- President Buhari in a fresh interview with foreign media speaks about Nigeria's problems
- He restated that naira devaluation is against national interests
- The president claimed that he hasn't failed against Boko Haram
- Buhari addresses Biafra issue
President Muhammadu Buhari during his last visit to Qatar has given the interview to Al Jazeera.
The Nigerian president has been speaking about the challenges the country is facing now, comprising the naira devaluation, the Boko Haram, anti-corruption crusade, the Biafra issue.
Buhari is seeking support for his fight against corruption and to promote much-needed investment in his country's ailing economy.
Qatar is the actual president of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer.
The low oil prices have a destroying influence on the Nigerian economy, which has long depended on the export of oil.
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President Buhari said: "We were unable to diversify our economy, hence we are much more disadvantaged by the lower oil prices."
He tells the journalist that he values the institution of OPEC and that "Nigeria will make the necessary sacrifice to remain in OPEC."
On naira devaluation, the Nigerian leader of the nation said he would not reconsider his insistence on freezing the currency. President Buhari said as Nigeria "virtually imports everything, from rice to toothpicks", it cannot afford to devalue its currency.
"If it is against our national interest, why can't we go against the IMF advice?" Buhari asks.
Two major Buhari's promises during the election campaign last year were to eradicate corruption and end the Boko Haram insurgency.
Speaking on the Boko Haram, the president restated that none of local government areas has been occupied by the insurgents, adding that he hasn't failed against the insurgents.
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However, the Boko Haram remains active in many areas of Nigeria, seemingly able to strike at will.
“I have not failed. When we came in Boko Haram was effectively in 14 local governments. Nigeria has 774 local governments. They hoist their flags and they said they had a certain caliphate but today they no longer to hold any local government.
They have reverted to improvised explosive devices blowing soft targets, and that will be a kind of terrorism which will be difficult to eliminate because it is technological, but they cannot hold any local government again. They are using technology but they cannot carry out organised attacks, overrun police post, attack military installations, they cannot do that now,” the president stated.
President Buhari recalled that over two million lives were lost during the Nigeria civil war between 1967 to 1970 on the demand of a Biafran state.
“At least two millions Nigerians were killed in the Biafra war. And for somebody to wake up may be they weren’t born. Looking for Biafra after two millions people were killed, they are joking with the security and Nigeria won’t tolerate Biafra,” he said.
Buhari said Nigeria has enlisted in the Saudi Arabia Islamic coalition fighting terrorism, clarifying that such step would help the country tackle extremism.
“We are part of the Islamic coalition because we have got terrorists in Nigeria, which everybody knows and the terrorists claim to be Islamic,” he said.
“So, if there is an Islamic coalition to fight terrorism, we will be part of it because we are casualties of Islamic terrorism.
“Boko Haram has declared loyalty to ISIS and ISIS is based in Islamic countries, and if there is a coalition to fight them why shouldn’t we be part of it, particularly when those fighting the country claim to be Muslims, although what they are doing is against Islam.”
When asked if non-Muslims would not feel that he is attempting to change the religious identity of the country, Buhari said: “Why can’t those Christians that complain fight terrorism in Nigeria or fight the militants in the south? It’s Nigeria that matters, not the opinion of the religious bigots.”
The declaration of the Independent Republic of Biafra in 1967 caused a civil war that resulted in the death of millions and the re-annexation of the republic to Nigeria in 1970.
The administration of President Buhari has always maintained that Nigeria's unity is a priority for the country and that while peaceful pro-Biafran protests are welcome, demanding the separation of the Biafran territories is against the constitution.