By Egena Sunday Ode
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja called on the international community to support Chad to conclude the transition from military to democratic government in a peaceful manner within the set time of 18 months.
Buhari spoke at the opening of the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) convened to discuss the recent developments in Chad after President Idris Deby Itno died on the frontline while defending the territorial integrity of his country.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said Buhari who declared the one-day summit open in his capacity as the Chair of leaders of LCBC member-countries, rallied development partners and countries particularly France, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and Russia; the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union, as well as other friendly and partner nations to support the transition framework put in place by Chad’s Transition Military Council led by General Mahamat Idris Deby.
‘‘The need to support the Chadian government to effectively carry out its planned 18-month transition is sacrosanct.
‘‘However, it must be stated that the sanctity of the Chadian constitution as the supreme guiding document defining the social contract in the country must be respected.
‘‘The transition period should be civilian-led, with requisite powers given to the constitutionally mandated organs of government saddled with the responsibility of administering the country,’’ President Buhari was quoted to have said.
At the in-person meeting attended by the Presidents of Central African Republic, Niger, Chad, Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya and a representative of the President of Cameroon, President Buhari said the death of President Deby Itno had direct implications for the continued peace and stability of Chad as a nation, the Lake Chad region and the wider Sahel Region.
‘‘Our region is faced with difficult, several challenges that need the support and engagement of all to overcome.
President Buhari also used the occasion to commend the untiring efforts of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, the Multinational Joint Task Force, member countries’ National Armed Forces and Security and Intelligence Agencies ‘‘who daily strive to ensure the complete restoration of peace and stability in the region.’’
He pledged that officers, some of whom have paid the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty for the survival of the region, will never be forgotten.
‘On the request of President Buhari and in recognition of the immense and sterling contributions of the late President of Chad to peace and stability in the region, the Summit observed a minute silence for the departed leader.