We need support of community leaders to end Boko Haram – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari at the palace of the Shehu of Borno during a condolence visit to Borno
President Muhammadu Buhari at the palace of the Shehu of Borno during a condolence visit to Borno

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday urged community leaders to cooperate with leaders to end Boko Haram insurgency, noting that they cannot attack without support of the locals.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has sought the cooperation of community leaders to end the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast.

“This Boko Haram or whatever they are, cannot come up to Maiduguri or environs without the local leadership knowing.  Because traditionally the local leadership is in charge of security in their areas. So, with my understanding of our culture, I wonder how Boko Haram survives up to this end,” he added.

The President spoke during a condolence visit to Maiduguri on his way from Ethiopia where he attended the African Union Summit.

The President visited the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn-Garbai, following the February 9 attack on Auno community where no fewer than 30 travellers were burnt to death in a Boko Haram attack.

The President wondered why the Boko Haram crisis had lasted for so long saying the counter insurgency battle cannot be won without good intelligence from the civil population from the local communities.

He said: “And as Commander in Chief, I campaign both in 2015 and last year on three fundamental issues which include Security; you cannot properly preside over an institution or a country if it is not properly secured. Everybody knows this. Even those who didn’t go to school.  This is just common sense.

“Secondly the economy, we have young, aggressive youth, the Nigerian youths constitute 60 per cent  of our population with the average age of   below 30 years. So we have to remind them that they must help us to stabilise this country so that they can have a better future and for our grandchildren.

“If they don’t cooperate with the government, they are endangering their future. I am already 77, how many years do I expect to live under normal circumstances.”

The President said he was working day and night with security agencies to improving the security situation in the country.

“So we are working for you in this country. As Commander in Chief, I am dealing with the security institutions and I believe there is an improvement in security. I urge the people of the state to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies and let us deny Boko Haram access to our loyal citizens and encourage displaced people to go back to the land,” he said.

“I assure you that improvement in security will be pursued vigorously. The military will work harder and strategise with tactics to deal with the insurgents. This is however not possible without good intelligence and cooperation with local community leaders.

“I want to call on the leadership at various levels to cooperate with law enforcement agencies and let us deny Boko Haram access to our loyal citizens,” the President said.

“We will do our best and I hope history will be kind to us; to recall what was on the ground when we came and what will be on the ground when we leave,” he added.

He explained that he flew straight to Maiduguri from Addiss Abba out of respect and to sympathise with the traditional rulers and the people of Borno State.

Speaking on the state of the economy, President Buhari said his government had recoded successes and saved millions of dollars through agriculture which has enhanced livelihood of farmers, improved food security, adding that his government was also  working to defeat smuggling activities in the  borders.

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