President Muhammadu Buhari today highlighted his achievements in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency since he was sworn in on May 29.
The president said this when members of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group visited him at the presidential villa to make demands as regards rescue of the kidnapped girls following increased attacks in recent weeks.
“I think you will agree that the present government take the issue very seriously. Within a week of being sworn in, I visited Niger, Chad and would have visited Cameroon but for the invitation of the G7 to go to Germany and listen to them,” he told the group.
“I’m very impressed with the leadership of this important group (G7) other than the United Nations itself. They are very concerned about the security in Nigeria led by abduction of the Chibok girls by the terrorists.
“When the terrorists announced their loyalty to ISIS, the whole attention again was brought squarely to Nigeria. And now we are rated with Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, this is very unfortunate.
“After Ramadan, I will visit Cameroon to see the President there and then Benin Republic. But the efforts we have been making, some we will disclose publicly because it will not be consistent with security. But I assure you that under the Lake Chad Basin Commission, the military have met. The ministers of defence have met. We the presidents have met here in Abuja except the President of Cameroon who was represented his Minister of Defence.
“Strategy and tactics have been drawn. Multinational taskforce has been put in place more or less with headquarters in Ndjamina with a Nigerian General as Commander. And then the troops delegated by each of the countries are to be put in place by the end of the month. And Nigeria, I assure you will do its best because we as I said are the battle ground and we are being helped by our neighbors,” he said.
However, Buhari regretted that the Nigerian army known for its military finesse in the sub African region has been unable to root out Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
“It is paradoxical what the Nigerian military has achieved from Burma to Zaire to Liberia to Sierria Leon to Sudan. But Nigeria now has to be helped by Niger, Chad, and Cameroon. How are the mighty fallen!” lamented Buhari.
“We will do our best to restore the respectability of our country and its institutions. And with you, your steadfastness and your seriousness, we will do what we can do. We will accommodate all your observations including the negative ones about the performance of the government and its agencies,” he said.
“At the G7, the leadership there ask us for our shopping list which I’m still compiling. The military has submitted theirs and I’m waiting for the governments of the front line states to submit theirs local government by local government in terms of infrastructure, schools, health care, roads, markets, churches, mosques and so on.”
Buhari also noted that Boko Haram had no religious connotations, expressing happiness that the terrorists also blow themselves up in their attacks.
“We are pleased that in the excesses of the terrorists, they have blown themselves. I think they have to change their names from Boko Haram to something else because no religion will kill the innocents. You can’t go and kill innocent people and say Allah Akbar! Is either you don’t believe it or you don’t know what you are saying.
“So it has nothing to do with religion, they are just terrorists and Nigeria will demobilize all of them,” he said.