President Muhammadu Buhari has warned the Niger Delta militants unleashing violence on the area on Saturday to dialogue with his government or risk being dealt with the same way the nation’s military dealt with Boko Haram sect.
He said he was fully aware of his government’s responsibility to secure the country for economic activities to thrive.
He made this assertion through a statement on Sunday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the President spoke on Saturday at a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on the sideline of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Nairobi, Kenya.
The President told the Japanese leader that with the defeat of the Boko Haram terrorists by the military, the attention of the administration would be focused on stopping the destruction of the country’s economic assets by militants in the Niger Delta region.
Despite the violence in the region, Buhari assured existing and prospective foreign investors that their investments in Nigeria would be fully protected.
He said several steps were being taken by his administration to secure Nigeria and ease the process of doing business in the country.
“We are talking to some of their (Niger Delta militants’) leaders. We will deal with them as we dealt with Boko Haram if they refuse to talk to us.
“As a government, we know our responsibility, which is to secure the environment. It is clear to us that lenders won’t fund projects in an insecure environment.
“We realise that we have to secure the country before we can efficiently manage it,” the President said.
Buhari also told the Japanese Prime Minister that security in the Gulf of Guinea, which had been greatly affected by piracy and armed robbery at sea, was a priority for the Nigerian government.
He said, “We have provided funds to our Navy to buy new platforms, train and effectively organise the personnel to protect the area. We are looking forward to support from developed nations for satellite surveillance covering the Gulf.”
Recalling his audience with G7 leaders in Germany, which was attended by the Prime Minister, Buhari thanked Japan for responding positively to the requests by Nigeria for the rehabilitation of victims of Boko Haram sect and rebuilding of infrastructure in the north-eastern part of the country.
The President, however, said there was still more to do on education, health and other infrastructure to ensure quick and voluntary return of displaced persons to their native communities.
In his remarks, Prime Minister Abe congratulated President Buhari “for courageously tackling Boko Haram terrorism.”
He said Nigeria and Japan must work together to improve the investment climate in view of the many Japanese companies wishing to invest in Nigeria.