Nigeria to fight Boko Haram in 'multi-dimensional' manner

Nigerian Foreign Minister Aminu Bashir Wali says his country will fight Boko Haram and will comprehensively solve the terrorism issue in 2015.

Nigeria to fight Boko Haram in 'multi-dimensional' manner
World Bulletin / News Desk
 As media reports emerge about the death of hundreds of people in Boko Haram's latest massacre in the town of Baga, Nigeria’s foreign minister said his country will comprehensively solve the terrorism issue in 2015. 

FM Aminu Bashir Wali spoke to The Anadolu Agency on Thursday, during his visit to Turkey within the scope of the 7th annual ambassadors' conference, which took place between Jan. 5-9 in Ankara.

“The approach will be multi-dimensional. We are open to every way to solve this problem. There is also a soft approach and a hard approach," Wali said.

The foreign minister said the Nigerian government is trying to develop programs that will create jobs, to be more inclusive and bring about more development in Nigeria, in an effort to tackle the terrorism issue in a socio-economic way.

"That will reduce the temptation for people to move into those kinds of activities. On the other hand, we are also open to negotiating. Of course, we have to identify whom we are talking to. This is serious willingness. We are open to the peaceful resolution of all conflicts," he said.

 A local Nigerian official has denied reports about a fresh Boko Haram assault on the north-eastern town of Baga, where militants overran a military base in recent days.

Thousands of children and women were displaced from Baga, a fishing town that was recently captured by Boko Haram militants. Nigeria's defense headquarters have confirmed the loss of 14 soldiers in the Baga attack, but could not provide a civilian death toll.

"There is no fresh attack in Baga beyond what happened last weekend," Baga district chief Alhaji Baba Abba Hassan told reporters on Thursday.

For the last five years, Nigeria has battled a fierce Boko Haram insurgency that has ravaged the country's volatile northeastern region.

A seemingly emboldened Boko Haram recently stepped up its militant activity even further, seizing several areas in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, where it has declared a self-styled "Islamic caliphate."

 Nigeria-U.S. relations regarding fight against terrorism with lethal weapons

When asked about the recent U.S. rejection to provide Nigeria with lethal weapons to fight Boko Haram and how it will affect relations between the two countries, the foreign minister said it is natural to sometimes have differences between allies.

"Our relations with the U.S. are not poor. Our relations are still very good. It has never been poor," Wali said. "You may have a little bit of differences in terms of approach, which is very natural. We may have different approaches between Nigeria and Turkey. That does not say that our relations are bad." 

The U.S. recently snubbed the heavy arming of the Nigerian military because of the country's poor human rights showings.

"About the human rights (issue), you know that we disagree with that particular aspect. Of course, this is a matter of opinion," he said. "This is a little bit irritating, but certainly will not affect the fundamental basic relations with the U.S." 

 Nigeria's no-vote on Palestinian statehood motion

When asked about why Nigeria chose to abstain from voting in favor of a motion seeking the recognition of an independent Palestinian state at the UN Security Council, Wali said: "We know exactly what is in the best interest of our nation and country."

"Whether we like it or not, even if we voted for the resolution, the final result will be the same," Wali said. "We have been supporting Palestine for the last 40 years."

Nigeria unexpectedly abstained from voting when the Palestinian statehood motion was presented before the 15-member UN Security Council.

"We are still supportive of the two-state solution. We are not accepting any occupation by any country to any piece of land. We believe Palestine should have a separate state from Israel. This is the two-state solution. We still support Palestine," he said.

Turkey-Nigeria relations

Wali also talked about his insights on the relations between Turkey and Nigeria in 2015, saying the aim is "to continue to build our great relationship." 

"We have come a very long way. We have maintained strong relations with Turkey over the last 30-40 years. Culturally, we have a lot in common. We have a lot of experiences that we share in common. For example, some major colonialism also took place in Turkey and we also fought and got our independence against the colonial system."

While some say Turkey is an emerging country, Wali said it is now an advanced nation. 

"This is a fully developed economy," Wali said. "We really have a lot to learn from Turkey.”

The Turkey-Africa Partnership Forum, which was held between Nov. 19-23 in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, showed Turkey's intentions to invest more in the African continent.

“Absolutely, Turkish investment is growing in Africa over the last 10 years. Turkey has opened lots of new investment areas in the continent. Certainly, by the time these agreements come into fruition, a lot is going to happen," Wali said.

Last Mod: 13 Ocak 2015, 12:53
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