Reactions trail Buhari’s threat to militants

by Ogundokun Ayobami , at 01:01 , have 0 comments
President Buhari as he departs Nairobi Kenya for Abuja after participating at the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Nairobi Kenya
NAIROBI—Reactions have trailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s threat to Niger Delta militants that if they didn’t stop blowing up oil and gas pipelines in the region they will be given the Boko Haram treatment,. The President also said the Federal Government was ready to dialogue with bonafide leaders of Boko Haram who knew the whereabouts of the Chibok girls. He charged the group to choose an international Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, to negotiate prisoners swap for the girls, if it doesn’t trust the government. President Buhari, who spoke in an interview with newsmen in Nairobi, on the sideline of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD, in Nairobi, Kenya, however, said the Federal Government was ready to dialogue with Niger Delta militants to resolve all contending issues in the area. President Buhari as he departs Nairobi Kenya for Abuja after participating at the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Nairobi Kenya “We do not believe that they (the militants) have announced ceasefire. We are trying to understand them more. Who are their leaders and which areas do they operate and other relevant issues?” He said with the defeat of Boko Haram, the militants in the Niger Delta must dialogue with the federal government or be dealt with in the same way as Boko Haram. “We are talking to some of their leaders. We will deal with them as we dealt with Boko Haram, if they refuse to talk to us. “As a government, we know our responsibility, which is to secure the environment. It is clear to us that lenders won’t fund projects in insecure environments.  We realize that we have to secure the country before we can efficiently manage it,” the President said. President Buhari, who disclosed this also at the bilateral talks with the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, said security in the Gulf of Guinea, which he said was being greatly affected by piracy and armed robbery, was a priority for the federal government. “We have provided funds to our Navy to buy new platforms, train and effectively organize the personnel to protect the area. We are looking forward to support from developed nations for satellite surveillance covering the Gulf,” he said. Recalling his audience with G7 leaders in Germany, which was attended by the Prime Minister, President Buhari thanked Japan for responding positively to the requests by Nigeria for the rehabilitation of victims of Boko Haram and rebuilding of infrastructure in the North Eastern part of the country. He, however, said there was still more to do on education, health and other infrastructure to ensure quick and voluntary return of displaced persons to their native communities. On the United Nations Security Council reform, President Buhari agreed to work with Japan for the reforms, stressing that the case for a permanent seat for Africa on the Council was a moral one. He equally expressed Nigeria’s support for Japan in its bid for a UN resolution on the problems in East China and South China as well as the “uncontrolled nuclear tests by North Korea.” United Nations is supreme Buhari continued: “The UN system is sufficient for the resolutions of all disputes and no nation should be above the United Nations. “This has to be made absolutely clear and I assure the Prime Minister that I will meet as many leaders as possible at the forthcoming UN General Assembly concerning the issues.” In his remarks, Prime Minister Abe congratulated President Buhari “for courageously tackling Boko Haram terrorism.” He said Nigeria and Japan must work together to improve the investment climate, in view of the many Japanese companies wishing to invest in Nigeria. He reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to rapid development in Nigeria through quality delivery of ongoing projects in the country, including Jebba hydro power scheme and the Lagos railway project. On government’s readiness to swap Boko Haram prisoners for abducted Chibok girls, the President said the group’s genuine leaders could engage international figures to negotiate on their behalf, if they had no trust for officials of government. Chibok girls He said:  “I have made a couple of comments on the Chibok girls and it seems to me that much of it has been politicised. “What we said is that the government which I preside over is prepared to talk to bonafide leaders of Boko Haram. “If they do not want to talk to us directly, let them pick an internationally recognised Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, convince them that they are holding the girls and that they want Nigeria to release a number of Boko Haram leaders in detention, which they are supposed to know. “If they do it through the ‘modified leadership’ of Boko Haram and they talk with an internationally recognised NGO, then Nigeria will be prepared to discuss for their release.” Buhari warned that the Federal Government would not waste time and resources with “doubtful sources” claiming to know the whereabouts of the girls. “We want those girls out and safe. The faster we can recover them and hand them over to their parents, the better for us,” he said. The President maintained that the terror group, which pledged allegiance to ISIS, had been largely decimated by the Nigerian military, with the support of immediate neighbours – Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin. He added:  “Some of the information about the division in Boko Haram is already in the press and I have read in the papers about the conflict in their leadership. “The person known in Nigeria as their leader, we understand, was edged out and the Nigerian members of Boko Haram started turning themselves to the Nigerian military. “We learnt that in an air strike by the Nigeria Air Force, he was wounded. Indeed, their top hierarchy and lower cadre have a problem and we know this because when we came into power, they were holding 14 out of the 774 local governments in Nigeria. “But now, they are not holding any territory and they have split to small groups attacking soft targets.” To Nigerians in Kenya Speaking at a separate meeting with the Nigerian community in Kenya, President Buhari said:  “I ask for your support to make our vision of stamping out corruption a reality in the shortest possible time. “Whoever is caught will not be spared. The government is still being dared, but those who are sensible should have learned a lesson. Those who are mad, let them continue in their madness. “I am aware that in the last two weeks, the national grid collapsed a number of times. I hope this message will reach the vandals and saboteurs who are blowing up pipelines and installations. We will deal with them the way we dealt with Boko Haram.” We are creating enabling business climate in Nigeria—Buhari While making his presentation at plenary on “Dialogue with the priate sector” at TICAD, yesterday, the