*Challenges youths to secure the nation
*Says IPOB will be crushed
President Muhammadu Buhari has said the war against Boko Haram is being hindered by the high rate of poverty and unemployment across the country, especially in the north-eastern states.
In a special interview on Arise TV, he observed that the poverty in those states, particularly in Borno, was “unimaginable”.
The Boko Haram insurgency, has been ongoing for over a decade, and has disrupted livelihood in Yobe, Adamawa and Borno.
Nigeria has been designated as world capital of extreme poverty, with Adamawa and Yobe featuring among the 10 poorest states in the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) poverty report.
He said in the interview “As I said, the only way we got them around is that ‘you can’t kill innocent people and say God is great’. That worked very well but we have a problem of unemployment.
“A lot of youths are looking basically for what to eat, not to talk of accommodations and others. The level of poverty is almost unimaginable. So this is our problem.
“But those who are really keeping in touch with what we are doing know the difference between the time we came in and now. And the people of north-east and south-south are the best judges for the performance of this administration.”
He added that the Governor of Borno State, Prof Babagana Zulum, is “working very hard and taking a lot of risks” in his efforts to restore peace in the state.
The president challenged the youths to behave themselves and make the country secure so as to provide employments.
Asked what is he is doing to bring direct investments into the country, Buhari recalled what he told the national executive council after the #EndSARS protests, while noting how the protests made the country insecure for investors.
According to him, no investor will invest in an insecure environment, adding that those with good degrees will die of hunger if there are no jobs.
Citing the example of the BRT buses that were razed by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protests in Lagos, he said no investors will invest in an unstable environment.
He said, “Well, the question was answered when there was #EndSARS. You remember the young people, who wanted to march here and remove me.
“My answer to that, I got the members of the executive council and said each one should go to his state, speak to the governor, speak to the traditional leaders, speak to the business people, and speak to especially the youths and tell them that there’s no more vacancy in the federal government.
“Go to any governor now and ask him to give you contract or to give you a job, he’ll tell you there’s no vacancy. The same thing with the local government. So, you may have a good degree, but you may die without having a job. Why?
“Because nobody is going to invest in an insecure environment. So I told them to tell the youth that if they want jobs, they will behave themselves, make sure Nigeria is secure, so people can come and invest.
“Look at the 200 buses bought by the former governor of Lagos, some of these boys went and burnt the vehicles. Who will go and invest their money in an unstable environment? Nobody will.
“It’s just common sense. So you behave yourself, you make Nigeria secure, and people will invest.”
Describing the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as “a dot in a circle,” Buhari said the group is isolated in its call for secession.
He said he has been assured by “the elderly people” and “the youths” from the south-south part of the country that region has no intention of seceding.
He said IPOB will not have “access to anywhere” even if they eventually secede from the country.
The repeated his statement that IPOB members will be treated in the “language that they understand”.
“I was encouraged by what I heard, nobody told me. Two statements from the south south: one by the elderly people, they said this time around there would be no (secession). And again the youth made the same statement; such encouragement.
“So that IPOB is just like a dot in a circle. Even if they want to exit, they’ll have no access to anywhere. And the way they are spread all over the country, having businesses and properties. I don’t think IPOB knows what they are talking about.
“In any case, we say we’ll talk to them in the language that they understand. We’ll organise the police and the military to pursue them.”