France has expressed willingness to partner with Nigeria on security over the activities of Boko Haram and other terror attacks in parts of the country, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
The French Foreign Minister, Alain Juppe, who is on a two-day visit to Nigeria, made this known to journalists in Abuja yesterday after a closed door meeting with his Nigerian counterpart, Mr. Olugbenga Ashiru.
Juppe, who spoke through an interpreter, said the partnership would be in the areas of intelligence gathering, information sharing, training operation. He also condoled with Nigeria over the recent attacks in Maiduguri and Damaturu.
The envoy also stressed the need to curb piracy on the Gulf of Guinea, while noting France’s interest in promoting peace and stability in the entire West African sub-region.
On economic relations, he emphasised the need for both countries to deepen relations as current trade volume between Nigeria and France hits 4.5 billion Euro.
“I am in Nigeria to express France’s desire to deepen relations with Nigeria and condole her over recent terror attacks, and to discuss economic issues as Nigeria is France’s first trade partner in sub-Saharan Africa.’’
Ashiru described the visit as a manifestation of Nigeria’s new foreign policy direction on investment drive.
He called on French investors to key into the nation’s transformation agenda and invest in non-oil sectors of agriculture, mining, manufacturing among others, saying “Nigeria is safe for investors to come for business”.
Ashiru said other issues discussed included energy partnership, international cooperation, consular and immigration matters as well as judicial and mutual legal assistance.
NAN also reports that both nations also reiterated support for ECOWAS, AU and the African Union Mission in Somalia.