Security: Buhari, G7 leaders for talks on Boko Haram, economy

According to The Nation Nigeria Newspaper, President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in Bavaria, Germany, clutching a wish-list for consideration by leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations.

The summit of the top industrialised nations started yesterday.

Top on the President’s list are Boko Haram and Nigeria’s economic cirisis.

The summit is due to discuss militant threats from groups, such as Islamic State, with the leaders of Tunisia and Iraq, who, along with Nigeria, form part of an “outreach” group of non-G7 countries invited to the Summit.

Attending the Summit are United States President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, French President Francois Hollande, Canada’s Prime Ministers Stephen Harper and Italian Prime Ministers Matteo Renzi.

Buhari will hold bilateral talks with Merkel and Harper on the sidelines of the Outreach Programme.

He is also expected to meet Obama, Hollande and Cameron in the course of the Outreach Session and a working lunch at the Elmau Castle today.

“He is in a group of seven other Heads of State who were called in as guests,” said presidential spokesman Garba Shehu.

“The international community is obviously acknowledging Nigeria’s significant role in global affairs, especially with the recent change in government,” Shehu added.

Also invited are: President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), President Macky Sall (Senegal), President Beji Caid Essebsi (Tunisia) and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (Ethiopia).

There are also Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi (Iraq); the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon; the Secretary-General of the OECD, Angel Gurria; the Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Largarde; the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim; the Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Guy Rider; and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Buhari arrived in Munich, Germany at about 3.25 p.m. local time yesterday.

He was received by the Vice Minister-President of Bavaria, Mrs. Inge Aigner. The president was accompanied by Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima, former Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, former Army Chief Gen. Abdulrahman  Dambazau  and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Paul B. Lolo.

Last night the head of the Bavarian regional government hosted Buhari and the others to dinner.

Apart from Boko Haram and general insecurity, other issues on the wish list, which Buhari took along after consultations with members of his think-tank, include: economic reform, especially support on agriculture, SMEs and job creation; Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in power supply and mass transit; electoral reforms ; collaboration on anti-corruption, including the strengthening of anti-graft agencies, good governance, including commitment to democracy, accountability and transparency;  development assistance and peace in the sub-region.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Certainly, Boko Haram insurgency is one of the top issues on the wish-list of the President to the session of G-7. It is one of the reasons why Governor Kashim Shettima, is on the delegation to Germany.

“This will cover intelligence sharing on Boko Haram and ISIS on how to curtail terrorism in the sub-region. We also need sophisticated surveillance and preventive equipment to fight the scourge.

Buhari wants to put an end to arms and military hardware embargo on Nigeria by some G-7 nations, especially the United States.

“There is no point pretending, terrorism is trying to have roots in the sub-region and we need international collaboration to check the spread.”

The source added: “Without energy, no country can develop. So, President Buhari is seeking Foreign Direct Investment in power supply, mass transit and others to make life comfortable for Nigerians.

“The focus borders on the diversification of the nation’s sources of power supply. We are not tapping solar and wind energy. Most of our investments in power are on hydro-electricity.

“Therefore, Nigeria needs the support of the World Bank for interventions on SMEs and agriculture to promote mass job creation.”

Obama and Merkel held talks yesterday before the summit.

Russia is the target of European Union and US sanctions over its role in support of Ukrainian rebels.

Russia has been excluded from what was previously known as the G8, since the annexation of Crimea last year.

The West accuses Russia of sending military forces into eastern Ukraine to help the rebels – a charge echoed by analysts. Moscow denies this, saying any Russian soldiers there are volunteers.

As he arrived in the Bavarian Alps, Obama said G7 leaders would discuss “standing up to Russian aggression” in Ukraine.

The White House issued a statement after Mr Obama’s talks with Mrs Merkel, saying: “The duration of sanctions should be clearly linked to Russia’s full implementation of the Minsk agreements and respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty.”

Germany, Britain and the US want an agreement to offer support to any EU member state tempted to withdraw backing for the sanctions on Moscow, which are hurting the Russian economy.

Last September’s Minsk accord, involving Russia, pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian government, included the establishment of a 30km (19-mile) buffer zone between the two sides.

But fighting has intensified in recent weeks. In the latest incident, two Ukrainian coastguards were injured when a blast ripped through their patrol boat in the port of Mariupol, though the exact circumstances remain unclear.

The European Union’s President of the Council of Ministers, Donald Tusk, signalled a toughening of sanctions in a statement at the G7.

“If anyone wants to start a debate about changing the sanctions regime, the discussion could only be about strengthening it.”

Cameron said he was hopeful that there would be a united front to ensure that sanctions were “rolled over” despite admitting that “sanctions are having an impact on all of us”.

EU sanctions are due to expire at the end of July.

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond echoed concerns about wider Russian military pressure in an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

But, when asked if the US should redeploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe, Mr Hammond said the West had a “delicate act to perform”.

“We’ve got to send a clear signal to Russia that we will not allow them to transgress our red lines. At the same time we have to recognise that the Russians do have a sense of being surrounded and under attack, and we don’t want to make unnecessary provocations.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that Russia was not a threat and had “other things to worry about”.

He told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera: “Only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack Nato.”

Mr Obama was greeted in the town of Kruen by Germany’s Chancellor Merkel.

The two leaders then sat down to a traditional Bavarian meal of sausages and beer in the sunshine.

Greece’s debt crisis and how to tackle global warming was also on the agenda.

Ahead of the G7 gathering, thousands of protesters marched in the nearby town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, sparking sporadic clashes with police.

Several marchers were taken to hospital with injuries, but the violence was minor compared to some previous summits.

Security is being provided by 17,000 police officers.

The post Buhari, G7 leaders for talks on Boko Haram, economy appeared first on The Nation.

Get more trends like this

Subscribe to our mailing list and get latest Nigeria trends in your inbox.

Get more trends like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get latest Nigeria trends in your inbox.