President Muhammadu Buhari says Niger Delta militants must either dialogue with the federal government or risk being dealt with like Boko Haram insurgents.
B Kenya, late Saturday at a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).
President Buhari also told the Japanese leader that his administration was negotiating with some of the leaders of the militants.
The president said with the defeat of Boko Haram insurgents by the military, his administration’s attention was now focused on stopping the destruction of the nation’s economic assets by the Niger Delta militants.
He said: “The militants must dialogue with the federal government or be dealt with in the same way like Boko Haram. We are talking to some of their leaders. We will deal with them as we dealt with Boko Haram if they refuse to talk to us.
“As a government, we know our responsibility, which is to secure the environment. It is clear to us that lenders won’t fund projects in insecure environments. We realise that we have to secure the country before we can efficiently manage it.”
The president assured existing and prospective foreign investors that their investments in Nigeria would be fully secured and protected.
He outlined several steps taken by his administration to secure Nigeria and create an enabling business environment in the country.
He noted that security in the Gulf of Guinea, greatly affected by piracy, was a priority of his government.
‘‘We have provided funds to our Navy to buy new platforms, train and effectively organize the personnel to protect the area. We are looking forward to support from developed nations for satellite surveillance covering the Gulf,” he said.
The president recalled his last year’s audience with G7 leaders in Germany which was attended by the Japanese leader.
He thanked Japan for responding positively to the requests by Nigeria for the rehabilitation of victims of Boko Haram as well as rebuilding of infrastructure in the North-east.
He, however, noted that more had to be done on education, health and other sectors in order to ensure quick and voluntary return of displaced persons.
On the United Nations Security Council reform, Buhari agreed to work with Japan for the reforms, emphasising that the case for a permanent seat for Africa on the council was a moral one.
He expressed Nigeria’s support for Japan in its bid for a UN resolution on the problems in East China and South China as well as the “uncontrolled nuclear tests by North Korea.”
In his remarks, the Japanese leader congratulated Buhari “for courageously tackling Boko Haram terrorism.”
Abe maintained that Nigeria and Japan must work together to improve the investment climate in view of the many Japanese companies wishing to invest in Nigeria.
He reiterated his country’s commitment to rapid development in Nigeria through quality delivery of ongoing projects in the country, including Jebba hydro power scheme and the Lagos railway project.