Guterres, who is visiting Nigeria for the first time as secretary general, said he went to Nigeria “to express his solidarity with the victims of terrorism,” according to a statement from his office.
Buhari received Guterres on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa in the capital Abuja, where he expressed gratitude for the UN’s support in the country’s fight against terrorism.
Nigeria is grappling with the decades-long battle against Islamist groups that have caused thousands of deaths and millions of displaced people in the northern region of the country. Boko Haram fighters and its affiliates continue to carry out brutal attacks in areas of the region in their quest for control.
“When we 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’,” Buhari said. according to Wednesday’s statement, referring to the Arabic phrase often translated as “God is greater”.
“Either you don’t know what you’re saying or you’re just plain stupid. God is a God of justice, so you can’t kill people and say God is great. Luckily people understood our message and it made a big impact,” He added.
On Tuesday, Guterres visited the state of Borno.
During a visit to a UN-backed reintegration center for former rebel fighters, the UN chief said he was satisfied with the willingness to surrender to terrorists to be reintegrated into society.
“I was amazed to see today, at the center, that those who have been terrorists want to integrate and contribute to society. The policy that is in place here is a policy of reconciliation and reintegration,” said the center.
Guterres also spoke about his interactions with displaced people in Maiduguri, the capital of the state of Borno.
“Yesterday (Tuesday), I visited Maiduguri, where the United Nations is supporting IDPs. I was deeply moved by their stories and struggles. These include the struggles with hunger, with the World Food Program projecting 4.1 million. people in northeastern Nigeria will be food insecure in the upcoming lean season, ” he said.
“But despite all they have seen and endured, the people I have met remain confident and committed to returning to their communities and resuming their lives.”
The UN had proposed more funding for Nigeria’s humanitarian response, Guterres said.
Before traveling to Nigeria, Guterres visited Senegal and Niger.