By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
President Muhammdau Buhari on Wednesday played host to the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The two leaders discussed issues around Nigeria’s security challenge as well as the 2023 general elections.
President during the meeting said terrorism remains a threat to global peace, security and progress, with many already killed, while millions had been displaced by the insurgents over the years.
“When we assumed office, the North-East was the major security problem we inherited in 2015, but we have been able to make people understand that you cannot kill people and shout ‘Allahu Akbar,’ (God is great!).
“It is either you don’t know what you are saying or you are simply stupid. God is a God of justice, so you cannot kill people and say God is great. Luckily the people understood our message and it has made a great impact,’’ he said.
Buhari told the UN scribe that the government had started a gradual, but steady process of resettlement and reintegration where citizens get encouraged to return to their farms, businesses and other pursuits in life.
The President thanked the Secretary General for the maiden visit to Nigeria.
In his remark, the UN Scribe, who had been in Borno State on Tuesday, said what he saw was a departure from the pictures of hopelessness and despair painted, adding that ”people exuded hope.’’
“Yesterday, I visited Maiduguri where the United Nations is supporting the internally displaced. I was deeply moved by their stories and struggles.
“These include the struggles with hunger, with the World Food Programme projecting 4.1 million people in the North East of Nigeria to be food insecure in the upcoming lean season,’’ he said.
Guterres said the United Nations had called for an additional 351 million dollars as part of the overall 1.1 billion dollars for the humanitarian response plan for Nigeria.
“But despite all they have seen and endured, the people I met remain hopeful and committed to returning to their communities and resuming their lives. To that end, I welcome the establishment of the Presidential Committee on the Repatriation, Returns and Resettlement of Displaced Persons in the North East.
“This spirit of hope amidst hardship – and solidarity in struggle – was also at the centre of my discussions with the Presidency today,’’ he added.
The UN Scribe said discussions with President Buhari also touched on laying groundwork to ensure peaceful and democratic elections next year – and the full participation of Nigeria’s women and young people.