President Buhari meets diplomats, unveils policy thrust

Ben Adam Shemang

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the morale and will of the Nigerian Armed Forces to dislodge boko haram from their bases in the North East is as strong as ever.

He said the changes in both command structure and operational tactics had brought about significant gains on the ground.

The President was speaking while addressing members of the diplomatic corps in Abuja.

“The Armed Forces have been given specific instructions on rules of engagement to treat captured terrorists humanely and to avoid civilian casualties”, the president told the diplomats.

Looking back at the atrocities of boko haram  he told them that “it is worthy to note that when I assumed office on May 29, 2015, boko haram had full control of fourteen (14) Local Governments Areas in the North East, but today, the group holds no territory in Nigeria. They are hiding in Sambisa forest and occasionally undertake cowardly attacks on innocent citizens in soft targets”.

The Federal government has set up what it calls the General T.Y Danjuma-led Committee, saddled with the responsibility of coordinating efforts to reconstruct the communities destroyed by the insurgents.

“ We are quite aware that the war on terror will not, and cannot be won by military means alone. We need a soft approach that speaks directly to the human mind. Poverty and hunger do not only incapacitate, but they can lead to desperation. We are also aware that poverty and marginalization, amongst other factors, can easily create room for indoctrination and co-option into violent extremism”, President Buhari added

Foreign policy

On the need to live peacefully with neighbouring countries, the president explained that  “Nigeria has no choice, nor can the country afford to be an island in itself. Against this backdrop therefore, since my assumption of office, I have demonstrated my commitment to interact with my colleagues and Nigeria’s neighbours and beyond. It is for this reason, that the Foreign Policy vision which we are currently pursuing is anchored on meaningful engagement with our neighbors, the African continent and the world at large”.

The President emphasized that Nigeria would continue to build strong partnerships, strengthen regional ties and promote global solidarity.

Nigeria will also remain a responsible and active member of the international community; promoting tolerance, accommodation, reconciliation and pacific settlement of disputes.

He pledged that the government would also continue to shoulder responsibilities in peace keeping under the auspices of the United Nations.