In an apparent reference to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), President Muhammadu Buhari Saturday stated that his administration’s counterinsurgency effort in the North-East had significantly degraded Boko Haram to the point that even “even the opposition recognises that there is a considerable improvement of security in the North East”.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke during a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Shahid Khakan Abbasi of Pakistan, on the sidelines of the ninth D-8 summit in Istanbul, Turkey.
Speaking of Boko Haram, Buhari said, “We have moved them out from their strongholds in the North East, we have denied them space and even their attacks on soft targets are becoming less often.
“Even the opposition recognises that there is a considerable improvement of security in the North East,” he said.
President Buhari also commented on Nigeria-Pakistan relations, stating that the Nigeria-Pakistan Joint Commission would be revived as a platform to strengthen economic and trade relations between both countries.
Buhari expressed satisfaction at the level of defence cooperation between both countries, while also calling for further growth.
He however regretted that same could not be said of the economic and trade relations, noting that so much more needed to be done.
“Nigeria-Pakistan cooperation is very historical. Military training has been very consistent and I am impressed by the efficiency of officers trained in Pakistan.
“But the performance of our countries in relation to trade and industrial cooperation had been very disappointing”, Buhari said.
While acknowledging Nigeria’s past leadership failures, Buhari urged Pakistan to take full advantage of the new investment climate promoted by his administration.
“There are a lot of opportunities, for us to harness, in the manufacturing sector, agriculture, commerce, solar energy and the electricity sector”, he said.
In his remarks, Abbasi said both countries had similar prospects and challenges, including large population, being key regional players in economy and security, the fight against terrorism, improving governance and the domestic economy.
He assured that Pakistan would continue to share experiences with Nigeria in the fight against terrorism towards creating better approaches to the scourge.
The Pakistani prime minister then presented a manual on strategy and tactics of dealing with terrorism to Buhari, which he revealed had been developed by his country’s army.
On the Joint Commission, which next meeting falls on Pakistan to convene, Abbasi said his country was now ready, adding that he would personally receive the Nigerian delegation any time.
He also requested that Buhari to undertook a state visit to Pakistan at the earliest possible time.
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