Nigerian president admits failure to end Boko Haram violence
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has acknowledged that he has failed to end insecurity in Africa’s most populous country, a promise he made when he was elected in 2015.
In a TV address on Saturday, he said the fight against militants in the north had the unintended consequence of spreading violence to other areas.
In his address marking Democracy Day, Buhari said the past two years had seen "challenges that would have destroyed other nations, especially relating to our collective security".
The Boko Haram terrorist group, which began its insurgency in 2009, has stepped up attacks in recent months.
After his election in 2015, Buhari said the group had been "technically defeated" by an army offensive.
But there have been dozens of attacks in the north-east since the start of the year, and a number of military bases as well as towns have been overrun by the militants.
Weapons, food and medicines have also been looted.
Police detained several demonstrators and fired tear gas in the Nigerian cities of Lagos and Abuja on Saturday during protests over the worsening security situation.
There was a heavy police presence in the country's two major cities as several hundred protesters gathered on Democracy Day, which celebrates Nigeria's move to civilian rule more than 20 years ago.
Anger over mass kidnappings-for-ransom, a decade-long Takfiri insurgency and a crackdown on protesters in Lagos last October left the West African nation in debacle and led to demands for the government to do more to tackle insecurity.
Boko Haram has killed more than 30,000 people, engaged in mass kidnappings, and forced around two million people to flee their homes.
The presence of terrorist groups in Africa has been an excuse for global powers to re-enter these countries. This was seen in the French military intervention in Mali and the US military campaign in Somalia.