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Nigeria's President Visits White House; Cracking Down on Abuse in the U.K.; Imagine a World. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired July 21, 2015 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: in his first television interview since becoming president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari
tells me about drumming up support against Boko Haram during his White House visit with President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA: Nothing will work until the country is secure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Also ahead, British police still failing abused children here. That's according to a new report. The country's leading
human rights lawyer on what must happen now to protect the most vulnerable.
And meet the concert pianist healing his scars of child abuse through music.
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.
Nigeria's new president, Muhammadu Buhari, is taking his campaign promise to defeat Boko Haram to the White House, seeking President Obama's support.
And he tells me that he would negotiate for the release of the Chibok girls.
It's his first visit to the United States since his inauguration eight weeks ago after an election that was widely seen as free and fair.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Buhari comes into office with a reputation and a very clear agenda and that is to make sure
that he is bringing safety and security and peace to his country.
He's very concerned about the spread of Boko Haram and the violence that's taken place there and the atrocities that they've carried out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Nigeria is the continent's most populous nation and its wealthiest. But the economy is weakening and institutional corruption is
rising amid a busy schedule in Washington, President Buhari joined me for this exclusive interview, warning that without security nothing else could
AMANPOUR: President Buhari, welcome back to the program.
BUHARI: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Mr. President, you have asked the United States to help you in the fight against Boko Haram.
What exactly did you ask in this regard?
What do you need?
And what answer did the president, Obama, give you?
BUHARI: United States, leader of the G7, promised to do what they can to help Nigeria.
So we have brought our requirements in terms of training, equipping and intelligence gathering for Nigeria to be able to fight Boko Haram.
AMANPOUR: And you mentioned the economy and the falling in oil prices over the last many months.
How are you going to deal with that? Because that is really what your people want.
BUHARI: My people firstly, I believe, they want the security (ph) in the country to be stabilized so that normal life, both in the southern part of
the country, where the militants are still sabotaging oil installations and kidnapping people and demanding ransom, and in the northeast of the
country, where Boko Haram is still active.
This is the military occupation of Nigeria now and is the reality of (INAUDIBLE). Nothing will work until the country is secure.
AMANPOUR: But despite your vows to tackle Boko Haram, there are reports in your own country that there have been at least 400 deaths by that group
since you became president.
Added to that, Amnesty International reports that your military has totally lost the credibility and trust of the people because of the systematic
human rights abuses, the killing of some 8,000 people.
How do you expect your military to be able to go against Boko Haram, to get the trust of the people instead of being a platform for Boko Haram's
BUHARI: Well, I have just mentioned that, under Lake Chad Basin Commission, we have agreed to form a multinational joint task force.
BUHARI: So whatever happened before that decision was taken, we have to allow further investigation to verify the question of human rights abuse.
And with that, I'm sure you must have known the decision taken by this government, the federal government of Nigeria, in changing the military
AMANPOUR: What about the girls, the famous Chibok girls, the 200 or so who were abducted so long ago?
Yet again there's been a suggestion that the Boko Haram captors may trade them, may seek to trade them for incarcerated inmates, who they want to get
Is your government willing to trade those girls in that regard?
BUHARI: We have to be very careful about the credibility of various Boko Haram leaderships coming up and declaring that they can deliver. We have
to be very careful indeed. And we are taking our time because we want to bring them safe back to their parents and to their school.
AMANPOUR: So are you in principle against or would you consider negotiating with Boko Haram if you can verify the credibility of those who
BUHARI: I cannot be (INAUDIBLE). I told you our main objective as a government is to secure those girls safe and sound back to their schools
and rehabilitated them to go back to normal life. So if we are convinced that the leadership has presented itself can deliver those girls,
(INAUDIBLE) who will be (INAUDIBLE) negotiate what they want.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you because, look, you came to power on a platform that you would do better than the previous president, in all regards:
security, corruption, economy, et cetera.
But there have been hundreds of people killed since you've become president.
