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Biya, Buhari Intensify Offensive As Boko Haram Weakens 

By Nformi Sonde KinsaiBiya and Buhari

President Paul Biya and his Nigeria counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari, have commended efforts of the military of both countries under the Multinational Joint Task Force for tautly combating the terrorist group, Boko Haram.

The two leaders “reaffirmed their commitment to continuously support the Multinational Joint Task Force until the Boko Haram terrorist group is eliminated.”

This is one of the 24-points joint communiqué that marked the State visit of President Biya to Nigeria from May 3 to 4 that was dispatched to The Post by Cameroon’s Civil Cabinet of the Presidency.
The communiqué was the outcome of one-on-one discussions between Biya and Buhari on a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues affecting both countries.

Concerning security issues, the two Presidents were satisfied with the successes achieved, so far, in the fight against Boko Haram and condemned the murderous activities of the group in Cameroon, Nigeria and other countries of the Lake Chad Basin.

Biya and Buhari commended the Multinational Joint Task Force for the recent successful joint operations conducted in the Nigerian territory of Ngoshe and Kumshe and the ongoing clearance operations to stamp out the activities of Boko Haram.

In the communiqué, Biya and Buhari “also welcomed ongoing discussions on the fate of suspected Boko Haram members arrested in each other’s country and expressed the need to set up a judicial framework that will ensure their fair trial and, if needed, their transfer to their countries of origin, in accordance with international best practices.”

On the upcoming 2nd session of the regional security in Abuja on May 14, the leaders “pledged to fully participate in the processes and to implement the outcome of the meeting in order to ensure peace and security in the affected areas in the Lake Chad Basin.

Biya and Buhari also agreed that a tripartite meeting of the two countries and the UN High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, should be convened by July 2016 in Abuja, with a view to agreeing on a framework for the safe return of Nigerian refugees, currently hosted by Cameroon.”

The increased interest by investors in both countries also preoccupied the two Presidents. This area was seen, as a measure that will further strengthen and expand the already existing mutually beneficial economic cooperation between the two countries.

“They pledged readiness to work with each other to harness the investment potentials that both countries have in order to open up opportunities for their people and urged the Ministers of Economy of the two countries to convene the Nigeria-Cameroon Business Forum in Abuja as soon as possible,” the communiqué states.

Presidents Biya and Buhari reviewed and “welcomed the recent meeting between the experts of both countries on the modalities for the construction of a bridge over the Mayo-Tiel river that will link Belel in Nigeria and Demsa in Cameroon and related infrastructure along the Jabbi Lamba-Garoua corridor; and directed for the early signing of both the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and terms of reference as well as the execution of the project.”

The leaders equally agreed that experts of both countries, under the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission, should resume border demarcation in the remaining areas between the two countries.
Meanwhile, the Border Agreement in the hydrocarbons domain between the two States already initialled and need to be signed, was hailed by the two Presidents.

Strengthening the Nigeria-Cameroon Joint Commission for it to coordinate and implement all signed Agreements and MoUs; and setting up a mechanism for the coordination of responses to major epidemiological situations that may have cross-border effect with a view of monitoring and preventing the spread of diseases, were some of the agreements reached by Biya and Buhari.

The important role, that the Governors’ Forum of contiguous States in Nigeria and the Regions of Cameroon, is playing in strengthening cross-border integration, cooperation and development, was recognised by the two leaders. Traditional rulers of border communities of both countries were also encouraged to establish local bilateral committees.

They also noted with satisfaction the review of the 1963 Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and Goods and called for the early signing of a revised document. Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the visit, an MoU on the Technical Consultation for the Management of Water Resources of the Benue Basin; and an Agreement on Trade, were signed by both countries.

President Biya and Wife, Chantal Biya, who were hosted and treated to a State banquet by President Muhammadu Buhari and wife, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, were showered with gifts of all sorts.
Meantime, Biya extended an invitation for Buhari to pay, yet another State visit, to Cameroon. The invitation was accepted and the date will be determined through diplomatic channels.

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