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Buhari and Déby: a tale of two presidents

Two Presidents, one is at the war front fighting to secure his country the other one is an Aso rock Hush puppi.

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A tweet by the now famous Imam captured my attention this morning. The self acclaimed Nigeria Imam Of Peace @lmam0fpeace wrote: “Two Presidents, one is at the war front fighting to secure his country the other one is an Aso rock Hush puppi. One is useful, one is useless.”

While as a Nigerian, I take exception to a foreigner calling my president ‘Useless’, the so called Imam of Peace has a point.

President Idriss Déby of Chad The Chadian army said Thursday it had wound up an offensive against Boko Haram jihadists in the Lake Chad border region in which 52 troops and 1,000 jihadists were killed.

Army spokesman Colonel Azem Bermendoa Agouna told AFP that the operation, launched after nearly 100 soldiers were killed last month, ended Wednesday after the Nigerian jihadists were forced out of the country.

“A thousand terrorists have been killed, 50 motorised canoes have been destroyed,” he said, referring to a large boat also called a pirogue. It is the first official snapshot of the outcome of Operation Bohoma Anger, launched after Chad’s armed forces suffered their biggest one-day loss in their history.

Lake Chad is a vast, marshy body of water where the borders of Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon meet.

The western shores of the lake have been hit by jihadists crossing from northeastern Nigeria, where Boko Haram launched a bloody campaign of violence in 2009.

On March 23, jihadists mounted a deadly seven-hour assault on a Chadian army base at Bohoma, killing at least 98 troops, according to an official toll.

Chad declared departments near the lake “a war zone” in order to give the military free rein for the offensive.

The four countries bordering the lake on 2015 set up a formation called the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), also including Benin, to fight Boko Haram.

But Chad, whose forces have a relatively high standing in the Sahel, has shown frustration with the MNJTF following the Bohoma losses.

“Chad is alone in shouldering all the burden of the war against Boko Haram,” President Idriss Deby Itno complained last weekend.

“I met the commander of the MNJTF and asked him to take over.”

Boko Haram’s 11-year-old campaign has claimed tens of thousands of lives in northeast Nigeria and driven nearly two million people from their homes.

While campaigning for president and in his swearing-in ceremony in 2015, Buhari promised Nigerians he will lead from the front in the battle against boko haram, but today, not only is the president far away from the vicinity of Maiduguri he has completely disappeared from the radar. So much so that some Nigerians refer to their president as “a rainbow that comes out once in a while”.

The news of the Chad’s military success against Boko haram filled many Nigerians with so much shame and embarrassment that the Chad Ambassador to Nigeria was compelled to issue a press statement yesterday praising Nigeria’s contribution to the war against insurgents.

“The Embassy of Chad strongly rejects and denounces this regrettable misinformation which only aims at deteriorating the excellent relations that exist between their Excellencies, President Idriss Déby Itno and his brother and counterpart, President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as the cooperation and exemplary and dynamic interaction established between defence and security forces of both sister and neighbouring countries bound by history, geography, culture and blood,” the Chadian Government said.

An analyst however told ElombahNews that the Press Statement is merely a diplomatic charade that was issued to spare Nigeria’s blushes but failed to address recent developments regarding Chadian involvement on the war against boko haram.

Since 2015, Chad troops have been very active on Nigeria’s soil, and on 04 January 2020 said they ended a mission spanning several months fighting Boko Haram in neighbouring Nigeria and withdrawn its 1,200-strong force across their common border.

“It’s our troops who went to aid Nigerian soldiers months ago returning home. They have finished their mission,” Army spokesman Colonel Azem Bermandoa told AFP in January.

“Those who have come back will return to their sector at Lake Chad,” Bermandoa said.

The troops departure led to a resurgence in terrorist activity in the region.

What followed was the attack on a military base in Boma in Lac province on March 23 which killed 98 Chadian soldiers. The attack on March 23 also left 50 people wounded, including civilians.

President Idriss Déby of Chad

On 01 April 2020, Chad again deployed soldiers to Niger and Nigeria in a counteroffensive against the Boko Haram terrorist group.

On Friday 03 April, the government declared Lac province a war zone, and on Saturday 04 April, Defense Minister Mahamat Abali Salah called it, “Operation Boma’s Wrath”.

Salah said that as part of the operation, they deployed five companies of soldiers to Niger and Nigeria with the approval of these countries.

“Our purpose is to clear the area around Lake Chad from terror. We will continue to share the details of the operation,” he added.

On 04 April 2020, Chad destroyed five bases of the Boko Haram terror group.

The bases in Niger and Nigeria were destroyed as part of “Operation Boma’s Wrath,” according to Chad’s presidency who led the operation and said operations against the terror group would continue without pause.

Throughout the duration of Chad offensive on Nigeria’s territory the question on the mouth of Nigerians is: Where is President Buhari?

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