Monday, March 7, 2016 12:08 am
Nigeria has joined the coalition of Islamic states against terror, spearheaded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed this in an interview aired weekend on the international satellite news channel, Aljareeza.
Saudi Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman had on December 15, 2015 announced the formation of a coalition of 34 mainly Muslim countries, including Egypt and Turkey, to coordinate the fight against terrorist organisations.
The coalition, otherwise known as the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT), is to share information, train, equip and provide forces if necessary for the fight against Islamic State militants.
Answering a question on whether Nigeria was part of the coalition, Buhari said: “We are part of it because we have got terrorists in Nigeria that everybody knows which claim that they are Islamic. So, if there is an Islamic coalition to fight terrorism, Nigeria will be part of it because we are casualties of Islamic terrorism”.
The president affirmed that he had suggested Nigeria’s membership of the coalition during his recent meeting with Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz in Riyadh.
The president, however, declined comment on how the coalition would work for Nigeria, saying: “I don’t think we have to tell the press the details of that”.
Asked if he was convinced that Nigeria would benefit from joining the coalition security-wise, President Muhammadu Buhari responded: “Certainly. I have just told you it’s the Boko Haram itself that declared loyalty to ISIS. ISIS is basically based in Islamic countries.
“Now, if there is a coalition to fight Islamic terrorism, why can’t Nigeria be part of it, while those fighting in Nigeria as Boko Haram claim to be Muslims? But the way they are doing it is anti-Islamic”.
Buhari also debunked the allegations by some Christians that he was giving an Islamic identity to the country, maintaining that “It is Nigeria that matters, not the opinion of some religious bigots”.
The president quizzed: “How can I change the religious identity of Nigeria? Why can’t those Christians that complain go and fight terrorism in Nigeria or fight the militancy in the South?”
Culled from Daily trust