The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) on Friday in Abuja said security forces in the country are capable and competent in winning the fight against Boko Haram insurgents in the country.
He said with the 30-month civil war experience of Nigeria’s military, it is capable of handling the crisis rocking the North-East.
Buhari said this while receiving Janez Lenarcic, the European Union Commissioner for Crisis Management in the State House, Abuja.
The President said, “If we were capable to fight a 30-month civil war and reorganised our country, I wonder why people are thinking that Nigeria cannot do it.
“We have the experience of the civil war. I could recall the role of the military, the army, each commander had in his pocket how to behave himself and how to allow international bodies like yourself to go round and see for themselves that people are treated in the most humane way.
“We have this experience and I assure you that we also have this confidence in your organisation. That is why I feel that Nigeria is capable of handling this crisis, it may take long but we are capable of handling it.”
Buhari also blamed the inability of the Nigerian military to subdue the insurgents on the increasing proliferation of arms in the G5 Sahel region.
He said, “The important thing really is weapons reaching the Sahel; the instability it is causing. Look at the casualties in Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali; Libya has a direct impact on the stability of the Sahel.
“As for Boko Haram, we try to disabuse the minds of the people and I think our people now understand the basic dishonesty in it. With my experience personally in the civil war, I am sure we will get over it.”
The retired general also told the EU that one of the next priorities of his regime is to rehabilitate Internally Displaced Persons in the North East, adding that it informed his decision to create an exclusive ministry, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
“I assure you of Nigeria’s commitment to enhance and deepen cooperation with the EU in all areas. Our priority in the next level is to ensure that Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, are rehabilitated so that livelihood should be established and the children should not lose the opportunity to go back to school, which is very important for the future of that area and Nigeria generally.
“I assure you that we are aware of these problems and we will continue to do our best. The newly created Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs is coordinating NEMA and others, to make sure that whatever resources we get are well utilised. The ministry will be accountable to the government instead of having too many bodies doing the same thing. We are also reaching out to foreign countries explaining to them our position, and we are confident we will get over it.”
The EU Commissioner on his part acknowledged Nigeria’s big role in the African continent and requested a development plan between the EU and Nigeria concerning the issues in the North East.
He expressed the EU’s readiness to support Nigeria in ending the insurgency in the Northeast.
“We would like to support your efforts. We believe all relevant actors; military, civilian as well as humanitarian should come together. The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs is suggesting such high-level dialogue.
“In situations such as what we have in the northeast, international law and international humanitarian law should apply. We believe in your efforts to end the conflict; military effort alone probably will not be sufficient without identifying and addressing the socio-economic factors causing it,” he stated.
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