President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday in Paris, France, appealed to the international community, especially those with strong influence in Africa to help halt the migration of terrorists into the continent. Nigeria has been a major victim of the influx of displaced Libyan fighters and members of the terrorist wing of the Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP, whose activities have continued to fuel insecurity in the county.
The President who spoke at a working lunch at the Palais Elysee, however, appreciated the efforts of President Emmanuel Macron of France in expanding opportunities for business between Nigerians and French citizens, while committing to the partnership to degrade international criminal networks.
He noted that the visit of President Macron to Nigeria in 2018 had yielded fruits in renewed interest for entrepreneurship beyond local borders, with more businesses expanding their reach and scope in France, particularly with the establishment of the French-Nigeria Investment Club. He also commended France for its strong commitment to peace and security in the Sahel and the Lake Chad region, adding that “ This has contributed significantly to the fight against terrorism and extremism in the region.
“Irregular migration and human trafficking are issues of concern to both Nigeria and France. Transnational criminal networks operating in Africa and Europe are exploiting the vulnerable in the most dehumanizing ways. We are committed to working with the relevant French authorities to dismantle these networks. Nigeria and France have a wide scope to expand and deepen their relations. This effort would be aided by closer engagement at the ministerial level,” he added.
“On the business front, we welcome the personal efforts of President Macron to strengthen ties between Nigerian and French corporations. It was during your visit to Lagos in 2018 that the French Nigeria Investment Club was established.
“You were also instrumental to the establishment of the France-Nigeria Business Council more recently in June 2021. These efforts have brought together some of the largest corporations in Nigeria and France and the stage is set for expanded engagement by entrepreneurs in both countries,” he said.
The President affirmed that the French government continues to share the vision of promoting stronger ties in health, education, and security. President Buhari appreciated the French President for support in improving bilateral relations with Nigeria. “Mr. President, we are determined to take steps to further strengthen our bilateral relations and we look forward to working closely with the French government on this.
“France is a major development partner for Nigeria and we truly appreciate this. The contributions of the Agence France de Development (AFD) to development projects across Nigeria have been well documented. These projects are making a significant difference in communities across Nigeria.
“We welcome the collaboration of Campus France with Nigerian tertiary institutions. This is expanding the scope of Nigeria-France relations into the education sector and improving people – people contact especially among young Nigerian and French citizens,” the President noted. President Buhari said that the French government had also played a key role in ameliorating the challenge posed by COVID-19 since 2020, donating 10 million doses of vaccines to Africa, with more than 500,000 sent to Nigeria.