By Ngozi Ekhator with additional report from the Villa
As the December 2015 deadline given to Nigerian military by President Muhammadu Buhari to end insurgents’s activities in the North-east draws nearer, a new strategy to effectively stamp out the criminality may be unfolded early in the New Year.Buhari, while playing host to a delegation of residents of the Federal Capital Territory that was in the Villa to celebrate Christmas with him, said his administration was considering persuasion as a tool to make the insurgents to lay down their arms.
He said his administration intends to achieve that by using government’s institutions to persuade members of the sect to allow peace to reign.
He however did not disclose how his government would go about it or those that would be involved.
“On Boko Haram, this government is determined to make sure that we persuade them if they can be persuaded, we will use government institutions to persuade them to allow peace to reign,” he said.
The President again used the occasion to urge all Nigerians to come together and pull the country out of the numerous challenges facing it.
Buhari said while everybody in the world believes that Nigeria is a lucky country because of its natural resources, the country’s problem remains how to organise its citizens and how to get the right leadership in place.
He recalled that from the analysis of the All Progressives Congress (APC) during campaign, the party discovered that the country’s three biggest problems are security, unemployment of youths as well as bribery and corruption.
He noted that while the youth make up 65 per cent of the country’s population, the same percentage of youths are unemployed.
The President reiterated his position that there cannot be any development without security.
Buhari said: “We appreciate that the security agencies are doing their best and their best is showing and we have to continue praying for them. There can be no development without security, we have to continue to pray for them
“We have two million people who are IDPs and 70 per cent are women and children, some of them are orphans; they grew up not knowing their parents, tradition or culture
“As leaders, we have a weighty responsibility to ensure that infrastructure for the orphans are taken care of.
“As leaders, we wake with the feeling for those children, the most important thing is that they must not be denied education. Schools must be rebuilt. We also thank Danjuma and the G7 led by the US. They have been doing their best to help Nigeria to train our military.”
The sect’s activities have left in its wake especially in the North-east deaths, kidnappings, displaced persons, destroyed villages, communities since the death of its leader, Mohammed Yusuf, in 2009.
Earlier, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammadu Bello, who led the delegation consisting of Christian and Islamic leaders told the President that they were at the Presidential Villa to wish him a merry Christmas.
Bello observed that the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ coming a day after the celebration of the birth of Prophet Muhhammed was a unique message to adherents of the two religions to live in peace.
He later presented a giant greeting card to the President.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who was among the delegation in an interview with State House correspondents, urged Nigerians to learn to display the virtues of Jesus Christ in their daily endeavours.
Specifically, he called on citizens to always show love and display a high level of patriotism.