The National Democratic Front (NDF) has cautioned French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Jerome Pasquier, to quit making utterances capable of undermining Nigeria's progress against terrorism.
NDF gave this warning at a press conference on Saturday in Abuja in reaction to the French envoy's recent comments that Nigeria isn't doing enough in the war against insurgency.
In a statement signed by Secretary-General, Dr. Abdulkadir Bolaji, NDF berated France not overstretch its liberty by consciously inciting Nigerians against the Federal Government.
Dr Bolaji described Pasquier's claims as an assault on the sensibilities of Nigerians, especially knowing the role played by European nation in the crisis in the northeast; arming and funding terrorists.
The NDF, therefore, demanded that "the French Ambassador to Nigeria should immediately withdraw the statements and apologize to the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Nigerian people for deriding their dilemma in the hands of terrorists."
Read the full statement below:
Nigeria is a country at peace with herself despite a catalogue of internal challenges. Nigeria cherishes international relations and the global community as defined by the principles of the United Nations (UN).
But Nigeria shall not condone acts from other countries, which seem to undermine her sovereignty as a nation. France is unjustifiably attempting to test the patience of Nigeria with reckless and injurious public comments.
France has no reason to deliberately provoke Nigeria. Even under the colonial era, Nigeria was colonized by the Britons and not France. And so, there is no reason why France will make Nigeria her enemy and keep using her former colonies to make Nigeria uncomfortable by heightening lyrics of insecurity.
The French Ambassador to Nigeria Mr Jerome Pasquier freely assaulted the sensibilities of Nigerians by the public statement at a workshop in Abuja to the effect that the efforts of the Nigerian Government in addressing insecurity particularly in the Northeast are not enough.
Nigeria is aware of the behind the scenes schemes France has playing in the Northeast. Nigeria knows of France's vested interest in the crude oil reserves in the Lake Chad Basin. It is suspected of using some dubious elements in Niger and other neighbouring countries to deprive Nigeria of this natural resource.
Nigeria's quietness in the face of this glaring injustice does not mean the French envoy should carelessly confront and assault the sensibilities of Nigerians. Any attempt to puncture the patience of Nigerians as France is has staged out will be resisted.
That Mr Pasquier had the courage and effrontery to tell Nigerians at a workshop in Abuja that the Nigerian Government under President Muhammadu Buhari, the authorities and stakeholders should "step up actions and devise new approaches" is the height of heartlessness. It is smacks of mockery and abuse of diplomatic privilege.
France should rather ask itself how much it has contributed to ending Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria, hence its former colonies directly bear the brunt of any crisis in Nigeria. France has none. It has never issued a public statement condemning the atrocities of Boko Haram in Nigeria probably because it is excited by the blood they shed.
Nigeria wishes to appeal to the UN, the European Union (EU), the African Union (AU) and the global community to investigate the festering Boko Haram terrorism on the fringes of Nigeria's Borno state and the Republic of Niger. France cannot be this nice by offering advice, while it does nothing to help the country dismantle the barriers of Boko Haram from Nigeria to Niger.
Nigeria can accept any trash from foreign countries. But it should not transmute into a mocking of the sanctity of Nigeria's statehood as done by the French ambassador.
In Nigeria, France is widely accused of arming and funding terrorists through their Niger connections. The same country cannot pretend and openly pour mud into the faces of Nigerian people with such careless and extremely very reckless statements.
It punctures the ethics of diplomacy that France should seek to provoke and incite Nigerians against the Federal Government over an issue its role is still suspect. Seeking to rubbish the efforts of the Nigerian state in curbing terrorism is the least thing France should have ever contemplated. This is condemnable and unacceptable.
With every sense of responsibility and patriotism, NDF demands that the French Ambassador to Nigeria should immediately withdraw the statements and apologize to the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Nigerian people for deriding their dilemma in the hands of terrorists.
NDF pleads with Nigerians to remain calm in spite of the deliberate incitement by France. Nigeria shall always remain a peaceful country and will soon overcome her security challenges no matter the magnitude of conspiracies against her from countries like France.