NIGERIA: President Buhari Takes First Step, Relocates Military Command Centre To Maiduguri In Order To tackle Boko Haram
New Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday promised to eradicate the “mindless, godless” militants of Boko Haram and rescue hundreds of women and children held captive, including 219 girls taken from the town of Chibok a year ago.
In his inaugural address, Buhari issued one of his first directives after being sworn in as President. He announced that the Nigerian Military Command will be moving from Abuja to Maiduguri in order to fight Boko Haram.
According to him: “The command centre will be relocated to Maiduguri and remain until Boko Haram is completely subdued. But we can not claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents.”
“Through official bungling, negligence, complacency or collusion Boko Haram became a terrifying force taking tens of thousands of lives and capturing several towns and villages covering swathes of Nigerian sovereign territory,” President Buhari added.
“The armed forces will be fully charged with prosecuting the fight against Boko Haram,” the 72-year-old former military ruler announced. A Muslim, he said the group was “as far from Islam as one can think of”.
“We cannot claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage,” he said. “This government will do all it can to rescue them alive.”
Hundreds of other Boko Haram captives have been freed by the military in recent weeks, but the Chibok girls have still not been found.
Buhari also painted a picture of an economy in crisis after a collapse in the price of crude, which accounts for the bulk of state revenue.
Depleted foreign reserves, vastly reduced oil revenues, corruption and the escalating cost of servicing debt had left the economy in “deep trouble”, Buhari said.
He made no mention of the naira currency, which economists say may be heading for another devaluation.
Importantly, he held out an olive branch to his political opponents in the oil-producing Niger Delta, saying his administration would continue to invest heavily in projects in the region that have underpinned an amnesty for militant groups there.