President Muhammadu Buhari has insisted that Boko Haram terrorists were not holding any local government area in Borno state or any other part of the country.
This is contrary to claims by a senator from Borno State, Kaka Bashir Garbai, that the Islamist terror group was still in control of three council areas despite assurances from the military that troops had liberated all territories hitherto in the hands of the terrorists.
Buhari spoke at the Aso Rock Villa when he hosted the President of Germany, Mr. Joachim Guack, who was on a two-day to Nigeria.
Guack arrived Nigeria the previous day when Boko Haram suicide bombers killed about 58 persons at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Borno state.
Buhari told him: “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 (IEDs) to cause maximum casualties on soft targets as they did yesterday, doing what they are capable of doing now.
“But for them to organise conventional attacks on military, police installations and take hold of towns, I think they are not able to do that. They send groups to go and kill vulnerable targets.”
The president lamented that the insurgency has caused over two million IDPs, 60% of who are women and orphaned children, even as he thanked Germany and other countries of the Group of Seven industrialised nations (G-7) for showing concern and helping Nigeria find solutions.
He said efforts were on to rehabilitate and resettle the IDPs in their original abodes as peace gradually returns.
“I am pleased with the response from the G-7, the United States and Europe. Training teams have been sent to our institutions. Help has been sent but what we do is to try to get our own committee under General T.Y. Danjuma and Aliko Dangote, who have made some special contributions, to start doing something in the field”, he said whilst implored donors to liaise with the committee.
The president thanked Germany for its assistance to Nigeria during the last general elections and during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. But he solicited more of Germany’s support in Nigeria’s quest for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Buhari also commended the quality and durability of work done by German firms working in Nigeria, although it comes at a price.
“Anybody driving through Abuja can see the quality of infrastructure, including this one (Presidential Villa).
“The first time I was the Head of State, I was in a barrack somewhere but when I came back as President I saw this beautiful castle very well built and very well maintained. This is to say I feel the German company (Julius Berger) is doing a good job and it is appreciated”, he stated.
Speaking through an interpreter, the German President condoled with Nigeria over the recent terror attacks in the country and announced a $15 million German donation for the Multinational Joint Task Force battling to defeat the terrorists.
Commending Buhari for his approach against Boko Haram, he pledged more support from Germany and called for renewal of trust and upholding the rule of law in the country, especially as Nigeria was playing an important role in Africa.
Meanwhile President Muhammadu Buhari has formally notified the National Assembly of his resumption of duties on Thursday after a six-day vacation in the United Kingdom.
The AUTHORITY observed that Buhari’s Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, was at the Presidential Villa yesterday from where he departed with an official envelope, apparently containing the official notification on the president’s resumption of duties.
He however, declined to confirm the contents of the envelope he held tightly to himself.