President Muhammadu Buhari has called on militants unleashing violence on the Niger Delta to enter into dialogue with his government or risk being dealt with the same way the nation’s military dealt with members of the Boko Haram sect.
He said this would be done because he was aware of his government’s responsibility to secure the country for economic activities to thrive.
According to a statement on Sunday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke on Saturday evening at a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on the sidelines of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Nairobi, Kenya.
He told the Japanese leader that with the defeat of the Boko Haram terrorists by the military, the attention of the administration is now focused on stopping the destruction of the country’s economic assets by militants in the Niger Delta region.
Despite the violence in the region, Buhari assured existing and prospective foreign investors that their investments in Nigeria will be fully secured and protected.
He outlined several steps being taken by his administration to secure the country and ease doing business in Nigeria.
The President said, “We are talking to some of their (Niger Delta militants’) leaders. We will deal with them as we dealt with Boko Haram if they refuse to talk to us.
“As a government, we know our responsibility, which is to secure the environment. It is clear to us that lenders won’t fund projects in insecure environments.
“We realise that we have to secure the country before we can efficiently manage it.”
Buhari also told the Japanese Prime Minister that security in the Gulf of Guinea, which is greatly affected by piracy and armed robbery at sea, was a priority for the Nigerian government.
“We have provided funds to our Navy to buy new platforms, train and effectively organise the personnel to protect the area. We are looking forward to support from developed nations for satellite surveillance covering the Gulf,”the President said.
Recalling his audience with G7 leaders in Germany, which was attended by the Prime Minister, Buhari thanked Japan for responding positively to the requests by Nigeria for the rehabilitation of victims of Boko Haram and rebuilding of infrastructure in the North Eastern part of the country.
The President however said there was still more to do on education, health and other infrastructure to ensure quick and voluntary return of displaced persons to their native communities.
On the United Nations Security Council reform, Buhari agreed to work with Japan for the reforms, stressing that the case for a permanent seat for Africa on the Council was a moral one.
He also expressed Nigeria’s support for Japan in its bid for a UN resolution on the problems in East China and South China as well as the “uncontrolled nuclear tests by North Korea.”
The President said, “The UN system is sufficient for the resolutions of all disputes and no nation should be above the United Nations.
“This has to be made absolutely clear and I assure the Prime Minister that I will meet as many leaders as possible at the forthcoming UN General Assembly concerning the issues.”
In his remarks, Prime Minister Abe congratulated President Buhari “for courageously tackling Boko Haram terrorism.”
He said Nigeria and Japan must work together to improve the investment climate in view of the many Japanese companies wishing to invest in Nigeria.
He reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to rapid development in Nigeria through quality delivery of ongoing projects in the country, including Jebba hydro power scheme and the Lagos railway project.