By Rabiu Sani
The Federal Government on Thursday appealed to Saudi Arabia to assist in promoting true teachings of Islam to fast-track de-radicalization and curtail spread of Boko Haram ideology in the North-East.
Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, made the call in Maiduguri while flagging off the distribution of relief items donated by the Saudi Kingdom, to persons displaced by Boko Haram insurgency in the region.
He said that the call was imperative to enhance true teachings of Islam, curtail spread of Boko Haram ideology and end insurgency in the area.
“I request the assistance of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to assist in the promotion and propagation of right Islamic ideology to eradicate Boko Haram ideologies in the country.
“I also urge the Saudi Arabia Government to extend the military defence platform sharing of information and intelligence to Nigeria.
“Our country values the cordial relations that exist between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
“The two countries have continued to collaborate in areas of mutual benefits and interest, including military relations, especially with the recent posting of the Nigerian Defence Adviser to Riyadh,” he said.
The minster lamented that Boko Haram insurgency had caused humanitarian crisis, including loss of lives, high level destruction of economic and social activities as well as displacements in the war-ravaged region.
He noted that poverty was one of the remote causes of the insurgency, which needed a holistic social and livelihood programmes to address.
He disclosed that the Federal Government, in collaboration with international community, recorded significant successes in the counter-insurgency campaign in the past three years.
Ali added that the government also initiated viable projects to restore peace, build resilience, livelihoods, reconstruction and resettlement of displaced communities to accelerate sustainable social and economic development of the region.
He commended the Saudi government for the assistance, adding that it would go a long way to mitigate the sufferings of displaced persons.
On his part, Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Mustapha Maihaja, said that Saudi Arabia had donated 10 million dollars to support persons affected by Boko Haram attacks in the North-East.
Maihaja revealed that 125, 372 food baskets would be distributed to 33, 323 deserving families at Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps and host communities in Borno and Yobe.
He explained that each family would receive 59.8 kilogrammes of assorted food items, including rice, beans, vegetable oil, salt and seasoning.
According to him, the items were donated by King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, a Saudi agency.
Manager of the centre, Mr Nasir Alshibay, disclosed that 70, 000 food baskets would be distributed to 880, 000 displaced persons in the next four months in the North-East.
Alshibay said the gesture was to alleviate the sufferings of persons affected by Boko Haram insurgency. (NAN)