Challenge In Northeast Is Restoring Basic Social Amenities – Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari on northeast challengesPresident Muhammadu Buhari says the challenge confronting the Northeast region of Nigeria is how to restore basic social amenities.

Addressing reporters on Saturday after a meeting with the visiting President of France, Mr Francois Hollande, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, President Buhari explained that the Federal Government had conducted a comprehensive survey on the infrastructure challenges in the region.

He added that the government would soon start to empower the people of the region.

He observed that 60 per cent of the internally displaced persons were children and women and that the pathetic situation was a major problem.

Over two million persons were displaced in the northeast in the over six years insurgency by Boko Haram terrorists, pushing for the establishment of an Islamic State and an end to Western education in the region.

Heightened counter-terrorism operations by troops of the Nigerian Armed Forces and regional forces of the Multi-National Joint Task Force have reduced the activities of the terrorists in the region.

They have lost territories they were occupying in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, the worst hit states in the region.

On the insecurity in the region and efforts to sustain the onslaught against Boko Haram, President Buhari said: “We were not bothered initially, of what intentional connection Boko Haram has until they claimed that they are loyal to ISIS”.

He associated the crisis with incidents in the Sahel region, saying that what happened in Libya in the Sahel, in terms of trained personnel and weapons, had compounded the problem, making it last longer than thought.

He also said that Nigeria’s border with neighbouring countries, mostly in the eastern region, was difficult to monitor.

“We have more than 1,500 kilometres neighbourhood in an area where donkeys, oxen, camels can cross any time of the day. It is not easy to guide such borders,” President Buhari added.

During bilateral talks, both leaders concluded plans to sign a letter of intent that will further strengthen the agreements in defence matters between Nigeria and France.

French President told reporters that the letter embodied the operation between the two countries.

He did not give details of the agreement.

G7 Leaders Threaten Hard-hitting Sanctions On Russia

G7-leadersThe United States and its allies used the first Group of Seven (G7) meeting without Russia in 17 years to condemn Moscow’s actions in Ukraine and threaten hard-hitting sanctions if President Vladimir Putin does not help restore stability.

Meeting in Brussels rather than the Black Sea resort of Sochi – a snub to Russia which was supposed to have hosted the G8 – Western powers and Japan delivered strong rhetoric, even if the EU’s commitment to further sanctions remains in doubt.

“We are united in condemning the Russian Federation’s continuing violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Britain, Italy and Canada said in a joint statement.

“Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, and actions to destabilize eastern Ukraine, are unacceptable and must stop.”

That message was reinforce by President Barack Obama, who said Russia’s economy was already suffering and would only suffer more if Putin did not change behaviour.

“If Russia’s provocations continue, it’s clear from our discussions here that the G7 nations are ready to impose additional costs on Russia,” he said. “Today, in contrast to a growing global economy, a sluggish Russian economy is even weaker because of the choices made by Russia’s leadership.”

Putin, who will meet Germany’s Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Britain’s David Cameron on the sidelines of 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France on Friday, appeared unfazed by the threats.

Asked at an event in St. Petersburg how he felt about being excluded from the G8 for the first time since joining the club in 1997, Putin was typically pointed, barely breaking stride to speak to Kremlin reporters as he left a meeting.

“I would like to wish them bon appetit,” he said, before walking away swiftly.

It appears unlikely that Obama and Putin will talk in France.

“Should we have the opportunity to talk, I will be repeating the same message that I’ve been delivering to him throughout this crisis,” Obama said.