Vanguard (Lagos)

21 March 2014

Nigeria: Boko Haram - It's Now Fire for Fire - Jonathan

Photo: This Day
President Goodluck Jonathan.

Abuja — President Goodluck Jonathan has sent a strong message to the Boko Haram terror group that the Nigerian government would no longer treat it with kid gloves.

Speaking in Windhoek, Namibia during bilateral talks with President Hifikepunye Pohamba at the Conference Hall of the Namibia State House, President Jonathan solicited the support of other countries in the fight against terrorism, saying a terror attack on one country is an attack on all countries.

He said: "The issue of global terror is worrisome and in Nigeria, we believe that a terror attack 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, we are having incidence of terror in three states out of 36 states.

"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 them to continue to slow down economic growth in that part of the country.

"With the terror attacks in that part of the country, the rest of the country feel it because Nigerians live everywhere. In these other parts, there is always the fear that if you do not tackle it, it will spread to other parts. We will work together to ensure that terror attack is stamped out globally and in Nigeria we are committed."

Restructuring of UN Security Council

While thanking the Namibian President for his country's support of Nigeria's election as non‑permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, President Jonathan called for the restructuring of the UN Security Council to make it more democratic, adding that Africa should be given at least two seats in the UN Security Council.

He said: "I also believe in your philosophy that if by God's grace, the UN Security Council will be restructured, that is, if the super powers will allow it to be restructured, Africa should be considered at least for two positions to represent the interest of African people.

"I always say that we cannot talk of democracy when the strongest institutions globally are not democratic but dictated to by one country alone.

"If we must practice democracy and emphasise that all countries must be democratic, we need to start from these powerful UN institutions that all parts of the globe must have a say there."

Economic integration

While calling on African leaders to promote intra‑African trade for job creation and the development of the continent, the President emphasised that the continent must consolidate the regional economic blocs for economic integration.

He said: "If we can consolidate the regional economic blocs to become solid, then, we can integrate the economic blocs before going to political integration. I always believe that our founding fathers in the days of OAU, their vision was for Africa to become a single big continent.

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

While congratulating the Namibian President on the occasion of the 24th anniversary of the country, President Jonathan said considering the circumstances Namibia attained independence, the event is worth celebrating.

Pohamba calls for Nigeria, Namibia collaboration

Earlier, Pohamba had said that his country would forever remain grateful to Nigeria for the contribution and sacrifice towards the attainment of the country's independence.

He stressed the need for the two countries to focus on industrialisation and economic sustenance particularly in the area of agriculture, mining and tourism.

Pohamba specifically underscored the need for both countries to jointly exploit their marine resources and water transportation for import and export.

He said Namibia is the third most populous nation in Southern Africa and her mining sector is the second largest contributor to its GDP.

After the bilateral talks, the two leaders entered a closed door session which lasted for about an hour before coming out to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs).

11 MoUs signed

Eleven MoUs were jointly signed by relevant ministers of both countries.

The MoUs 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.

Others are Bilateral Air Service Agreement, co-operations in the legal field, extradition treaty, treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and technical cooperation agreement for the provision of volunteer health professionals in Namibia under the Technical Aid Corps were signed.

The MoUs also include cooperation in the fields of geology, mining, mineral processing and metallurgy; trade, investment and cconomic cooperation and MoU in the field of tourism.

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InFocus

Nigeria's 'About-Turn' on Boko Haram

President Goodluck Jonathan.

President Goodluck Jonathan has sent a strong message to Boko Haram, stating that the government will no longer treat the group with "kid gloves". Read more »