President Goodluck Jonathan
Muhammad Bello and Michael Olugbode
President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday reiterated that Nigeria had made significant progress in addressing the nation’s security challenges.
This came as the Federal Government said the president bothered on how to bring back peace to Borno and Yobe States and other states in the North-east geo-political zone, despite the fact he has not visited the states in the last two years since the increase in Boko Haram activities.
Jonathan, who stated this when the new Ambassador of Switzerland to Nigeria, Mr. Hans-Rudolf Hodel, presented his letters of credence at State House in Abuja, said: “We are making significant progress in meeting our recent security challenges and we shall continue to improve, so investors have nothing to fear.”
The President, who received three other Ambassadors at different ceremonies, urged them to encourage more business delegations from their countries to visit the country.
The other new Ambassadors are Mr. Svante Kilander of Sweden and Dr. Joachim Oppinger of Austria.
He added that: “Nigeria is a huge market, with many green areas waiting for investors. I urge you to prepare the ground for more robust economic relations between our two countries.”
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said the president told the new Egyptian Ambassador, Mr. Ashraf Abdelkader Elmorsi Salama, that the two countries have a crucial role to play in the African Union, especially because of their strategic locations and population.
In their responses, the new Ambassadors told the President that they were impressed by the vast opportunities in Nigeria, and expressed their determination and commitment to improving trade and other mutually beneficial relations with Nigeria.
The president’s passion to end the Boko Haram crisis was communicated by a delegation he sent to Borno State to condole with the government and people of the state on the murder of Major General Muhammadu Shuwa.
The delegation, which was led by the Minister State for Youth, Inuwa Abdulkadir, include three other junior ministers, Alhaji Bukar Tijjani (Agriculture), Yerima Ngalma (Finance), Ambassador Bashir Yuguda (Sports).
Delivering the president’s message, Abdulkadir said the president feels so strong about what is happening in the North-east and is working assiduously to ensure peace returns. He said President Jonathan is working with the governor of Borno State as well as other governors to ensure security of lives and property in the country and that he would want all Nigerians to continue to pray for peace in the country.
He said the Boko Haram crisis cannot be linked to any religion as no religion preaches violence but it is just that “some guys are hiding under the guise of religion to ferment trouble. It is a well known fact that no religion condones violence, we pray that the situation becomes history soonest.”
He used the opportunity to pray for all those who have died since the crisis started.
He described the slain Shuwa as a nationalist who worked tirelessly to keep the nation one and was willing to shed his blood for the unity of the country.
Responding, Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, said the departure of Shuwa would be felt by all facets in the state as he was a tower of strength to many, his community and the government.
He said he was an iconic soldier, astute administrator and quintessential community man.
“He was living with the people, fought for the people and died for the people,” the governor said.
He added that while his colleagues were living in Asokoro, he lived in the high density Gwange and identified with the people and “we are definitely going to miss not only his intellect, but his useful advice.”