How can you do any better?
BUHARI: I think I have -- I can be held to my promises for the next three and three-quarter years ahead of me. And I think (INAUDIBLE) also is too
early for anybody to pass judgment on my campaign promises.
AMANPOUR: What about your campaign promise to root out corruption?
If they turned out that some of the guilty ones were members of your own party or your own associates, would you crack down on them, too?
BUHARI: I just have to. There isn't going to be any party member or any personality that can escape justice.
AMANPOUR: Mr. President, are you disappointed that President Obama is yet again not going to Nigeria, the biggest and most economically powerful
country in Africa?
BUHARI: Well, I wouldn't say I was disappointed. But how I wished he will change his mind and go to Nigeria.
AMANPOUR: Did you ask him?
Did he say he would?
BUHARI: Well, I will ask him. I will send a formal invitation.
AMANPOUR: So finally, let me ask you about a previous African leader, a former African leader, the former dictator of Chad, Hissene Habre, who is
being tried -- or at least they're trying to try him -- in Senegal. And he's refusing to cooperate.
Do you support that process of trying an accused African leader in Africa rather than at the International Criminal Court?
BUHARI: Justice is justice, whether it's done in Africa or elsewhere in the world. The important thing is let justice be done, whatever evidence
the prosecution has in Senegal. I think they should -- you should proceed to make it available to the world and prosecute him according to
international law on human rights.
AMANPOUR: So you -- so you support that process?
BUHARI: I support any process that is based on justice.
AMANPOUR: President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, thank you for joining me from Washington today.
BUHARI: Thank you very much.
AMANPOUR: And from a democratic African leader to an autocratic one, in Burundi, gunfire erupted as the polls opened, a violent backlash against
the president who's seeking an unconstitutional third term in office.
And next, we turn to that crisis of child abuse in Nigeria. But it's also a crisis around the world, violence against women and child sex abuse, not
least here in the U.K. from a decades-long grooming scandal --
AMANPOUR: -- to uncovering pedophilia among the political and entertainment elite.
After a break, Baroness Helena Kennedy, one of the nation's leading human rights lawyers, what more will it take to really crack down?
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
The heinous crime of child sex abuse is never far from the headlines. Here, the U.K. is still reeling from a devastating report centering on the
northern city of Rotherham, where 1,400 girls, some as young as 11, were groomed, raped and trafficked over more than 10 years by a brutal local
And today a key investigation into this horror found that, despite some improvements, the police are still failing those children. This crisis in
society has hit the Catholic Church, celebrities and politicians. And the leader of the police task force warns that by the end of the year they will
have investigated more than 70,000 cases. That's up 88 percent since 2012.
AMANPOUR: So joining me here in the studio is one of Britain's top human rights lawyers, Baroness Helena Kennedy, who took part in a commission into
child sex abuse and has spoken widely on the issue.
Welcome to the program.
BARONESS HELENA KENNEDY, HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: Nice to be here.
AMANPOUR: I cannot even imagine what must go through your mind when I just stated that fact, that they think up 88 percent, these cases of child sex
abuse in the last three years.
How is that possible, particularly with all the focus on it?
KENNEDY: It's extraordinarily and I think that we shouldn't dismiss the fact that it is somewhat endemic. I -- a friend of mine recently was
saying that it doesn't happen in our society and she was from another part of the world.
And I had to point out that actually it happens everywhere, that children are abused as are women around the world. But there is something, I think,
happening here in Britain, which is that suddenly the lid has been taken off, historic abuse, and people are suddenly feeling free to speak about
what happened to them as children.
And we've had a whole swath of cases, of people suddenly describing the horrors of their experiences. And that has, I think, liberated many other
people to come forward and many young children to be actually much more open in speaking about it.
AMANPOUR: So do you think those figures are because more people are talking about it rather than more cases?
KENNEDY: I think it's about more people speaking about it, more people coming out, coming to the surface more. And those all institutions,
suddenly becoming subject of scrutiny. And we're looking into dark corners and that hasn't happened before.
