Mr. President made this plea during a bilateral meeting with United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly in New York.
Buhari told the UN Secretary-General that his government was willing to accept the UN as a mediator, reiterating his earlier stance that it was difficult identifying the credible leadership of the sect.
“The split in the insurgent group is not helping matters, Buhari said, “government had reached out, ready to negotiate, but it became difficult to identify credible leaders. We will welcome intermediaries such as UN outfits, to step in.”
The girls from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno state were kidnapped by the Boko Haram sect in April 2014 and the Buhari administration has faced heavy criticisms for its inability to secure the release of the girls.
The sect had released a video last month which showed a camouflage-clad Boko Haram fighter addressing President Muhammadu Buhari in front of about 50 of the girls, all stony-faced and clad in long robes and hijabs.
The fighter made an insurgency’s call for a prisoner swap – asking the government to release its members jailed in Lagos, Abuja and the northeastern provincial capital of Maiduguri or forget about the girls.
President Buhari has expressed willingness to swap Boko Haram prisoners for the Chibok girls, as demanded by the sect and now pleading with the UN to serve as intermediaries to swapping the abducted Chibok girls which are still in Boko Haram custody.
In his response, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon congratulated President Buhari on the anti-corruption war, declaring: “You are highly respected by world leaders, including myself. Your persona has given your country a positive image.”
He said the UN recognized the achievements of the Buhari administration against Boko Haram, urging that human rights be upheld always, to prevent a repeat of the scenario being witnessed in Syria.
Ban Ki-moon also thanked the Nigerian leader for his commitment to issues on climate change, adding that the government should “own the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” for the good of its citizens.
Meanwhile, President Buhari, while giving a speech at the U.S/Africa business forum has promised never to allow Nigeria slump back to the days of lazy and dangerous dependence on increase or decrease in price of crude oil.
Buhari stated that Nigeria is gradually on the rise as his government has set up workable modalities to drive the economy out of recession and reposition the country and Africa as a destination point for every investor.