By Kalu Nwokoro Idika
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised that Nigeria will assist the Republic of Chad to stabilize, and return to constitutional democracy.
Buhari who toppled a constitutional government in 1983 made the promise on Friday at State House, Abuja, while playing host to Lt. Gen. Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, President of the Transitional Military Council of Chad.
A statement issued by a presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, recalled that Marshal Idriss Deby Itno, President of the country, had died in a battle last month, while leading troops to confront insurgents, who had come in through Libya.
“The country set up the transitional council, headed by the son of the deceased, and a return to democratic order is expected in 18 months,” the statement added.
The President, while speaking to his visitor, said: “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, and we will continue the collaboration,” said the president.
President Buhari said Chad should not hesitate to ask for help in areas it deemed necessary as the late Marshal Itno “was a personal friend, and a friend of Nigeria, and Chad has been very steadfast in defending Nigeria.”
Buhari, who said Nigeria would help strengthen the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), added that “We will also help you to ensure a smooth transition in 18 months, as you have promised your people.”
Lt. Gen. Itno, who thanked Nigeria for the solidarity shown after the passage of the former President, noted that the main objective of the Transitional Military Council “is the security and cohesion of our country.”
He recommitted to democratic, free, fair polls in 18 months, telling President Buhari: “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.”
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