President Muhammadu Buhari has said his government is prepared to negotiate with terror group, Boko Haram over the release of the Chibok school girls who were abductedby the sect over a year ago.
The president said this on Tuesday while speaking during an interview with CNN’s Christine Amanpour in the United States.
“Our main objective as a government is to secure those girls safe, sound and back to their schools and to rehabilitate them to normal life.
“ So, if we are convinced that the leadership that presented itself can deliver those girls safe and sound, we will be prepared to negotiate whatever they want,” he said.
President Buhari said the negotiation can only be possible if the leadership of Boko Haram is credible and capable of delivering the abducted schoolgirls safe and sound.
“We have to be very careful about the credibility of various Boko Haram leadership coming up and claiming that they can deliver. We have to be very careful indeed. We are taking our time because we want to bring them safe to their parents and to their schools.”
When asked about the killings that had continued since he assumed office and the fact that Amnesty International observed that Nigeria military had lost credibility and trust of the people because of systematic human rights abuses, President Buhari responded by pleading for time for more investigation, stressing that new initiatives has been put in place in the war on terror.
“I have just mentioned that under Lake Chad Basin Commission, we have agreed to form a Multi-National Joint Task Force. So, whatever happened before that decision was taken, we have to allow further investigation to verify the question of human rights abuse. With that, I am sure you must have known the decision taken by this government, the Federal Government of Nigeria in changing the military command,” he said.
He told Amanpour that following the promise by the G7 to assist Nigeria, he has presented to US President Barack Obama areas where the country needs intervention.
He said, “G7 promised to do what they can to help Nigeria. So, we have brought our requirements in terms of training, equipping and intelligence gathering for Nigeria to be able to fight Boko Haram.”
Speaking on the falling oil prices and the need of Nigerians, President Buhari said his administration would work hard to stabilize the security situation in the country to enable the people to have a normal life.
“My people firstly, I believe, they want the security in the country to be stabilised so that normal life can continue, both in the southern part of the country where militants are still sabotaging oil installations and kidnapping people for ransom and in the North-East where Boko Haram is still active. This is the military occupation of Nigeria now and is a realistic way of looking at things. Nothing will work until the country is secured,” he said.
When asked if he can do better than his predecessor in office, the president said he should be held accountable to his campaign promises in the remaining part of his tenure.
“I think I can be held to my promises for the next three quarter years ahead of me and I think 12 weeks or so, it is too early for anybody to pass judgment on my campaign promises,” he said.
President Buhari said he would be delighted if President Barack Obama, could visit Nigeria in his upcoming visit to Africa, he however promised that he would extend a formal invitation to the US president.