…warns against conflict spillover across sub-region
The Federal Government of Nigeria, yesterday, proposed an urgent dialogue between the transitional government, rebel groups and other stakeholders in the Republic of Chad to prevent the possibility of a worsening armed conflict in the country. This came on the heels of the passage of the Chadian leader, Marshall of Chad, Idriss Deby Itno, who died on April 20, 2021, as a result of injuries suffered while leading troops to a frontline battle with rebels. Although the deceased leader has been replaced by his son, Mahamat Idris Deby, a 37-year old four star general, Chad is still in a state of turmoil and confusion.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, disclosed that Nigeria was willing to guide and mainstream the dialogue, within the framework of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and ultimately, the African Union (AU). In an official statement marked: MFA/PR/2021/15, Onyeama said an early return to democratic governance in Chad should be the ultimate goal, but the immediate objective remained the stabilisation of Chad as well as the regions of ECCAS, ECOWAS and the Sahel. Onyeama expressed great concerns over evolving developments in Chad, warning that the interim leadership of the country and all stakeholders, at home and abroad, including the two armed groups still fighting, must not allow the evolving developments to snowball into more chaos with its attendant consequences.
The influence and relevance of Idriss Deby Itno lay in his capacity to make Chad act as a buffer between North Africa, the Sahel, East and West Africa and, in particular, containing the negative extreme tendencies that are domiciled in these regions. In the Lake Chad region, the late President Itno and Chad remained the strongest allies of Nigeria in the Multinational Joint Task Force, the Lake Chad Basin Commission and in the fight against Boko Haram and insurgency. “The great leader of Chad will be missed and glowingly remembered for his efforts to stabilise our sub-regions and maintain the peace and their socioeconomic development. His demise could lead to vacuums that could implode in these sub-regions, hence the need to appeal to all stakeholders in Chad to embrace dialogue to resolve their differences in the interest of peace and the sustainable development of Chad,” Onyeama said. In a tribute to the late Chadian leader, Onyeama recalled that his 31-year rule in Chad had been momentous.