President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated that terrorism and violent extremism has nothing to do with religion, and only through proper education of youths would the war be won.
He said this in his speech during the launching of the Revised National Counter Terrorism Strategy in Abuja on Tuesday.
In his speech, which was read by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, President Buhari noted that “ anyone who kills the innocent and shouts that God is great either does not know the meaning of those words or is deranged.”
He pointed out that the best way to stop extremism from spreading is through education.
The President Said: “We must work hard to provide opportunities for these young men and women who for years have lacked education and a real chance of doing well.
“We must let them know that Islam or any other religion we know, does not endorse the slaughter of any one.
“As we think through our strategy, we must remember that to permanently win the physical battle, we must win the battle of the minds of the often impressionable young men who sign up to join Boko Haram. “We must also educate the millions of other young men, through the leadership of our faiths,” Buhari noted.
The president recalled his days in the military and wondered what has happened to the spirit of brotherhood, unity and love that motivated Nigerians then, irrespective of tribe, religion or belief.
He said: “We came from every nook and cranny of Nigeria, from the South-South, South-East, South-West, North-East, North-West and North-Central.
“There were Moslems, Christians, and atheists in our number. It never mattered where you were from or how you worshipped, we were just Nigerian Soldiers committed to each other and to our Nation, and completely convinced in the words of our old National Anthem, “though tribe and tongue may differ in brotherhood we stand.”
He regretted that all that has changed now, having been replaced by tribalism, religious sentiments and, lately, terrorism.
“In the past few years our nation faced the threat of terrorism, characterised by the mindless killing of innocent people, including children.
“The massacre of the Buni Yadi boys on their beds at night, the bombing of churches, mosques and market places, the kidnap of the Chibok girls and several many others,” he said.
President Buhari added that the war on terror has lasted this long due to “the disgraceful greed and wickedness of some in government and some in high office in the armed forces at the time” who made sure that “funds meant to equip soldiers to contain the terrorists were embezzled.”
He added that “Their incredible selfishness cost the nation thousands of lives, extended the reign of terror, and strengthened the enemy.
“This is why a robust and dynamic counter-terrorism strategy is crucial in the fight against terrorism, and must be constantly reviewed for relevance to contemporary challenges.
“I am pleased to confirm that this policy is fit for purpose and adequately responds to the current, imminent and future challenges.
With regards to the challenge of malnutrition in the Northeast and the thousands of children at risk, President Buhari said that he has “asked the Vice President to Chair an inter-ministerial team to quickly review the situation and work with our development partners and other CSOs to handle this particular problem.”
On the activities of armed herdsmen and host farmers, kidnappers, and criminal militants, Buhari reiterated that “The government is determined to ensure that the safety and security of every single Nigerian is our priority.”
“This is why I have repeatedly ordered our law enforcement agencies to ensure that perpetrators of violence in any shape or form are arrested and made to face the law.
“This is the oath to which I swore and I will uphold it at all costs.”
President Buhari also commended “the National Security Adviser and his team as well as other MDAs who worked tirelessly to ensure the development of this document.”