President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived N’Djamena to participate in the Extraordinary Session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the presidential aircraft conveying the President and members of his entourage, including some of his personal aides and three state governors, landed at the Hassan Djamous International Airport N’Djamena at about 9:40am.
Those at the airport to welcome the President included the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Interior, Geoffrey Onyeama and retired General Abdulrahman Dambazau.
Others were Minister of Defence, retired Brigadier General Mansur Dan Ali; National Security Adviser to the President, retired Major General Babagana Monguno; and the Nigerian Charge d’Affaire, Nasiru Waje.
Buhari and other regional leaders would join their host and current Chairperson of CEN-SAD Conference, President Idriss Deby Itno, to deliberate on political and security issues, among others.
A statement by presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, on Friday said the leaders would deliberate on state of peace and ways to address multifaceted threats in CEN-SAD area, especially Boko Haram and refugees.
The leaders would make a declaration on the entry into force of CEN-SAD revised Treaty intended to fast track the realisation of the objectives of the body.
“During the opening Session of the Conference, special Awards will be given to heads of state and military contingents in Mali, Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic and in the Lake Chad Basin,” Shehu further explained.
Created by the Treaty of Tripoli on February 4, 1998, with six founding members, Nigeria joined the current 29-member regional economic community in 2001.
The group seeks mainly to create a free trade area in Africa as well as to “strengthen peace, security and stability, and achieve global economic and social development of its members.”
Delegations from 22 member-countries are expected at the extraordinary meeting of CEN-SAD holding at the Radisson Blu Hotel, N’Djamena.
Sudan, which is a member of CEN-SAD may not be represented at the meeting following socio-political uncertainties in the country caused by the removal of President Omar Al-Bashir from office by the Sudanese military on Thursday.
Al-Bashir had earlier indicated interest to attend the CEN-SAD meeting holding from Friday to Saturday.