President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that his government has spent $1billion to acquire weapons to carry out sustained operations against insurgency since 2015.
Buhari said through the military operations, Nigeria has been able to retrieve territories seized by the Boko Haram terrorists.
According to him, on assumption of office in 2015, Boko Haram held about two-thirds of Borno State, half of Yobe State, and a couple of local government areas in Adamawa State.
The President spoke on Tuesday, January 17, 2023 in Nouakchott, Mauritania at the African Conference for Peace.
He stated that Nigeria will continue to engage partners to comprehensively win the war against the Boko Haram insurgency and other related terror groups through kinetic and non-kinetic approaches.
His words: “When I assumed power in 2015, Boko Haram held about two-thirds of Borno State, half of Yobe State, and a couple of Local Government Areas in Adamawa State, all in the North-East of Nigeria. We have been able to retrieve these swathes of territories by investing over a $1 billion to acquire hard and soft ware weaponry from the US and other friendly countries to carry out sustained operations against insurgency since 2015.
“Our Armed Forces and those of our partners in the Multinational Joint Task Force (consisting of Chad, Niger, Cameroon, Benin Republic and Nigeria) continue to demonstrate great bravery while paying the ultimate price in securing our collective freedom.
“Despite the difficult times we face, we continue to spend very scarce and lean resources to ensure that we have a well-resourced military force to take on this task. Ideally, these are resources that could be spent on education, healthcare, infrastructure and other social services, but without peace, we have learnt the hard way that our children cannot go to school or seek good healthcare.”
President Buhari told the assembly of African leaders that the shrinking of Lake Chad had resulted in dire consequences of the people of the region losing their traditional source of living which culminated into the youth being recruited by the terrorist groups who were seeking for means of livelihood occasioned by difficult economic conditions.
He explained that the scenario created serious instability and served as a litmus test for member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) in devising means to restore the livelihoods within the region.
Buhari urged leaders to place a premium on youth development, with more seriousness and actionable ideas in promoting skills acquisitions, while discouraging idleness.
The President said idleness of youths and non-inclusion in discussing issues that shape their lives and the future portends liability for the continent, especially in religious fundamentalism and extremism.
The President, who was honoured by the Abu Dhabi Peace Forum with “Award for Strengthening Peace in Africa”, said there was a need to inculcate values and principles of tolerance and peace in educational institutions, and particularly, among the youth.