…As Buhari, King Abdul-Aziz hold bilateral talks
Nigeria has told the Saudi government that it will not join the Islamic States’ coalition against terror.
President Mohammadu Buhari conveyed the position of the Federal Government to King Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz during bilateral meeting between the two leaders held in Riyadh. Buhari is on a state visit to Saudi Arabia and Qater.
On December 15, 2015, Saudi’s Defence Minister and Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman had announced Saudi has formed a coalition of 34 countries to coordinate a fight against terrorist organizations across the globe.
Nigeria was among the countries listed as a member of the coalition. The statement said: “Arab countries such as Qatar and the UAE will join the coalition, as well as Middle Eastern, Asian and African states including Pakistan, Malaysia, and Nigeria.”
The formal rejection of the offer was made public yesterday by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, while explaining that the two leaders engaged in extensive discussions on regional and global issues, and agreed that terrorism posed a common threat to their states and would require close cooperation to prevail over the threats.
Garba quoted Buhari, who was making his first pronouncement on the invitation to join the coalition of Islamic states against terror spearheaded by the Saudis, as congratulating the Kingdom for forming the coalition, saying: “Even if we are not a part of it, we support you.
“I must thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the recent creation of a coalition to address the menace of international terrorism. Nigeria will support your efforts in keeping peace and stopping the spread of terror in your region.
“This is in consonance with our own commitment and ongoing efforts in seeking to stamp out Boko Haram terrorists from the West African sub-region and Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC).” On global terror generally, Buhari said: “International terrorism made a statement by attacking one of the advanced countries by carrying out an attack on Paris, in which 130 were killed.
“Now we have to come together to find a common solution to the problem of terrorism.” He thanked the Saudi government for continuing support to Nigeria in the fight against terrorism.
Turning to the menace that Libya has turned into, he expressed regrets that the late Libyan leader, Muammar Ghadhafi recruited, trained and armed citizens of many states in the Sahel region.
“With his fall, these mercenaries have returned to their countries doing nothing but to shoot and kill,” he said.
He cited Burkina Faso and Mali as the main victims but expressed happiness that the countries neighboring the Lake Chad had tightened their ranks to finish off the Boko Haram threat.
“Luckily, we have cultivated our neighbours. We are now working together against Boko Haram,otherwise the problem would have become worse,” he said.
In his remarks, King Salman commended the progress made by Nigeria in combating terrorism, and promised to give further support and assistance.
He welcomed the support of the Nigerian government for the new ant-terrorism coalition and implored the president to consider its full membership. King Salman pledged his full support and cooperation to Nigeria under its present leadership and directed all agencies of his government to follow up on the discussions. “I now instruct my team to go and sit down with your relevant agencies to push forward cooperation between our states,” the King said.