In a wide-ranging and exclusive interview with Al Jazeera English’s flagship current affairs show, ‘UpFront’, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari pledged to defeat Boko Haram by December. But also added that if Boko Haram isn’t defeated by December, he “will not resign”.
He however acknowledged he would be willing to negotiate with the group to secure the release of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls. President Buhari told ‘UpFront’ host Mehdi Hasan:
“They have to prove to us that they are alive, they are well, and then we can…negotiate with them. We said it and we meant it. If we are satisfied that the girls are alive.”
When asked whether he would offer financial payments, or a prisoner release, to Boko Haram in return for the girls, Buhari did not rule out either option.
“Well it depends on the negotiations with the leadership of Boko Haram.”
The president has pledged to defeat Boko Haram by the end of 2015 and told Hasan:
“As soon as the rainy season comes, which is by the end of the year Boko Haram will virtually be out of their main stronghold and that will be the end of it Attacks by Boko Haram on townships, on military installations, will certainly stop.”
If Boko Haram isn’t defeated by December, however, Buhari said he “will not resign”.
“I will be determined to stay and fight it out.”