President Muhammadu Buhari warned on Thursday that as far as Libya remains unstable, illegal arms and ammunition will continue to flow in the Sahel region of Africa.
He spoke at the State House, Abuja, while receiving in farewell audience Mohammed Ibn Chambas.
Chambas is the outgoing Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS).
Buhari said Muammar Gadaffi held a grip on power in Libya for 42 years by recruiting armed guards from different countries, who then escaped with their arms when the Libyan strongman was killed.
“They didn’t learn any other skill, than to shoot and kill. So, they are a problem all over the Sahel countries today,” the President said.
“We closed our land borders here for more than a year, but arms and ammunition continued to flow illegally. As far as Libya remains unstable, so will the problem remain.
“We have to cope with the problems of development, as we can’t play hop, step and jump. But we will eventually overcome those problems.”
President Buhari described Chambas, who spent many years in Nigeria in different capacities, from ECOWAS to UN, as “more of a Nigerian than anything else.”
He wished him well in his future endeavours.
The outgoing Special Representative thanked the President for support he received from him, and from Nigeria as a country.
He said Nigeria would continue to play a leadership role on the continent.
Chambas said Nigeria is playing a yeoman’s role in battling terrorism and violent extremism in the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin area.
He lauded Nigeria’s support for the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) based in Ndjamena Chad.