From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised that Nigeria will assist the Republic of Chad to stabilise and return to constitutional rule.
In a statement in Abuja on Friday, Buhari’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the President made the pledge when he hosted Lt.-Gen. Mahamat Idriss Deby, the president, Transitional Military Council of Chad, at the State House, Abuja.
Deby took over the mantle of leadership of Chad after the death of his father, Idriss Itno, on April 19, 2021.
The former leader died in battle, while leading troops to confront insurgents who came in through Libya. The country consequently set up the transitional council. A return to democracy is expected in 18 months.
Buhari told the Chadian leader: “We are bound together by culture and geography, and we will help in all ways we can.
“Nigerians know and appreciate the role Chad played in helping us to combat terrorism. We will continue the collaboration.”
The Nigerian president described the late Marshal Idriss Itno as his personal friend and a friend of Nigeria, noting that Chad had been very steadfast in defending Nigeria.
He said that Chad should, therefore, not hesitate to ask for help in areas it would deem necessary.
Buhari said that Nigeria would help to strengthen the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the Multinational Joint Task Force.
“We will also help you to ensure a smooth transition in 18 months, as you have promised your people,’’ he added.
The transitional leader had thanked Nigeria for solidarity it showed Chad after the passage of the former president.
He said that the main objectives of the Transitional Military Council “are security and cohesion of our country.” He expressed commitment to free and fair polls in 18 months.
“You were very close to Marshal Itno. I’m here to reaffirm that relationship, and for you to support our transition. We rely on our brother country, Nigeria, as we have shared history, culture and geography.
“We are ready to be guided by you in our journey to constitutional rule,” he said.