French President, Macron, Arrives Nigeria

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President Emmanuel Macron of France, on Tuesday, arrived in Nigeria on official visit aboard French Presidential Jet A330 and landed at the Presidential wing of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at about 3:10 p.m.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that President Macron on arrival was received by Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, before he inspected the Presidential Guard of Honour.

He was also presented with a plaque by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Bello, before leaving for the Presidential Villa at about 3:40 p.m.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, in an interview with newsmen, said the visit would support improved ties and trade relations between the two countries.

He said it would also be the first formal meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the French President since assumption of office.

Onyeama added that the visit would further help to reinforce the French support to Nigeria in the areas of security, trade and cultural ties.

According to him, France is involved in the five Sahel countries in what they called the G5 Sahel and which is sorted around Mali and dealing with the Al-Qaida in the Sahel and also the other terrorist groups in the Sahel region.

“We are also going to be looking complementarily at the two security groupings, that is the G5 Sahel and of course the multinational joint task force that we have in fighting Boko Haram, so we can work together sharing intelligence.

“Also very importantly, there is the issue of funding for the fight against terrorism in the African countries and France has been supporting us in this and looking for greater United Nations involvement financially in the process.

“So we are looking forward for the support of the French in engaging the UN to help.

“We have a stronger ally in the demand for the UN financial investment and involvement in fighting terrorism in the West African Sahel region,” he said.

In the area of economy, Onyeama said that France had been one of the big investors in the country, adding that more investment was expected with the visit of Mr Macron.

He said that President Muhammadu Buhari would let the French president know that Nigeria was very much ready for business notwithstanding the security challenges that the nation is facing.

He also disclosed that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) would be signed for French Energy and Environmental companies for an environmental project in Ogun State during the visit.

According to him, this project is looking at reforestation and also brings in investments in developing timber and other agricultural products that will now in turn create about 150,000 jobs.

“President Macron is a young president and he is a president that believes so much in the youth.

“So after meeting with Mr President here and signing the MoU, he will be going to African shrine, Lagos, and also engage with the youth in Nigeria.

“He will also be meeting with some of our creative industry proprietors to promote greater cultural ties, and we are hoping that his engagement with the creative sector of our country will further enhance French-Nigeria cooperation,” he said.