UN chief Ban Ki-moon in Nigeria to discuss insurgency

UN Secretary General Ban Ki- Moon takes aim at insecurity, inequality and growing divides across the planet

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

U.N Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, center. receives flowers from a girl upon his arrival at Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport in Abuja, Nigeria Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon began a two day visit to Nigeria on Sunday in the wake of a suspected Boko Haram ambush on the country's army chief, saying it was "a time of hope" despite the rise of extremism.  

The UN chief is expected to discuss how to tackle the militant insurgency as the secretary-general holds talks with President Muhammadu Buhari, whose inauguration in May sparked a massive upsurge in Boko Haram attacks.   

Buhari - who came to power on May 29 vowing to destroy Boko Haram - replaced Niger'as military leaders earlier in August, ordering the new chiefs-of-staff to end the militant group's insurgency within three months.  

"Across our world, we see insecurity, inequality, growing divides," Ban told a private meeting of state governors in Abuja, according to a UN statement.

A 8,700-strong Multi-National Joint Task Force - drawing in Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin, is expected to end the Boko Haram insurgency by December this year.

"This a crucial moment for Nigeria," said Ban, on his second visit to Africa's largest economy since taking office in 2007. 

Deadly UN bombing

The UN chief today laid a wreath to commemorate the fourth anniversary of a Boko Haram bombing on Abuja's United Nations House, the headquarters of around 400 UN employees, that left 21 dead in June 2011.   

He is also due to dine with captains of industry and discuss "democracy, human rights and countering violent extremism" in a meeting at the Foreign Ministry.

TRTWorld and agencies