Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The European Union (EU) and the government of France have committed a total sum of 38 million Euros to the process of rebuilding insurgent ravaged Northeast Nigerian states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
While the EU assisted with 30 million Euros, France as a strategic partner with Nigeria has committed not less than 8 million Euro.
This was disclosed by the Ambassador of France in Nigeria, Denys Gauer at a press briefing during a reception to commemorate the French National Day 2017 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, Friday night.
Gauer said France contributed bilaterally and through the European Union to relieve the suffering of the affected populations by financing humanitarian assistance.
France, he said, is strongly engaged in the common fight against the whole of Sahelian region of Mali, Guinea, Cameroun, Niger, and Nigeria, adding that the country was instrumental in the creation of the G5 Sahel Force which is built on the same model as the Multilateral Joint Task Force to combat Boko Haram.
This, he said is necessary, because France realised that the five Sahelian countries have limited resources to individually fight terrorism, hence the need for a regional cooperation while urging Nigeria to continue playing central role.
Gauer commended the determination shown by the Nigerian armed forces in the Lake Chad Basin and promised Franceâ€™s continued support of all efforts to restore security, both regionally and through increasing cooperation with the Nigerian armed forces.
He said Boko Haram has been degraded, divided and weakened but not completely eliminated and quickly added that â€œeven divided, even weakened, they are still active. People in IDP camps cannot go back to their homes because of fear as a result of pockets of attacks being carried out by Boko Haramâ€.
He charged the Nigerian government to maintain the steam of fight against insurgency and not allow Boko Haram to regroup and take over Nigerian territories again.
The Ambassador further stated that France through the French Development Agency has committed over 1.3 billion Euro to several sector of the Nigerian economy and development because Nigeria is Franceâ€™s strategic partner in Africa.
â€œWe try to support the efforts of the Nigerian government to diversify the economy and improve social services and infrastructures in the country. The French Development Agency finances projects in the power sector, in public transportation, in urban planning and in agriculture. We strongly encourage our companies to come to a country which is already our first trading partner in Africaâ€.
The French National Day, he said, â€œcommemorates the beginning of the French Revolution, which put an end to the absolute monarchy in France and opened the way for freedom, democracy, equality of rights for all citizens, but also a sense of openness and solidarity towards all human and nations, all those values, which inspired so many other nations and we nowadays appreciated, if not always shared, all over the worldâ€.