The All Progressives Congress has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for his shuttle diplomacy aimed at forging a stronger regional front against the Boko Haram insurgency.
APC said the President should be praised rather than condemned for his efforts.
The party position was contained in a statement in Abuja on Saturday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
It said, ”Boko Haram, which started off as a Nigerian problem, has now assumed a regional dimension, affecting many countries in West Africa. Therefore, any solution to the crisis, if it is to endure, must be regional in nature, with Nigeria taking the lead.”
APC noted that since terrorism had assumed a global dimension, no nation, not even the United States, could fight the growing menace alone.
”This is why even in our days in opposition, we advocated a regional solution to the crisis,” it added.
The party said Buhari’s trip to Niger and Chad, two of the countries worst hit by the Boko Haram insurgency, “showed that he understands the regional dimension that the insurgency has assumed, and that for any effort by Nigeria to yield positive results, it must seek the cooperation of its neighbouring countries”.
APC urged the President not to relent in his efforts to forge a regional front against the terrorists, despite the “misguided criticism” emanating from certain quarters.
It stated, ”It is baffling that some opposition politicians wanted Nigeria to go it alone against Boko Haram, even as the terrorist group has taken its battle beyond the shores of Nigeria, to such countries as Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
“It is common knowledge that the terrorists use these countries as launch pads for their attacks against Nigeria, and vice versa, and that they routinely engage in cross-boundary raids.
”It is common knowledge that Boko Haram’s tentacles have spread as far as Mali, the home base of the Movement for the Unity and Jihad in West Africa, a splinter group of the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. It is no longer a secret that Boko Haram has now affiliated itself to the Islamic State, seeing itself as the West African chapter
of the terror group.
“How then can Nigeria effectively deal with Boko Haram without seeking the assistance of other concerned countries?”
The party reminded the critics of the President’s trips to Chad and Niger that even the US sought and had continued to seek a global coalition against Al-Qaeda and Islamic State, despite the country’s enormous military, economic and political powers.
APC said it was particularly delighted that Buhari had continued to insist that the Nigerian Army was capable of leading the fight against Boko Haram.
“Meaning that while there is nothing wrong in seeking the cooperation of Nigeria’s neighbours, the country has no
business hiring mercenaries to lead the battle,” it added.