President Muhammadu Buhari has been responding to the criticisms that he is spending too much time on overseas trips rather than staying at home and doing the work for which he was elected.
The President , who took time out to speak to journalists in London before he embarked on a short vacation, explained that his trips have political and economic benefits for Nigeria.
“I haven’t seen any fruitless journey that I have undertaken.
“I understand the Governor of Ekiti said that every trip I have made costs Nigeria at least 1 million dollars. I don’t know how he worked that out but every trip I have made, there must be reasons – economic and political, to justify the trip.
“So, those who don’t see it the way the government sees it have the rights not to agree and to say whatever they like,” he said.
The President also debunked allegations that he is selective in his administration’s fight against corruption, insisting that no corrupt official in government will go free.
“There is no way we will get a record of any public officer that has misappropriated public funds and leave him alone,” he affirmed, adding that he would not soft pedal in the fight.
The President also clarified the Nigerian military’s claim that they are winning the war against Boko Haram.
“Boko Haram used to effectively control 14 local governments and they hoist their flag and declare a caliphate of some sort.
“But now, Boko Haram is not holding any local government. They are being dispersed, they are in pockets and they have reverted to technology.
“Improvised Explosive Devices – they get cooking gas, some wares and metals, put them together and get girls mostly from the age of 15 downwards and detonate it in churches, mosques, market places and motor parks and kill people en masse. That is what they do now.
“We will continue to fight terrorism. People cannot just come and say they know where the Chibok girls are and they want money. Money, what for?
“Let them deliver, or let us negotiate. If their leadership of Boko Haram is credible, is a bonafide established, then the government is willing to discuss with them to arrive at an agreement on how to recover the girls.”
President Buhari is expected back in Nigeria on Wednesday, February 10, after a 5-day vacation in London.
On Asylum Seekers In UK
The President also took out time to field questions from the foreign media and he delved into the issue of Nigerians seeking asylum in the United Kingdom.
President Buhari, in what has been described as a frank interview, conceded that Nigeria has an image problem abroad which makes it difficult for citizens to emigrate to the west.
He, however says that Nigerians can stay at home where their services are needed
President Buhari told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that those Nigerians have also made it difficult for Europeans and Americans to accept them because of the number of Nigerians in prisons around the world accused of drug trafficking or human trafficking.
“We have an image problem abroad and we are on our way to salvage that,” he said.
The Nigerian President went on to say that he thinks that a minority of his countrymen could do with improving their behaviour.