The newly appointed Force Commander, MultiNational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), Maj.-Gen. Gold Chibuisi, has taken over the command of the force from erstwhile commander, Maj.-Gen. Abdul-Khalifah Ibrahim.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Chibuisi assumed duty on Wednesday in N’Djamena, Chad Republic, having served in the Theatre for 20 months from Aug. 6, 2021, till date.
Khalifa will be departing MNJTF on secondment to National Center for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (NCCSALW) in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Abuja.
In his remarks at a brief ceremony at the headquarters of the MNJTF, Khalifa said that he was pleased to state that the Lake Chad Basin area was much better secured today than it was at the beginning of his stewardship.
According to him, evidence abounds that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are returning to their homes in thousands from refugee camps in Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria.
“Same for places like Barova and Diffa in Niger where IDPs and refugees are returning.
“It is on record that attacks have dropped by as much as 60 per cent or more in the Lake Chad Basin area,” he said.
He explained that international trading commercial routes from Chad to Nigeria and from Cameroon to Niger had been reopened with significant success, while agriculture, commerce, schools and other commercial activities were picking up.
“Indeed, as the Global Terrorism Index for 2022 shows, all the countries of the Lake Chad Basin have witnessed significant upward trends. I must quickly state that it is not over yet.
“Though, violent extremist groups of Boko Haram and ISWAP have been severely degraded and curtailed, there is a need for the countries to come together and crush this once and for all.
“And I firmly believe that it is very possible especially, if the present level of cooperation is sustained.
“I will end by thanking the African Union for their tremendous support and the Headquarters Lake Chad Basin Commision and especially, the HoM Ambassador Mamman Nuhu for his strategic guidance.
“I equally thank the officers and men of the MNJTF; it has been a great honour to be your force commander since 2021.
“I want to appreciate the brotherly country of Chad for hosting the Headquarters MNJTF.
“I must at this juncture thank my country Nigeria and especially the leadership of the armed forces for appointing me as Force Commander, an honour I will cherish till the end of my life.
“And I wish the incoming Maj.-Gen Chibuisi, a most successful tenure of office,” Khalifa said.
Responding, Chibuisi said that the outgoing force commander had sufficiently briefed him on the operational mandate, successes, challenges and the current operations.
He said that there was no gainsaying that the conflict in the Lake Chad region had impacted the lives of the people of the two nations and their economies.
He added that it was expedient that this conflict should be brought to an end for the benefit of all.
“The task ahead is a very serious one and it is one that I submit to take with utmost seriousness and high level of responsibility.
“I see it as a privilege to be appointed to this high exalted office and it is also clear already that we have to work together to achieve this mandate.
“I encourage everyone to put his hands on the saddle. I’m open to advice and always open for any discussion. Let’s run this together.
“A lot has already been achieved by the outgoing force commander. We cannot allow the successes to go down; we have a responsibility to improve on it.
“I am pleased that with the officers we have in the MNJTF and with the partners that I have seen since I came in and the officer that I have interacted with making presentation, I have no doubt that we have the leadership and the commitment to deliver on our mandate,” the new commander said.
Highlights of the event was the presentation of the MNJTF Force command’s flag to Chibuisi by his predecessor (Khalifa) after signing the handing and taking over notes.
He was also decorated with the MNJTF command’s Insignia, being the symbol of transfer of command.