President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the United Nations to help negotiate the release of the Chibok schoolgirls, who were abducted by Boko Haram in 2014.
The President made the call during a meeting with the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly in New York, according to a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.
The statement said that as a show of commitment to securing the release of the Chibok girls, the Nigerian government was willing “to bend over backwards”.
“The challenge is in getting credible and bona fide leadership of Boko Haram to discuss with,” Buhari was quoted as telling the UN Secretary General.
“The split in the insurgent group is not helping matters. Government had reached out, ready to negotiate, but it became difficult to identify credible leaders. We will welcome intermediaries such as UN outfits, to step in.”
He stressed that the teachings of Boko Haram were far from being Islamic, as neither Islam, nor any other religion advocates hurting the weak and innocent.
“The fact that they kill men, women, children, and other people wantonly, and shout Allahu Akbar (God is great) shows that they do not know that Allah at all. If they did, they would not shed innocent blood,” Buhari said.
He thanked Ban Ki-moon for the given to Nigeria, which has enabled the country surmount many of the challenges facing her.
Bank Ki-moon, in his response, commended Buhari for his anti-corruption war, adding that the successes of his administration in tackling Boko Haram were noted by the UN.
“You are highly respected by world leaders, including myself. Your persona has given your country a positive image,” the UN Secretary General was quoted as saying said.
The statement added that Ban Ki-moon also praised Buhari for his commitment to tackling climate change.
He urged the Federal Government to “own the Sustainable Development Goals” for the good of its citizens.