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President Buhari Invites UN To Negotiate Release Of Chibok Girls With Boko Haram

September 22, 2016

President Muhammadu Buhari has informed the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, that Nigeria would welcome negotiators from the UN in talks that could lead to an exchange of Boko Haram fighters in government custody for the release of the abducted Chibok girls.

According to a statement by presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, President Buhari was speaking during a bilateral meeting with Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly in New York.  The Nigerian President admitted that the Federal Government is willing to bend over backwards to get the Chibok girls freed from Boko Haram captivity.

"The challenge is in getting credible and bona fide leadership of Boko Haram to discuss with. The split in the insurgent group is not helping matters. The 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,” said President Buhari.

The President maintained that the teachings of Boko Haram are at variance with Islam

"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," President Buhari said. 

He thanked Ban Ki-moon for the moral and material support given to Nigeria, which has enabled the country to surmount many of the challenges facing her.

The UN Secretary-General responded by congratulating President Buhari on the anti-corruption war, saying: “You are highly respected by world leaders, including myself. Your persona has given your country a positive image.”

He also disclosed that the UN recognises the achievements of the Buhari administration against Boko Haram, urging that human rights be always upheld, to prevent a repeat of what is being witnessed in Syria.

Ban Ki-moon also thanked President Buhari for showing commitment to issues on climate change, adding that the government should "own the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)," for the good of its citizens.