President Muhammadu Buhari on his week-long visit to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, has tactically declined Saudi Arabia’s invitation to join the Coalition of Islamic States against Terror. He maintained that rather than joining the coalition, Nigeria would support the coalition, stating the Federal Government’s position clearly to his host, the ruler of Saudi Arabia, King Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz at a bilateral meeting between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia in Riyadh.
A statement by the president’s spokesman Garba Shehu reports this, saying the president, however congratulated the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on spearheading and forming the coalition. In his words;
“Even if we are not a part of it, we support you. I must thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the recent creation of a coalition to address the menace of international terrorism.
“Nigeria will support your efforts in keeping peace and stopping the spread of terror in your region. This is in consonance with our own commitment and ongoing efforts in seeking to stamp out Boko Haram terrorists from the West African sub-region and Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC).”
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On December 15, 2015, Saudi’s Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman had announced Saudi has formed a coalition of 34 countries to coordinate a fight against terrorist organizations across the globe.
Nigeria was among the countries listed as a member of the coalition. The statement said:
“Arab countries such as Qatar and the UAE will join the coalition, as well as Middle Eastern, Asian and African states including Pakistan, Malaysia, and Nigeria.”
The two leaders during this visit have engaged in extensive discussions on regional and global issues, and agreed that terrorism poses a common threat to their states and would require close cooperation to prevail over the threats.
While addressing global terror, Buhari said that “international terrorism made a statement by attacking one of the advanced countries by carrying out an attack on Paris in which 130 were killed. Now we have to come together to find a common solution to the problem of terrorism.”
The president also appreciated the Saudi government for its continued support to Nigeria in the fight against terrorism.
King Salman on the other hand, applauded the progress made in the fight against the Boko Haram sect and pledged his full support and cooperation to Nigeria under its present leadership, directing all agencies of his government to follow-up on the discussions.
“I now instruct my team to go and sit down with your relevant agencies to push forward cooperation between our states,” the King said.
President Buhari left for Saudi Arabia on Monday, February 22 to meet with King Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz to achieve greater stability in the price of crude oil exports.