Guterres, who is visiting Nigeria for the first time as Secretary-General, said he had traveled to Nigeria “to express his solidarity with the victims of terrorism,” according to a statement issued by his office.
Buhari received Guterres at the presidential villa in the capital, Abuja, on Wednesday, where he expressed his gratitude for the support of the United Nations in the country’s fight against terrorism.
Nigeria is locked in a decades-long battle against Islamist groups that have left thousands dead and millions displaced in the northern region of the country. Boko Haram fighters and affiliated groups continue to launch brutal attacks across parts of the region in their quest to gain control.
“When he took office, the northeast was the main security problem we inherited in 2015, but we were able to make people understand that you can’t kill people and shout ‘Allahu Akbar’,” Bukhari said in a statement on Wednesday. It translates to “Allahu Akbar”.
“Either you don’t know what you’re saying or you’re simply stupid. God is the God of justice, so you can’t kill people and say God is greater. Fortunately, people understood our message and had a great impact,” he added.
Guterres visited Borno state on Tuesday.
During a visit to a UN-supported reintegration center for ex-combatants, the UN Secretary-General said he was pleased to be prepared to hand over terrorists for their reintegration into society.
“I was amazed to see today, in the center, that those who were terrorists want to integrate and contribute to society. The policy in place here is the policy of reconciliation and reintegration,” he said at the center.
Guterres also spoke about his dealings with displaced people in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
“Yesterday (Tuesday), I visited Maiduguri where the United Nations supports IDPs. I was deeply moved by their stories and struggles. These include suffering from hunger, as the World Food Program expects 4.1 million people in the northeast of the country. Nigeria will be food insecure in season ‘Lean next’.
“But despite all they’ve seen and experienced, the people I’ve met remain hopeful and committed to returning to their communities and resuming their lives.”
Guterres said the United Nations had proposed more funding for the humanitarian response to Nigeria.
Before traveling to Nigeria, Guterres visited Senegal and Niger.