President Muhammadu Buhari has said he is prepared to negotiate the release of Chibok girls if the leadership of Boko Haram was credible and capable of delivering the abducted schoolgirls safe and sound.
This was as he said nobody who is involved in corruption, including his associates in the All Progressives Congress (APC), would escape justice.
The president gave the response to questions from Christian Amanpour of Cable News Network (CNN), in the programme transmitted on Tuesday.
Reminded that he had vowed to tackle corruption and asked if he would crack down on his associates in APC if found corrupt, he answered: There isn’t going to be any party member or any personality that can escape justice.”
On Chibok girls and the willingness of Boko Haram to trade them, he said: “we have to be very careful about the credibility of various Boko Haram leadership coming up and claiming that they can deliver. We have to be very careful indeed. We are taking our time because we want to bring them safe to their parents and to their schools.”
On whether he would definitely negotiate with Boko Haram for the release of the Chibok girls, Buhari said he was not against negotiating with the terrorists as long as they could bring out the girls safely.
“I cannot be against it. I told you our main objective as a government is to secure those girls safe, sound and back to their schools and to rehabilitate them to normal life. So, if we are convinced that the leadership that presented itself can deliver those girls safe and sound, we will be prepared to negotiate whatever they want,” he said.
The president was also asked about the killings that had continued since he assumed office and the fact that Amnesty International observed that Nigeria military had lost credibility and trust of the people because of systematic human rights abuses.
In his response, Buhari pleaded for time for more investigation especially as new initiatives had been put in place in the war on terror.
“I have just mentioned that under Lake Chad Basin Commission, we have agreed to form a Multi-National Joint Task Force. So, whatever happened before that decision was taken, we have to allow further investigation to verify the question of human rights abuse. With that, I am sure you must have known the decision taken by this government, the Federal Government of Nigeria in changing the military command,” he said.
He told Amanpour that based on the promise by the G7 to assist Nigeria, he presented to President Barack Obama areas where the country needed intervention.
According to him, “G7 promised to do what they can to help Nigeria. So, we have brought our requirements in terms of training, equipping and intelligence gathering for Nigeria to be able to fight Boko Haram.”
On falling oil prices and the need of Nigerians, he said his administration would work hard to stabilise the security situation in the country to enable the people to have a normal life.
“My people firstly, I believe, they want the security in the country to be stabilised so that normal life can continue, both in the southern part of the country where militants are still sabotaging oil installations and kidnapping people for ransom and in the North-East where Boko Haram is still active. This is the military occupation of Nigeria now and is a realistic way of looking at things. Nothing will work until the country is secured,” he said.
When asked how he could do better than his predecessor in office, the president said he should be held accountable to his campaign promises in the remaining part of his tenure.
“I think I can be held to my promises for the next three quarter years ahead of me and I think 12 weeks or so is too early for anybody to pass judgment on my campaign promises,” he said.
Buhari said he would have wanted Obama to visit Nigeria for the first time, but promised that he would extend a formal invitation to the US president to come to Nigeria.
APPLY: WTO opens entry for 2022 young professionals programme
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has opened applications for its 2022 Young Professional Programme (YPP).
The programme provides opportunity for young professionals to enhance their knowledge of the organisation and international trade issues.
In 2021, 14 professionals out of 2,400 candidates were selected for the programme from Bangladesh, Belize, Dominican Republic, Eswatini, Guatemala, Georgia, Indonesia, Malawi, Mauritania, Namibia, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Chinese Taipei and Thailand.
WTO said “The YPP is a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience which can help open the door for future professional opportunities in the field of multilateral diplomacy and global trade.
“The YPP selection gives preference to young professionals from developing and least-developed countries that are members of the WTO and whose nationals are currently under-represented or not represented in the organization’s Secretariat.
“The programme is part of the Secretariat’s overall goal to increase its diversity to better reflect the make-up of its membership.”
To be eligible, applicants must be of age 32 as of January 1, 2022, and selected candidates will work at the WTO secretariat for one year, starting from the beginning of next year.
The areas of work at the programme includes accessions, agriculture, dispute settlement, intellectual property rights, market access, media and external relations, WTO rules, trade and development, trade and environment, trade in services and investment, trade facilitation, trade policy analysis and trade-related technical assistance.
WTO said candidates must have advanced university degree in law, economics, or other international trade-related subjects relevant to WTO work; must possess relevant expertise or continued academic study in a field of interest to the work of the WTO.
Equally, candidates must similarly have a minimum of two years relevant work experience.
The trade organisation further said selected candidates will be paid $3821.66 (N1,454,141.63 million) monthly and applications can be accessed on the WTO e-Recruitment website and should be completed no later than 29 April 2021.
Buhari receives briefing from Osinbajo
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday briefed President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President had last Thursday returned to the country after a16-day medical trip to London, United Kingdom.
He left Nigeria on Tuesday, March 30, briefly after a security meeting with defense and intelligence chiefs as well as other security sector managers.
Gunmen attack Imo police station, kidnap officer
A police officer has been abducted in an attack on Mbieri Divisional Police Headquarters in Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo state on Thursday morning.
This comes three days after the state Police Command headquarters and Owerri Correctional Center were attacked while 1,884 inmates released.
A resident of Mbieri said the gunmen released the suspects in custody.
However, the policemen on duty were said to have engaged the attackers in a gun duel but they were reportedly overpowered by the gunmen who had sophisticated weapons.
A community leader, Nokey Ebikam, told newsmen that the police divisional headquarters was not burnt but only freed the suspects in detention after vandalizing it.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Orlando Ikeokwu, confirmed the attack on the police station but did not go into details.
It was gathered that aside the officer who was abducted, two others sustained injuries in the incident which is the second major attack on a police station since an armed gang invaded the state police headquarters on Monday.
The Police authorities have blamed the attacks on the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) but the group has distanced itself from the attacks.
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