President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 spoke with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about terrorism, corruption, and his meetings with President Barack Obama on his 4-day trip to the United States of America.
Speaking on Boko Haram, Buhari made a sharp deviation from his campaign promises of “crushing” the deadly terrorist group. Rather he said that his government was willing to negotiate with Boko Haram for the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls. “We will ask them (Boko Haram) what they want, and we can free the girls”, Buhari said.
This new position is at variance with Buhari’s previous hard-talk about ending terrorism in the country. He had previously described the terrorist group as being ”ungodly” and as “our misguided brothers” in the past. There have also been calls from Northern Nigerian groups for amnesty to be granted to Boko Haram fighters. In the early days of the organisation’s violent campaign in 2012, Buhari, was in the fore-front for those agitating for amnesty for the terrorist group.
Buhari, however, cautioned on the need to ascertain that the government was speaking with “the right leadership of the group.
In the interview with Amanpour, Buhari said his critics were too early in judging him if he was able to bring about the change that he promised during his campaigns.
He also said that no corrupt individual would escape justice in his government. He said it did not matter whether the person was in his party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) or the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He reiterated that he was determined to rid Nigeria of corruption which he was was holding the country back.
You may watch the video of the interview below:
Below are some quotes from the interview:
“If we are convinced that we can have the girls, why not, we can negotiate. Our goal is to have the girls. We will ask them what they want and we can free the girls; return them to their school; unite them with their parents and rehabilitate them, so, they can live a normal life.”
“We have to be careful about the credibility of various Boko Haram groups. You need to be careful that you are talking to the right group.””
“It is not the issue of party member (APC). If you have stolen, no party member can escape justice.”