Daily Trust (Abuja)

21 March 2014

Nigeria: Jonathan - No More Kid-Gloves Treatment for Terrorists

President Goodluck Jonathan said the federal government initially handled terrorism with kid gloves.

He said this at the State House in Namibia yesterday during bilateral talks with President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

Jonathan, who is currently on a two-day state visit to Namibia, said his administration had decided to be more forceful in "thrashing out" terror groups.

According to him, this has become necessary to stop them from retarding the economic growth of the North East.

The president said: "The issue of global terror is worrisome and in Nigeria, we believe that a terror attack on anywhere in the world is a terror attack on everyone. It may be more in one country compared to the other. For instance, in the north eastern part of Nigeria, three states out of 36 states, we're having incidences of terror.

"Initially, we handled it with kid-gloves, but now, we have decided to be a little more forceful because we must thrash out these terror groups. We must not allow it to continue to slow down economic growth in that part of the country."

The president called for restructuring of the United Nations Security Council by making it democratic so that other continents, including Africa, would have membership.

Jonathan stressed the need for African leaders to promote intra-African trade for job creation and the development of Africa, saying the continent must consolidate the regional economic blocs for economic integration.

"I remember the late President of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, whose dream was that political boundary should collapse for Africa. But we believe that it is good to envision that kind of development, but first, we must consolidate the regional economic blocs," he emphasised.

He congratulated Pohamba and the people of Namibia on the 24th independence anniversary of the country, saying it was worth celebrating, given the circumstances under which the independence was attained.

He noted that Nigeria and Namibia under the leadership of SWAPO were united in the struggle for the liberation of that country.

Earlier, Pohamba said Namibia would forever be grateful to Nigeria for her contributions to the attainment of his country's independence.

Jonathan and Pohamba later went into one-hour closed door session after which they came out to oversee the signing of Memorandum of Understanding jointly signed by 11 relevant ministers of both countries.

The MoU included training of Namibian Foreign Relations Officers at the Nigerian Foreign Service Academy, Agreements on Youth Development and on the Waiver of Visa Requirements for Citizens of both parties holding Diplomatic and Official Passports, Bilateral Air Service Agreement, Co-operations in the Legal Field, Extradition Treaty, Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and Technical Cooperation.

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