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Buhari: West African, Sahel states need to team up against insecurity

By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has again challenged West African countries, especially those within the Sahel region, to pool their resources together to confront the common security crisis facing them all.

The President spoke Tuesday at State House, Abuja, while receiving the new Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mr. Mahamat Saleh Annadif, a Chadian.

According to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, President Buhari also tasked the UN Envoy to also use his experience to assist the region with rallying all the countries together.

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“You are our neighbour. You have vast experience on matters affecting the Sahel, having served for five years in Mali. I hope you will get the countries to work together to confront the issues affecting them,” he said.

Describing the problems as “enormous,” President Buhari noted that Boko Haram has exacted a heavy toll in terms of lives and resources in Nigeria and some neighbouring countries, while Mali equally has a large swathe of the country occupied by militants.

“I hope under the auspices of UNOWAS, you will help get the problems sorted out. Most of them have to do with the instability in Libya, and it affects all of us,” he said.

President Buhari pledged the assistance of Nigeria to the Special Representative so that he could succeed in his assignment.

Mr. Annadif said he was visiting shortly after his appointment because he recognized the crucial role of Nigeria in West Africa.

He said he was quite familiar with the problems of the Sahel region and would depend on the help of Nigeria to succeed.

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