Nigeria will no longer treat Boko Haram with kid gloves, Jonathan says

President Goodluck Jonathan

Jonathan says government is determined to “trash out” terrorism in Nigeria.

President Goodluck Jonathan declared on Thursday in Windhoek, Namibia, that the Federal Government would no longer treat the terror groups in Nigeria with kid gloves.

Mr. Jonathan made the disclosure at bilateral talks with President Hifikepunye Pohamba, at the Conference Hall of the Namibia State House.

He said that the Federal Government had decided to be more forceful in curtailing the activities of the Boko Haram group that was unleashing terror in the some states of the North-East region. He solicited the support of his Namibian counterpart and other leaders in stamping out terrorism globally.

“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 parts of Nigeria, three states out of 36 states, we are having incidence 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. 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 infiltrate in these other parts. We will work together to ensure that terror attack is stamped out globally and in Nigeria, we are committed,” Mr. Jonathan stated.

The Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the death of thousands of people since 2009.

Mr. Jonathan thanked Mr. Pohamba for Namibia’s support to Nigeria in its election as a non-permanent member of the UN. He used the occasion to call on the super powers to restructure the UN Security Council by making it democratic in allowing other continents, including Africa, to have membership.

Specifically, the president like Mr. Pohamba said that Africa should be given at least two seats in the UN Security Council.

“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 it 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,” he said.

Mr. Jonathan underscored the need for African leaders to promote intra-African trade for jobs creation and the development of the continent. He called for the consolidation of the regional economic blocs for economic integration, saying, “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 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 said.

He also reiterated the need for Africa to add value to its products like raw materials, solid minerals, farm and forest produce.
Mr. Jonathan congratulated Mr. Pohamba and the people of Namibia on the 24th anniversary of the country. He said that looking at the circumstances through which Namibia attained independence, the event was worth celebrating.

The president recalled that Nigeria and Namibia under the leadership of SWAPO were united in the fight for the liberation of that country.

Mr. Pohamba had said that his country would forever remain grateful to Nigeria for its contribution and sacrifice toward the attainment of Namibia’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.

Mr. Pohamba, specifically underscored the need for both countries to jointly exploit their marine resources and water transportation for import and export. He said that Namibia was the third most popular nation in Southern Africa; and mining sector was the second 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 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

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.

Bilateral Air Service Agreement, Legal Field, Extradition Treaty, Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and Technical Cooperation Agreement for the provision of Volunteers Health Professionals in Namibia under the Technical Aid Corps were also signed.

The MoUs also includes cooperation in the Fields of Geology, Mining, Mineral Processing and Metallurgy, Trade, Investment and Economic Cooperation and MoU in the field of Tourism.

(NAN)


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