French President François Hollande says his country will help the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) with equipment and intelligence in fight against the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria and the African sub-region.
The MNJTF countries are Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Benin Republic.
Hollande said this yesterday after a closed-door bilateral meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari who is on a three-day official visit to France at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
At a joint press conference, Hollande said France was concerned about the increasing spate of insecurity in Nigeria and the entire West Africa. He said he discussed with Buhari, new partnership strategies that would enable Nigeria and her neighbors combat the insurgency and restore peace.
“We provide all of the support to the countries in the region which are affected by this cult and in Nigeria, we want to provide support and solidarity,” Hollande said.
The French leader said his country had concluded arrangements to invest €130 million in the development of road, power and water infrastructure in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian economy remains strong so, France wants to be doing business in the country”, Hollande stated.
Buhari thanked Hollande for his interest in helping Nigeria, saying the federal government would partner with France for the overall development of Nigeria.
He said with commitment from France, Nigeria’s next shopping list regarding support will move to other G-7 members.
“We have to depend on France and the other G7 countries for support to fight piracy. Our next shopping list is going to G-7 in terms of intelligence and training. Another problem is the problem in the Gulf of Guinea, from Senegal to Angola, that area is endowed with resources like petroleum and other minerals but surrounded by piracy and theft. We are going to depend on France and G7 countries to flush these criminals out of the region.
“On Nigeria’s problems, more than 67 percent of our youths and most of them under their youthful age are unemployed. We are finding best ways in Agriculture and mining to address this before sophisticated infrastructure and security are provided. We want to make sure we feed ourselves and provide security before other things are also tackled,” he said.