Nigeria is yet to join Saudi-led anti-Islamic-State alliance: FG

By The Rainbow

Garuba Shehu, a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, told Reuters on Thursday that the country was yet to make up its mind on the matter. But he admitted that the country received formal invitation to join.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia announced a 34-nation Islamic military coalition, a move welcomed by the United States, which has been urging greater regional efforts to push back Islamic State, now in control of large parts of Iraq and Syria.

However, there has been confusion over the initiative, with some of the countries named as members of the coalition caught unawares by the announcement.

A list published by the Saudi state news agency included Nigeria, which, with other West African states, is battling homegrown militants in the form of Boko Haram, a group that like Islamic State wants to carve out a territory ruled by Islamic law.

“Nigeria has been formally invited to be a member of the alliance and President Buhari is looking into it,” Buhari’s spokesman Garuba Shehu told Reuters, in the first official comment from Abuja.

“A decision to join has not been taken yet. Nigeria is not in or out.”

Nigeria has been battling Boko Haram insurgency since 2009, which has claimed over 20,000 lives and  close to 3 million displaced, with international community pay only perfunctory attention.