General Muhammadu Buhari, president-elect, has promised that his administration will restore military cooperation with the United States of America.
In an article published by the New York Times in its Tuesday edition, Buhari promised to, among other things, reform the military.
The outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration had cancelled the training component of its military cooperation with the US citing a lack of sincerity on the part of the Americans for its decision.
But Buhari said, “My administration would welcome the resumption of a military training agreement with the United States, which was halted during the previous administration. We must, of course, have better coordination with the military campaigns our African allies, like Chad and Niger, are waging in the struggle against Boko Haram. But, in the end, the answer to this threat must come from within Nigeria.”
Buhari also said he would deploy additional troops in the battle far away from civilian areas in the south and the north central parts of the country.
In the article, the President-elect said, in the fight to end the Boko Haram insurgency, “We must start by deploying more troops to the front and away from civilian areas in central and southern Nigeria where for too long they have been used by successive
governments to quell dissent.
“We must work closer with our neighbours in coordinating our military efforts so an offensive by one army does not see their country’s rid of Boko Haram only to push it across the border onto their neighbour’s territory.”
According to the New York Times article, which carried Buhari’s byline, the incoming administration will aside from using the military to deal with the terrorists’ threat, also pay greater attention to counter-terrorism initiatives.
Buhari noted that his administration will seek to address why young people were attracted to join the sect. He identified some of the reasons to include poverty and ignorance.
He said, “Indeed Boko Haram – which translates in English, roughly, as “western education is sinful” – preys on the perverted belief that the opportunities that education brings are sinful.
“If you are starving and young, and in search of answers as to why your life is so difficult, fundamentalism can be alluring. We know this for a fact because former members of Boko Haram have admitted it: They offer impressionable young people
money and the promise of food, while the group’s mentors twist their minds with fanaticism.
“So, we must be ready to offer the parts of our country affected by this group an alternative. Boosting education will be a direct counter-balance to Boko Haram’s appeal.
“In particular we must educate more young girls, ensuring they will grow up to be empowered through learning to play their full part as citizens of Nigeria and pull themselves up and out of poverty. Indeed, we owe it to the schoolgirls of Chibok to provide as best an education as possible for our fellow young citizens.”
He observed that Boko Haram feeds off despair, lack of hope that things can improve. The former military head of state also argued that by attacking a school, and
kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls, Boko Haram only sought to strike at the very place where hope for the future is being nurtured, and the promise of a better Nigeria.
“It is our intention to show Boko Haram that it will not succeed,” he said.
The retired army general also promised that his administration will not only defeat the sect militarily, it would ensure that it provides the very education the sect despises to help our people help themselves.
Quoting the late Nelson Mandela, Buhari said the sect will soon learn that “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
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