President Muhammadu Buhari has confirmed Nigeria’s membership of the Saudi Arabia-led Islamic anti-terror coalition. The president divulged this during an interview with Aljareeza.
“We are part of it because we’ve got terrorists in Nigeria that everybody knows which claim that they are Islamic.
“So, if there’s an Islamic coalition to fight terrorism, Nigeria will be part of it because we are casualties of Islamic terrorism,” he added. President Buhari, however, declined information on modalities set up for the coalition operations.
“Well, that we mentioned under Lake Chad Basin Commission, our regional grouping compromising Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Benin and we dedicated a certain number of troops to be deployed in our own sub-region and I don’t think we have to tell the press the details of that.”
On whether joining the Islamic coalition will serve Nigerian security interest, he said: “Certainly. I’ve just told you it is the Boko Haram itself that declared loyalty to ISIS.
“ISIS is basically based in Islamic countries. Now, if there’s a coalition to fight Islamic terrorism, why can’t Nigeria be part of it, while those that are fighting in Nigeria as Boko Haram claim to be Muslims. But the way they are doing it is anti-Islamic, he said.
When his interviewer pointed out that since Nigeria was roughly evenly divided among Christians and Muslims and that some Christians were complaining that he was giving Islamic identity to Nigeria, Buhari wondered why such Christians had not gone to fight Boko Haram in the North or militants sabotaging installations in the South.
“Why can’t those Christians that complained go and fight terrorism in Nigeria or fight the militancy in the South. It’s Nigeria that matters, not the opinion of some religious bigots,” he stated.
On whether he was trying to change the religious identity of the country, Buhari noted: “How can I change the religious identity of Nigeria?
“No religion advocates hurting the innocent and just because the Muslims are the ones that claim to be Boko Haram and they are killing innocent people whether in the church, in the bus or in the market place, then I will just sit and look at them because I too am a Muslim? Islam is against injustice in any form.”
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