By Samuel Malik
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria will be ready to negotiate with Boko Haram for the release of the abducted Chibok Girls if the sect can guarantee their safe release.
The President, who spoke to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday, was reacting to reports that Boko Haram might be willing to trade the abducted school girls for their detained members.
“Our main objective as a government is to secure those girls safe and sound back to their schools and rehabilitate them to go back to normal life. So, if we are convinced that the leadership (of Boko Haram) that presented itself can deliver those girls safe and sound, we will be prepared to negotiate what they want,” the President said, adding that the government was being careful about which Boko Haram is making the demand.
“We have to be very careful about the credibility of the various Boko Haram leaderships coming up and claiming that they can deliver. We have to be very careful indeed and I think we are taking our time because we want to bring them safely to their parents and to their schools,” he noted.
The President, who is on a four-day official visit to the United States, gave an insight into what he requested of President Barack Obama in the fight against insurgency.
“The G-7 recently promised to do what they can to help Nigeria, so we have brought our requirements in term of training, equipment and intelligence gathering for Nigeria to be able to fight Boko Haram,” Buhari said.
Security, according to Buhari, is key to whatever the government and Nigerians want to achieve, as “nothing will work until the country is secure.”
Stressing the importance of security, President Buhari said the situation is not limited to the North east alone and Nigerians will prefer the entire country is safe for them lead their normal life.
“My people, firstly, I believe, want the security in the country to be stabilised so that normal life, both in southern part of the country where the militants are still sabotaging oil installations and kidnapping people and demanding ransom, and the northeast of the country where Boko Haram is still active,” the President stated.
Commenting on the military’s integrity in dealing with the security crisis posed by Boko Haram, especially with allegation of gross human rights abuses, the President explained that irrespective of the soon-to-be-deployed multinational forces, investigation will go on to verify the allegation and suggested that this was part of the reason for changing the military leadership.
When asked about his campaign promises and the fight against corruption, including those close to him, the President promised to spare no one accused of corrupt practices, saying, “I just have to (prosecute them). There isn’t going to be any party member or any personality that can escape justice.”
He assured that Nigerians can still hold him on his promises, reasoning that he still has well over three years to prove himself.
“I think 12 weeks or so is too early for anybody to pass judgement on my campaign promises,” the President added.