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ISIS’ support for Boko Haram disturbs me, Buhari admits

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday admitted that he was disturbed and surprised by the claim made by members of the Boko Haram sect that they were receiving support from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The President, however, said he was happy that his administration had been able to prove its ability to curtail the insurgents.

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President said this at a joint press conference he held with President Recep Erdogan of Turkey after their talks in Ankara.

“We were very surprised and disturbed by the claim made by Boko Haram on what it has been getting from ISIS.

“We know we will be able to contain them and we have proven that we can do it.

“We are very pleased that Turkey is in a position to assist us and has been strengthening our educational and health institutions,” Buhari reportedly said at the press conference.

According to the statement, the two leaders promised to strengthen the cooperation between security agencies of both countries to counter terrorism.

Buhari said he was ‘‘very pleased’’ that the defence ministers of both countries held extensive discussions on developing new strategies for counter-terrorism.

He said, “We are very pleased with the progress of the meeting so far and we are going to wait for the details of meetings between the two countries.

“We will, as a result of the meeting between the ministers and officials of both countries, strengthen rapidly whatever their recommendations are.”

Commenting on the degradation of Boko Haram in Nigeria, the President said the improved security situation in the North-East was a testimony to the efforts of his administration in combating terrorism since he came into office in May 2015.

Buhari said the two leaders also discussed the prospects of increasing their bilateral trade, which had exceeded $779m in the first eight months of 2017.

“There are a lot of opportunities in terms of investments and a lot is being done in the educational and health sectors in Nigeria.

“These will be strengthened and I assure you that Nigeria is prepared to accept Turkish business people to come and explore more of Nigeria’s potentialities,” the Nigerian leader said.

In his remarks, Erdogan said Nigeria had great potential and remained “a global actor in terms of economy, demographics and its peacekeeping records.”

He indicated that Turkey was interested in investing in Nigeria’s electricity, refineries and gas sectors, adding that increasing the flights between Turkey and Nigeria would further improve commercial and people-to-people relationships.

On the fight against terrorism, the Turkish leader said, “There is no difference between Boko Haram and the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation or Daesh, which have both killed, inflicted pain and hardship on innocent people.

“All of these organisations are hordes of murderers that feed on the innocent people, and in the fight against terrorism, we will stand with our Nigerian friends. We are ready to share our experience and provide all kinds of support.

“We also expect the same cooperation from Nigeria in fighting against Fethullah that murdered 250 Turkish citizens last year.”

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