Nigeria’s new President Buhari vows fight against Boko Haram at inauguration

Nigerians celebrated the historic inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari, as their nation’s first democratic transfer of power was finalized. Buhari, a former military dictator, vowed to take charge of the fight against Boko Haram militants. Meanwhile, the U.S. is reportedly ready to expand military assistance to Nigeria. Judy Woodruff reports.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    We turn now to Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa. The troubled country, struggling with massive economic problems, corruption and an Islamic extremist insurgency, made history today, as it inaugurated it's new leader, Muhammadu Buhari.

    Nigerians celebrated their new president and a strengthened democracy today, as the country's first democratic transfer of power was finalized.

  • MAN (through interpreter):

    It's a new beginning with an honest man who is serious and focused and determined.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    That honest man: Muhammadu Buhari, a former military dictator who calls himself a born-again democrat.

  • PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI, Nigeria (through interpreter):

    I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The 72-year-old former general vowed to take charge of the fight against Boko Haram militants, who control portions of Northeast Nigeria.

  • PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI (through interpreter):

    Boko Haram is a mindless, worthless group who are as far away from Islam as one can think of.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Just today, at least seven people were killed in Borno state, when suspected Boko Haram militants carried out twin bombings at a wedding party. Hundreds of Boko Haram captives have been freed by the military in recent weeks.

    But the fate of the Chibok girls, whose capture sparked the global campaign to Bring Back Our Girls, remains unknown. The U.S. has assisted in that search, and Secretary of State Kerry was on hand today, reaffirming strong U.S.-Nigerian ties.

    With the leadership change, the U.S. is reportedly now ready to expand military assistance. That could include sending more advisers to train Nigeria's army. In addition to the fight against Boko Haram, Buhari inherits a host of other problems from outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan, chief among them, tackling institutionalized corruption, and reinvigorating Africa's largest economy, which has faltered badly.

    Nigeria faces a $63 billion national debt. And even though it is a top global oil producer, it is suffering a months-long fuel crisis.