Buhari Makes U-Turn, Says Nigeria Part Of Islamic Coalition Against Terror

Buhari-King SalmanLess than two weeks after he said Nigeria would not be joining a Saudi Arabia-led coalition against terrorism, indications have recently emerged that President Muhammadu Buhari might have changed his mind.
President Buhari had during his recent trip to Saudi Arabia, pledged Nigeria’s support for the coalition even if it would not be part of it.
“Even if we are not a part of it, we support you”, Buhari was quoted in part as telling the Saudi King, Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz.
However, in what looks like a volte face, the president told Aljazeera that Nigeria has joined the Islamic coalition against terrorism.
He made the disclosure during an interview with the news channels during his visit to Saudi Arabia, but which was broadcast at the weekend.
When asked whether Nigeria was part of the coalition, Buhari said: “We are part of it because we’ve got terrorists in Nigeria that everybody knows which claim that they are Islamic”.
“So, if there’s an Islamic coalition to fight terrorism, Nigeria will be part of it because we are casualties of Islamic terrorism”, he added.
On whether Nigeria became a member of the coalition during his meeting with King Abdul-Aziz in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia recently, Buhari answered in the affirmative.
When pressed further during the interview for details of how such coalition would work for Nigeria, the president declined.
But he said: “Well, that we mentioned under Lake Chad Basin Commission, our regional grouping compromising Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Benin and we dedicated a certain number of troops to be deployed in our own sub-region and I don’t think we have to tell the press the details of that”.
On whether joining the Islamic coalition will serve Nigerian security interest, he said: “Certainly. I’ve just told you it is the Boko Haram itself that declared loyalty to ISIS.
“ISIS is basically based in Islamic countries. Now, if there’s a coalition to fight Islamic terrorism, why can’t Nigeria be part of it, while those that are fighting in Nigeria as Boko Haram claim to be Muslims”.
When his interviewer pointed out that since Nigeria was roughly evenly divided among Christians and Muslims and that some Christians were uncomfortable with giving an Islamic identity to Nigeria by its membership of the coalition, Buhari wondered why such Christians had not gone to fight Boko Haram in the North or militants sabotaging installations in the South.
“Why can’t those Christians that complained go and fight terrorism in Nigeria or fight the militancy in the South. It’s Nigeria that matters, not the opinion of some religious bigots”, he stated.
On whether he was trying to change the religious identity of the country, Buhari noted: “How can I change the religious identity of Nigeria?
“No religion advocates hurting the innocent and just because the Muslims are the ones that claim to be Boko Haram and they are killing innocent people whether in the church, in the bus or in the market place, then I will just sit and look at them because I too am a Muslim? Islam is against injustice in any form”.