President Muhammadu Buhari said, on Thursday, in Abuja, that significant improvements in national security remained the topmost priority of his administration, because other socio-economic initiatives could not be successfully implemented without adequate security in the country.
Speaking at an audience with Britain’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Houghton, Buhari reaffirmed his administration’s determination to end the Boko Haram insurgency, as quickly as possible.
“For a country to be efficiently administered, it must first be well secured, because other social and economic initiatives cannot thrive in an atmosphere of insecurity. An environment has to be secured before it can be rehabilitated. Nigeria currently has about 1.5 million internally displaced persons, and they need to be returned to their homes and brought out of trauma. Their schools, hospitals, churches, mosques, farms and livelihood, have been destroyed by insurgents. If they are not catered for, the country may lose their loyalty.
“When Boko Haram is pushed out and the environment secured, normal life will be restored. That is what we are determined to do. Other things like farming, economic activities and social life will then return. Nigerians are quite enterprising,” Buhari told Houghton, according to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.
The statement quoted Buhari as saying that Nigeria appreciated Britain’s support for the retraining of her Armed Forces and asked for more assistance in other areas, such as logistics, equipment and intelligence.
He also called for more international support for regional efforts to improve upon security in the Gulf of Guinea, through which crude oil stolen from Nigeria was shipped.
Houghton said that the Buhari administration was a huge opportunity for Nigeria to make progress, adding that he was very impressed with the progress Nigeria had made in the war against terrorism under President Buhari, and assured him that London would continue to support Abuja’s efforts to end the Boko Haram insurgency.