British society is particularly secretive. You know, they always call it the British disease, that we're so secretive, that there's a way in which
people are inhibited about speaking about matters private. And that has been, I think, a problem about addressing some of these issues.
AMANPOUR: And several people have been asked to chair this task force, including yourself -- and you turned it down -- why did you turn down the
opportunity to chair a task force into this?
Why did you think it was better to have an outsider?
KENNEDY: Well, I should make clear that I was asked to consider doing this. And I suggested actually that looking beyond Britain's shores would
help us avoid --
KENNEDY: the suggestions which were being made, that too many of -- our country's small -- and might know some of the people who were having the
allegations made against them.
So having an outsider and a very distinguished judge from New Zealand has helped us here.
Lowell Goddard will do, I think, a wonderful job. But also New Zealand has had its own problems and inquiries into, for example, children's homes
where abuse took place in New Zealand. And so there aren't many societies where this isn't somehow beginning to bubble to the surface and so there
had been experience in New Zealand which she could draw on.
AMANPOUR: So let me quote you something that she said.
"We must travel from the corridors of power in Westminster to children's homes in the poorest parts of the country. No one . will be allowed to
obstruct our enquiries."
Now couple that with this very secretive society, the fact that basically these investigations have taken so long to implement.
Will she be able to travel the distance that she's saying there?
KENNEDY: Well, I think that you have now a very vocal community of victims, who really want to get to the bottom of this. And I think she's
going to be responsive to that.
But I also think that there's a bit of willingness now than there ever had been in the past. The thing about British society is that it's very class
driven; you know, we -- it's very -- and what we know is that people often were protective of other people of their own grouping. It happens in any
community, which is it doesn't want to be exposed or its failures to be exposed.
And so even if they think people have behaved ill, they kind of would rather just push it to one side because they feel the whole fabric will
founder if it's examined too closely.
AMANPOUR: So this is going to go back to about the '70s, and actually it was the entertainer, Jimmy Savile, and the institutional abuse that he
committed, that sort of opened the floodgates.
Another statistic that Lowell Goddard has quoted is one in every 20 children may have been abused. And she's saying and others are saying that
thousands and thousands of victims are likely to come to the fore and that this process could take about five years.
How do you see it unfolding? Is it like a truth and reconciliation? Is it criminal? Do statute of limitations play into this? What do you think?
What are you looking for?
KENNEDY: Well, one of the things that Lowell Goddard has had to do with her team is that she's had to say we have to actually deal with some of
this separately. So there will be a common matrix as to how the inquiry will be conducted, that there will be an inquiry into church, church men
abusing their authority and position. And that won't just be the Catholic Church but all of the churches, not -- even the Methodist Church recently
has been exposed as having this happening within it.
Schools -- the health system and they're partly in the some of the hospitals, particularly where those with disabilities and perhaps with
mental disabilities were vulnerable and were abused. Looking at children's homes, you see, predators often will look for the vulnerable and will go
after the vulnerable because they know that, for example, the girls in Rotherham were not believed because the police decided that they were all
tawdry, lower-class girls who were sluttish and therefore -- and instead of seeing them as actually people who'd been turned into girls who were
available to men because they had been lowered in their own self-esteem and had been seriously abused.
So I mean, it's about challenging attitudes. It's about also separating groups and dealing with it, piece by piece, rather than trying to do it as
one great holistic inquiry.
AMANPOUR: What do you hope to see by the end of it?
What are the biggest challenges you think there will be in the way of getting to the final truth and justice?
KENNEDY: Well, one of the things that I think will come out of this is a reappraisal of how policing is done, about the way in which we had a
culture of just not believing women and children. And I've written about this over the years, that there was in our legal system a culture that
there were certain kinds of people in society that you have to approach with distrust and they were women and children.
And so now I think that we're getting away from that. And also the recognition that in societies -- and particularly closed communities and
places where the shame can be felt deeply -- you've got to try and get underneath the surface.
