Cameroon as well as representatives of other partners attended the summit. Meanwhile, President Buhari also urged Ecowas member states and other Western allies to give countries of the Lake Chad Basin financial support for effective implementation of the Lake Chad Development and Climate Resilience Action Plan, LCDCRAP. Mr. Buhari said an estimated 916 million Euro is required for meaningful implementation of the plan, which, he said, is “crucial to reducing the high poverty rate in the basin, a major factor in the recruitment of terrorists.”
“Implementing the Lake Chad Development and Climate Resilience Action Plan, which was submitted to donor countries and organization at the Conference of Parties (COP 21) side event on the Lake Chad, therefore, remains a vital challenge,” Mr. Buhari said.