Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
Forty-eight hours after the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said he doubts if the abducted students of the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, were still alive, President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his administration’s commitment to rescue them unharm.
Buratai had on Tuesday at a press briefing on this year’s ‘Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) 2016’, expressed doubts that the over 200 remaining female students were still alive.
However, Buhari while breaking Ramadan fast with members of the diplomatic corps last night at the State House in Abuja, reassured the international community of his commitment to rescue the girls.
He said: ”We are not letting up our efforts to rescue the Chibok girls, our priority is to rescue them un harm.”
The president told his guests that his administration remained committed to tackling the challenges facing it head-on.
He regretted that the Boko Haram activities had led to several persons being internally displaced, but added, “Our main focus is to ensure their safe return to their homes and rehabilitation of their communities”.
Buhari again regretted the renewed militancy in the Niger Delta region, but reassured the diplomatic corps that their concerns were being addressed.
He said: “No amount of militancy shall distract us from engaging with the region”.
He also his administration was committed to addressing the issue of unemployment, poor infrastructure and ecological problems.
He also invited the envoys to influence their countries to invest in Nigeria saying “our doors are open for business.”
He said the fall in oil price had necessitated diversification.
Buhari said his administration had received tremendous cooperation from international partners in the fight against corruption.
While acknowledging the support of other countries in his bid to recover looted funds Buhari urged them to maintain the tempo and ensure the repatriation of funds so as to channel it into the development of the country.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the breaking of fast meeting was an opportunity for the diplomats to hear directly from the President and interact with him.
Dean of Diplomatic Corps, the High Commissioner of Cameroon to Nigeria, Salaheddine Abbas Ibrahima, thanked the president for hosting the diplomatic corps, the second time in the year.
He said: “We wish for eternal peace for Nigeria and may your efforts in the shortest time bring prosperity to our people.
“Be reassured that the international community will continue to provide the necessary support”.