- Boko Haram membership thinning out – President
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja, with agency report
National Leader of the All Progressive Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the former interim chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, were at the Presidential Villa and met with President Muhammadu Buhari, behind closed doors.
He had earlier in the day met with former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, for about 25 minutes.
Abdulsalami, however, did not say why he was at the villa or what he discussed with Buhari.
Tinubu and Akande’s visit may not be unconnected with his recent appointment to head the consultation, reconciliation and peace building efforts within the party.
It was, however, gathered that two APC chieftains were at the villa to condole with the president, who lost two members of his extended family in Daura, Katsina State, recently.
Tinubu visited the villa for the first time since Buhari appointed him as APC “Chief Mediator.”
Elsewhere, Buhari said the era of Boko Haram terrorism is gradually drawing to end, with narrowing of the recruitment base of the insurgents, amid renewed onslaught by the Nigerian Army.
The president stated this when he received the Letter of Credence of Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See to Nigeria, Most Rev. Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi, at the villa, yesterday.
Buhari noted that the terrorist group has lost appeal in its initial strongholds, necessitating a steady retreat that would eventually culminate in ending the insurgency.
He said: “You can’t indoctrinate people who are below the age of 14 years and blow up churches, mosques, markets and you keep shouting ‘God is great!’
“It is either you don’t know what you are saying, or you simply don’t care or believe what you are saying. It is part of our success story that Boko Haram is finding it more difficult to recruit people. The Nigerian army is also not making it easy for them to grow, with more intelligence, orientation and regular, measured onslaught on their camps.’’
The president added that ongoing effort to dismember the terrorist group and render it completely powerless will be intensified.
He described the Catholic Church as a strong partner in the development of Nigeria, noted that the church had made very significant contributions to the development of the educational and health system of the country.
On his part, The Apostolic Nuncio said he travelled to the North East and was pleased with the army’s efforts in tackling insurgents, and recovering some earlier lost grounds.
Buhari also received Letters of Credence from the Ambassador of Niger, Mr. Alat Mogaskia and the High Commissioner of Ghana, Alhaji Rashid Bawa.