…defends IPOB leader Kanu’s trial
President Muhammadu Buhari has told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that he has no third-term agenda.
Both leaders held a bilateral meeting on the margins of the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adeshina Thursday said Johnson, obviously not aware of the constitutional two-term limitation for Buhari, asked him whether he was contemplating running for another term.
But Buhari, who is in his second term, restated his resolve to respect the maximum term limit in the Nigerian constitution and move on after the expiration of his second term tenure next year.
Buhari told Johnson: “Another term for me? No! The first person who tried it didn’t end very well.” This was followed by general laughter.
The President also dispelled the insinuation that the leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, is not being allowed access to his lawyers privately.
According to him, Kanu in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) is being given every opportunity under the law “to justify all the uncomplimentary things he had been saying against Nigeria in Britain”.
Buhari said: “He (Kanu) felt very safe in Britain, and said awful things against Nigeria. We eventually got him when he stepped out of the United Kingdom, and we sent him to court. Let him defend all that he has said there. His lawyers have access to him. Remember he jumped bail before, how are we sure he won’t do it again if he’s admitted to bail?”
On the keenness expressed by the PM to help Nigeria in the area of security, the President said helping to stabilize Libya could be an initial good step as the fall of Muammar Gadaffi after 42 years in power unleashed his armed guards on countries in the Sahel, “and they are causing havoc everywhere, as the only thing they know how to do is to shoot guns”.
Commenting on Boko Haram, Buhari said there was a serious effort to educate the people on the fact that only an unserious person could kill innocent people, “and say Allah Akbar (God is Great). God is justice. You can’t take innocent souls, and ascribe them to God. And the education process is working, the people now understand Boko Haram as anti-God, and not about religion”.
Johnson said he was delighted about the good news on trade between the two countries, adding that the UK was further reducing tariffs on some goods going to Nigeria.
He described the relationship between the countries as a “very strong attachment,” adding: “I just want to be sure that we are doing enough. It’s a massive partnership for us, and we need to capitalize on it.”
The PM offered condolences on some recent attacks in Nigeria, particularly on churches.