ABOUT THE FORCE
The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) was established in 1994 by the Federal Republic of Nigeria to checkmate trans-border armed banditry around the general area of Lake Chad Basin (LCB) and facilitate free movement along Nigeria’s northeast border. Initially, the Force had only troops from the Nigerian Army but operated in liaison with the militaries and security agencies of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) member countries. However, in 1998, the Force received a boost and was made fully multinational by the inclusion of Chadian and Nigerien troops who alongside their Nigerian counterpart had the mandate of dealing with common cross-border security challenges within the Lake Chad Region. The establishment of this Force completely changed the tide of events in the area and the situation of insecurity in the LCB was significantly doused until 2009 when the Boko Haram group surfaced within the general area. This plunged the LCB back into a state of insecurity as the bandits and other cross-border criminal gangs that earlier operated within the LCB provided the recruitment base for the insurgents.
In 2014, the spate of Boko Haram activities heightened leading to the displacement of communities as well as the dislodging of some military locations. Coincidentally, the erstwhile Multinational Joint Task Force headquarters in Baga was overrun by the group in 2015. The atrocities of the Boko Haram group further led to the deterioration of socio-economic activities in the region. This necessitated the members nations of the LCBC to fall back on the existing security framework – the MNJTF. Accordingly, at its 484th Meeting of Heads of States and Governments held in Addis Ababa on 29 January 2015, the AU Peace and Security Council decided to support the efforts of the LCBC Member States and Benin through an authorization of the deployment of the MNJTF. Thus, the MNJTF was remodeled and re-operationalized with an increased capacity of about 10,000 troops and its new Headquarters in N’Djamena – Chad. The new Force was mandated by the LCBC to “create a safe and secure environment in the areas affected by the activities of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups, in order to significantly reduce violence against civilians and other abuses, including sexual- and gender-based violence, in full compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law and the UN HRDDP; facilitate the implementation of overall stabilization programmes by the LCBC Member States and Benin in the affected areas, including the full restoration of state authority and the return of IDPs and refugees; and facilitate, within the limit of its capabilities, humanitarian operations and the delivery of assistance to the affected populations. The Force commenced operations on 30th July 2015 with Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria as Troops Contributing Countries, each having a Sector of Brigade strength domiciled in-country. The Republic of Benin also contributed a company of troops to the Force although not in combat capacity.