President told Japanese business community that Nigeria’s business environment was now healthy for investors. He revealed that government had established a Presidential Enabling Environment Council, PEEC, and Inter-Ministerial Council to help eliminate some inherent and artificial bottlenecks likely to impede the ease of doing business in Nigeria. He expressed hope that the efforts would move Nigeria from the rating of World Bank’s business index to 20 places in first year, to be in the top 100 within the next three years. “One of the most important priorities is to create right and enabling environment for business and investors in Nigeria. Our vision and objective is to make Nigeria one of the most attractive and the easiest places of doing business in the world. “We believe government has a particular responsibility to create right and attractive environment for businesses and economic activities to thrive. “In furtherance of this vision, we have launched the Presidential Enabling Environment Council, PEEC and Inter-Ministerial Council to oversee the efforts of government to remove various bottlenecks that stifle businesses and economic activities and, thereby, create the right enabling environment and investment climate in Nigeria. “The secretariat will include strong private sector representation that would be led by experienced business professionals. We are committed to moving up the rating of the World Bank’s ease of doing business index 20 places in first year and be in the top 100 within the next three years,” he said. Nigeria to give more budgetary allocation to Agriculture in 2017 The President, who assured that the Federal Government would sustain concrete measures to diversify the economy by devoting more resources to agriculture in the 2017 budget, also noted that African countries had a lot to learn from Japan on developing agriculture. He said:  “This year, in Nigeria, we started an aggressive farming programme that entails organising farmers into cooperatives in the second and third tier of government. “We intend to put more resources in our 2017 budget, especially in the procurement of machinery for land clearing, fertilizers, pesticides and training of less-educated farmers, as farm extension instructors. “We have already registered some success this year in a number of states. We identified some 13 states that will be self-sufficient in rice, wheat and other grains before the end of 2018. “We are very positive that soon, we will be able to export these food products. We are also lucky that the farming season in the northern part of the country has been very good and we are expecting a bumper harvest this year.” On his expectation from TICAD, President Buhari said Japan’s story of rapid economic growth, hardwork and advanced technology should encourage Africans to strive harder and solve their development challenges. Reactions trail Buhari’s threat to militants Reacting to the President’s threat to give Niger Delta militants Boko Haram treatment, Convener of South South Reawakening Group, Joe Ambakederemo, said:  “We are calling on Mr. President to exercise some restraint since the elders and leaders have waded into the matter, with a view to bringing about peace in the region. “Let him not be too hasty  in resorting to the use of force, especially as the major militant groups have agreed to dialogue with government. Dialogue remains the best option in solving problems of the region. On his part, National President of Ijaw National Council, IYC, Alatubo Charles Harry, pleaded with the President to use all peace approach to ensure there was peace in the troubled region. “We pray that President Muhammadu Buhari will find it within himself to know that ‘peace hath her victories no less renowned than war’. “We know that he has the authority and power of cohesion in the might of the Federal Government, but he should also realize that lives are sacred, so he should please exhaust all peace means first and foremost.  There is panic already in the Niger Delta. “We, the Ijaw National Council, do not believe that the overture of peace is a trick, we believe that it can be deepened and be made more efficacious. “The issues of Odi in Bayelsa State are still very much fresh in our mind. We pray that the Federal Government and Buhari will understand and appreciate the lives of our people as Nigerians. Embrace dialogue, Reps beg Buhari Also reacting to the threat, members of the House of Representatives, yesterday, pleaded with President Buhari not to go ahead with his threat to treat militants like Boko Haram insurgents. The Reps advised the President to, first and foremost, embrace dialogue to douse the tension in the Niger Delta. One of the lawmakers, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, PDP, Abia, who represents an oil producing constituency, said:  “Mr President should call the Niger Delta stakeholders to a roundtable conference to iron out this matter once and for all. “Negotiation cannot be exhausted in a sensitive matter like this because it is the only weapon that can bring about peace in the region. “Peace will bring us out of the present economic recession of the country and any military invasion will further bring about further sufferings for all Nigerians.” Speaking in the same vein, Ehiozuwa Johnson Agbonayinma, PDP, Edo noted that Nigeria “belongs to us all and negotiation is a better option than war. “We should deal with corruption first because these militants are paid as little as N4000 and you expect them to watch when they know corruption is the cause of their poor stipends. “Those that stole our money with pen are worse than the avengers; we should fight that first and the avengers will sheath their swords. The multinational companies too should not be spared as they are the people colluding with Nigerians to rip off Nigerians.” Chief T.K. Okorotie, a one time Chief Whip in Rivers State House of Assembly when Bayelsa was part of the old Rivers State is the Publicity Secretary, Bayelsa Elders Council and chairman, Bayelsa Development Forum. He said: “I hope it is a strategy to make people go to dialogue. The position of stakeholders are well known. The meeting three weeks ago at the residence of Chief E.K Clark in Warri and the meeting held on the 19th of this month by the Niger Delta coastal states and that of last Friday with the Minister of State for Petroleum, which I also attended, our position has always been fair, appealing to the militants to sheathe their swords and embrace dialogue. “The region should be united and speak with one voice and negotiate with the Federal Government. The militants also agreed to work with the E.K Clark group but that does not mean others cannot work for peace. “Well, intimidation is probably a strategy of warfare but this cannot solve all problems. It is only dialogue that can solve the problems”  

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Reactions trail Buhari’s threat to militants
Reactions trail Buhari’s threat to militants - written by Ogundokun Ayobami , published at 01:01 . And have 0 comments
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