President Muhammadu Buhari has told world leaders that Nigeria is still battling violent extremism from terrorist group, Boko Haram, as well as bandits.

The president has claimed for years, since he was first elected in 2015, that the Islamic sect was 'technically defeated' and posed no significant operational threat to the country.

Many of his past claims were usually ridiculed by the public, especially in light of numerous attacks carried out by Boko Haram which has terrorised the northeast for over a decade.

The group has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions from their communities since the group's insurgency escalated in 2009.

President Buhari slightly altered his rhetoric about the terrorist group during his address at the General Debate of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) late on Tuesday, September 22, 2020.

President Buhari says the international community must be more intentional in the fight against violent extremism [Presidency]
President Buhari says the international community must be more intentional in the fight against violent extremism [Presidency]

The 77-year-old noted that sophisticated terrorist attacks are a global problem and that world leaders must unite to tackle it in order to ensure collective security.

He appealed for stronger backing from the UN Counter-Terrorism bodies and neighbouring countries to snuff out Boko Haram terrorists in the Lake Chad Basin, where they have based operations over the past years, and the wider Sahel region.

"We will vigorously sustain the rehabilitation, reconstruction and resettlement of victims of terrorism and insurgency in the North-East.

"The North-East Development Commission has been established for that purpose," he said.

President Buhari also expressed concern about the proliferation of small arms and light weapons especially in Africa.

He noted that the international community must renew efforts to stem the traffic of arms on the continent to stamp out trans-border crimes, including terrorism and acts of piracy.

While addressing the coronavirus pandemic, the main theme of this year's UNGA, Buhari said the UN must mobilise the world to marshal out a truly effective and inclusive response to the novel disease.

"Nigeria will continue to partner with the WHO and some countries to ensure accelerated development and manufacturing, as well as uninhibited supply of safe and effective coronavirus vaccines to all," he said.

The president also addressed world leaders on poverty eradication, sustainable growth and development, nuclear disarmament, climate change, migration, illegal financial flows, human rights, women empowerment, quality education, and reform of the UN.