Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the Boko Haram sect grew in strength because the corrupt and incompetent government under President Goodluck Jonathan had not recognised the threat it posed.

Obasanjo stated this during an interview with IBTimes UK while attending the Global Education Forum conference in Dubai.

"The response of the government initially was definitely not enough. When Boko Haram started showing their fangs about four years ago the reaction should have been firm and unmistakable. We have lost ground,” Obasanjo said.

“It has become a regional issue and we have to deal with it regionally,” he added.

On the missing Chibok girls, he said:

"The government did not believe that there had been an abduction for some time. If that had happened maybe the girls would have been rescued,” Obasanjo said.

Obasanjo also said that there could only be dialogue with the terrorists after they had been severely pounded by military force.