Buhari wants UN to negotiate freedom for Chibok girls

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) shake hands with Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari at the UN headquarters in New York, on September 28, 2015.
  • You’re highly respected by world leaders – Ki-moon

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has invited the United Nations (UN) to serve as intermediaries between government and Boko Haram as a show of commitment to swapping the abducted schoolgirls from Chibok with the terrorist group members in custody,

He told the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, during a bilateral meeting at the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly in New York that the Nigerian government was willing to bend over backwards, to get the Chibok girls released from captivity.

But he expressed regret that government has not been able to identify credible leaders of the insurgent sect.

“The challenge is in getting credible and bona fide leadership of Boko Haram to discuss with,” the President said, adding that, “The split in the insurgent group is not helping matters. Government had reached out, ready to negotiate, but it became difficult to identify credible leaders. We will welcome intermediaries such as UN outfits, to step in.”

The President reiterated that the teachings of Boko Haram were far from being Islamic, as neither Islam, nor any other religion, advocates hurting the weak and innocent.

“The fact that they kill men, women, children, and other people wantonly, and shout Allahu Akbar (God is great) shows that they do not know that Allah at all. If they did, they would not shed innocent blood,” President Buhari said.

He thanked Ban Ki-moon for the moral and material support given to Nigeria, which has enabled the country surmount many of the challenges facing her.

In his response, the UN Secretary General congratulated President Buhari on the anti-corruption war, declaring: “You are highly respected by world leaders, including myself. Your person has given your country a positive image.”

He said the UN recognised the achievements of the Buhari administration against Boko Haram, urging that human rights be upheld always, to prevent a repeat of the scenario being witnessed in Syria.

Ban Ki-moon also thanked the Nigerian leader for his commitment to issues on climate change, adding that the government should “own the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” for the good of its citizens.