And of course we know that there was a closing of ranks and partly that is because people can't face the unearthing and the -- that scandal will
create. So I think that there's people that have to be brave and I think that Lowell Goddard herself is a very courageous woman.
But I think there's going to have to be bravery on the political class and the people who are running these institutions to look at how they're run
and to see whether there can't be proper (INAUDIBLE) systems but also better ways of listening and also being respectful of the voices of those
who are vulnerable.
AMANPOUR: Baroness Helena Kennedy, thank you very much indeed.
AMANPOUR: And after a break, we imagine a world where the horrors of abuse are overcome by the power of music. The wonderful sounds of British
pianist James Rhodes, how music helped him find peace after all the pain of his youth -- that's next.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, as we focus on the world we live in, too haunted by horrifying abuse, we imagine a world where the gift of music can
heal childhood trauma.
When he was a child, the renowned English concert pianist, James Rhodes, was repeatedly abused over many years by one of his school teachers,
leaving physical and emotional scars that he recounted in his new memoir, "Instrumental."
It's a book that took 14 months of legal battles to publish after his ex- wife argued that it would adversely affect their young son. Now he wants to change the very way we talk about abuse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES RHODES, PIANIST (voice-over): For me, the best concerts are the ones where I'm -- I come out and I'm feeling quite nervous and I sit at the
piano and I close my eyes. And then 30 seconds later, it's all over. I just disappear. Time disappears. All the worries and the noise and the
voices and the madness, it just goes away.
You and I are instantly connected through music. It is medicine for the soul. There are 88 keys on a piano and within that, an entire universe.
It's a book about music primarily. It's a love letter to my son, to my wife, Patty (ph), and because it's a memoir, it's also -- it covers certain
things that happened when I were a kid and it talks about child rape and mental illness.
I feel like I have a duty to say this happened to me. But I came out the other side and this is how.
RHODES: They'll have got to the stage where one of the hospitals I was in, nothing was allowed. I tried to get certain quite unhealthy things
smuggled in, like razor blades, knives or whatever, and they were intercepted and it was decided, like, you know, I wasn't to be trusted with
And but an old friend of mine came to visit and he smuggled in a little iPod Nano. And I'd put it on under the covers and listen to this piece of
Bach. It's called the Bach "Marcello Adagio," played by Glenn Gould. It was just rock star pianist. But I thought I knew everything he'd recorded.
And I hadn't heard this piece before.
And it absolutely just knocked me to the floor in the best possible way.
RHODES: I just thought, this is it. While something this good can exist in the world, I can't make my peace with taking my own life. It was that
simple. And that was enough for me to start to get well and get out of hospital and pursue what I really wanted to do with my life.
RHODES: Wherever else in this day and age can you go to a concert and switch off and close your eyes and you have an hour or two hours where
you're not bombarded with tweets or commercials or mindless TV, where you can just switch off and escape into this extraordinary music?
RHODES: The thing about rape, whether it's child rape or whatever age, is it thrives in secrecy and shame. I mean, those are the two most powerful
weapons that rapists and abusers have. If you talk about this, you can't imagine the hell that will be unleashed on you.
And it worked for a long time. I didn't talk about it. The abuse doesn't stop when he stops raping you. It carries on for decades. And it has
ripple effects that destroy families and marriages and you can't imagine the legacy.
And I think why should I not write that down? So we've got to talk. It's not easy but we've got to because if we don't, then the guy who did this to
me when I was a kid, he wins. And I'm not comfortable living in a world where that happens.
AMANPOUR: The power of letting the light in.
And that's it for our program tonight. And remember you can always see the whole show online at amanpour.com, including a full version of the concert
pieces James Rhodes played for us.
And on this theme, be sure to watch the CNN Freedom Project documentary, "Children for Sale: The Fight to End Human Trafficking." That's Wednesday
at 8:00 pm in London, 9:00 pm Central European Time.
And always follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.