FG banks on foreign help
By SAM EYOBOKA, VICTORIA OJEME & YINKA LATONA
Deeply concerned by terrorism believed to have been orchestrated by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has assured President Goodluck Jonathan that over 78 million Nigerian Christians will not relent in their prayers at this period of security challenges in the country as the Federal Government declared that it will seek the banking of foreign help to stem the tide.
“As in all situations of terrorism, it would require the cooperation of the international community, especially friendly countries like France to effectively address the challenge. This is why the Federal Government is particularly delighted with France’s expression of solidarity and condemnation of recent acts in our cities which resulted in the loss of innocent lives,” the foreign affairs minister, Ambassador Olusegun Ashiru, said yesterday.
Ashiru statement came barely one week after the Boko Haram sect struck in Damaturu, Yobe State capital, bombing the state police headquarters, police stations and churches, and leaving on its trail about 100 persons dead.
Before then, the group had claimed to be behind at least two bombings in Abuja, the Federal Capital including the one that rocked the United Nations building.
It also said it carried out gun attacks and bombings in Maiduguri, Borno State capital.
Ashiru, who spoke at a dinner reception to mark the visit of France foreign affairs minister, Alain Juppe, in Abuja, yesterday, also called for further improvement in the economic ties between the two nations.
The Nigerian foreign minister said: “I should seize this opportunity to make clear that the Federal Government does not take lightly the current challenges facing country. Indeed, the government is determined to tackle this threat head –on ,
as every responsible government should”.
Speaking on the trade relations between Nigeria and France, he described the current volume of the French investment in Nigeria as inadequate despite the strong ties between the two nations, urging France to increase the depth of its investment in the country.
“ I must say that France’s investment in Nigeria , though substantial, does not fully reflect the depth and extensiveness of Franco-Nigeria relations. We need to bridge this gap. I expect our business communities to take advantage of this networking dinner to build friendship and business linkages for the mutual benefit of our countries”, Ashiru added.
Juppe condemned the Yobe and Borno attacks, describing them as barbaric act of terrorism and fanaticism.
“The death toll in Damaturu in Yobe claimed by Boko Haram is a barbaric act of terrorism and fanaticism that provoke these terrible acts are incompatible with our values,” the French foreign minister said.
“On behalf of the French government and before you all, I solemnly condemn in the strongest manner these attacks in the north of the country. I greatly extend my deepest sympathy to the victims families and their loved ones and I offer my condolences to the authority of the States of the federation and authority of Nigeria and the entire Nigerian population.”
Meanwhile, Ashiru has called on France and other developed partners to, in the light of Nigeria’s eminent peace-keeping role, consider expanding the G20 with a view to including at least the three economies from each of the regions of the world as well as its backing to her desire to secure a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
He stated this yesterday after a closed door meeting by the Franco-Nigeria political Dialogue held in Abuja.
The minister said the meeting came up with a decision on the Franco-Nigeria bilateral and economic relations in trade and investment issues; in areas of energy partnership between the two countries, international cooperation: and consular and immigration matters and judicial and mutual legal assistance.
Speaking on regional issues, the two countries reiterated support for ECOWAS, while Nigeria expressed satisfaction for broad consultation on the Ivorian and Liberian crisis, where both countries positions coincided.
Adeboye to Jonathan: We are with you in prayers
In the meantime, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has assured President Goodluck Jonathan that over 78 million Nigerian Christians will not relent in their prayers at this period of security challenges in the country.
Speaking at the special Holy Ghost Service, in Abuja, Friday night, in response to another presidential appeal for prayers, Adeboye said: “I want to, on behalf of everybody here tonight, specially say thank you to Mr. President. Please convey our greetings to him and tell him that we cannot stop praying because Nigeria is our country.”
Continuing, the pastor pointed out: “We don’t have any other country and, whether the devil likes it or not, peace will reign in this country. And because we serve the Prince of Peace, we will defeat violence with peace, we will defeat hatred with love, and, whether the devil likes it or not, Nigeria, belongs to Christ.”
The large crowd of worshippers immediately saluted that declaration with tumultuous shout of AMEN.
Earlier, during the service, Jonathan, represented by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku who paid glowing tributes to the immense contribution of the Church and Adeboye in particular, had appealed to the General Overseer and the Church as a whole to intensify their prayers for peace in the land so that his transformation agenda will not be truncated.