President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the remnants of Boko Haram insurgents in the north-east region of the country are bandits and will be treated as such.
In a statement released on Tuesday, 10 September 2019, Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said that Buhari made the declaration in Abuja when he received Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
“Boko Haram has been degraded, but its members are still a nuisance around Lake Chad and surrounding islands.
“That is why we are cooperating with Chad, Cameroon, Niger Republic, and other countries. We are also using the Air Force quite effectively. They are bandits, and we will continue to treat them as such,” Buhari said.
President Buhari said the government was concentrating on repairing damaged infrastructure, rehabilitation of internally displaced persons and securing their communities to enable them to return home.
He commended the ICRC and other humanitarian organizations for their support and noted that ‘’the situation of the displaced persons is very pathetic’’.
“Some children don’t know where their parents are, neither do they know where they come from.
“We are focusing on education and healthcare, along with rebuilding of infrastructure,’’ he said.
Buhari disclosed that great progress had been made in disabusing the minds of people that the insurgency was religious.
“How can you kill people and say, ‘God is great.’ It’s either you don’t know that God, or you don’t know what you are talking about.
“God is God of justice. And the people have understood the message well, so recruiting is now difficult for the insurgents,” he said.
Earlier, Maurer said Nigeria was the 5th largest operation of the ICRC worldwide, and the organization would continue to render humanitarian action to people affected by violence.
On the recent killing of two officials in the North-east, he said: “We are shaken by the killing of our staff, but not discouraged. Humanitarian assistance should continue, and we applaud the hospitality of Nigeria.”
The ICRC President said the relationship will be further strengthened with Nigeria, submitting that “the more we see activity from Nigerian authorities, the easier it is for us to add here and there”.