President Muhammadu Buhari has met with the interim military ruler of Chad, Lt. General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno. The duo met at a closed door meeting in the Presidential Villa, Abuja at about 11:11 am. According to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, Itno promised to return to the country to a democratic order in 18 months.
“We are bound together by culture and geography, and we will help in all ways we can,” President Buhari told his visitor. “Nigerians know and appreciate the role Chad played in helping us to combat terrorism and we will continue the collaboration,” he said.
Buhari said the late Marshal Itno “was a personal friend, and a friend of Nigeria, and Chad has been very steadfast in defending Nigeria,” so the country should not hesitate to ask for help in areas it deemed necessary. President Buhari said Nigeria would help strengthen the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), adding;
“We will also help you to ensure a smooth transition in 18 months, as you have promised your people.”
In his speech, Lt. Gen. Itno thanked Nigeria for the solidarity shown after the passage of the former President, noting 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,” he said.