President Muhammadu Buhari reaffirmed yesterday that Boko Haram is not holding any Nigerian territory.
In what looks like a veiled response to the claim by Borno Central Senator Baba Gabai that three Borno State local government areas and about 50 per cent of the state’s land mass are still under the control of the sect, the President told visiting German President Joachim Gauck that Nigeria has taken back all its territories.
Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima and Senate Leader Ali Ndume have equally described Gabai’s statement as untrue.
Buhari said at the joint news conference with Germany’s ceremonial President: “It is a pity Boko Haram welcomed you by explosions in Maiduguri that took so many lives, but I have attempted to explain in so many fora that Boko Haram is not what it used to be.
“While they were firmly holding 14 out of 774 local governments when we came in, they are not holding any local government now.
“What they have resorted to is using improvised explosive devices to cause maximum casualties on soft targets as they did yesterday (Tuesday).”
He said the sect can no longer attack military and police formations.
The President also urged Germany to support Nigeria’s quest for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.
According to him, Nigeria deserves a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, considering its landmass, population, and position in Africa.
“Outside the bilateral, on the United Nations, Nigeria as an African and an uncommon country thinks that we are qualified by our number, by our size and by our position in Africa maybe to have a permanent seat in the United Nations. We hope Germany will support us.’’
Buhari expressed appreciation to the German government for its support and assistance to Nigeria.
He cited the invitation extended to him to address the Group of Seven Industrialised nations (G-7) under the chairmanship of Germany.
“I have to start with thanking Germany very sincerely for the invitation extended to me when Germany was chairing the G-7. Within the week I was sworn in, I was invited and when I went the first point on the agenda was security and security against Boko Haram.
“This showed the genuine concern the G-7 has on the security in Nigeria.”
Buhari also thanked the people and government of Germany for their support during the 2015 presidential election in Nigeria.
Buhari said the government had redoubled efforts to ensure that the people in internally displaced camps are rehabilitated.
“More than 60% of the two million people in IDPs are women and children and more than 60% of them are children, and more than 60% of the children are orphaned.
“Some of them don’t know where they are from they don’t know their parents. This is a pathetic situation the leadership of this government is facing because the least we should is to quickly resettle those children, if possible, try and identify their neighbourhoods,” he said.
He lamented that the money allocated for the purchase of military hardware was shared and pocketed by officials.
He said as part of economic plans for the country, the government was already working at diversifying Nigeria’s mono-economy through agriculture and the exploration of the solid mineral sector.
Mr. Gauck announced a pledge by the European Union to donate $50million to support Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram and resettlement of IDPs .
”We as Europe will support that initiative with $50 million.
“We commend your good governance. Good governance is not possible without peace.
“Germany will support Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram and we would continue to provide support for the displaced people on a humanitarian basis,” Mr. Gauck said.
He also pledged that the German government would support the Multinational Joint Task Force with equipment to tackle Boko Haram.
“Mr President, you personally, have made it very clear that it is in a very determined way that you intend to fight Boko Haram and its method that deeply violates principles of humanity.
“That is something that meets with the respect of the people in Europe and in Germany.
“And we intend to support you in that and we will continue to offer our support to you in that endeavour.
“We believe that it is very good approach you have chosen and that is something for which we will make available financial support.’’
Gauck, who condoled with Nigeria over the bomb attacks on IDPs in Dikwa, said his country would continue to assist victims of terrorism in Nigeria.
He expressed the readiness of some German companies to help revamp moribund industries in Nigeria.
Gauck, who applauded the ongoing fight against corruption, urged Buhari to remain steadfast in ensuring good governance and rapid development of the country.