By BEN AGANDE & DEMOLA AKINYEMI
ABUJA— President Goodluck Jonathan is expected to visit Borno State today to assess the security situation and possibly visit troops deployed there.
The President is expected to leave Maiduguri for France, where he is expected to attend a regional security summit that involves France, Chad and Niger.
There were reports that the President may also visit Chibok, where the abduction of over 200 girls from a secondary school sparked international condemnation and outrage.
The incidence has attracted multinational support from USA, Britain, France, Israel and China to assist Nigeria’s rescue efforts.
A statement by Dr Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity said President Jonathan will be joined at the summit by heads of state and government of Benin Republic, Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
The statement added that Britain, the United States of America and the European Union will be represented at the talks which will give special attention to the coordination and intensification of efforts to curtail the destabilising activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighbouring countries.
It said: “President Jonathan, who will be accompanied by the Minister of Defence, Lt Gen. Aliyu Gusau (rtd.); National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) and other principal aides and advisers, will return to Abuja at the conclusion of the summit on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, has admitted that the current Boko Haram insurgency is a problem and a challenge that is adversely affecting the economic growth of the country.
Okonjo Iweala said, however, that with the current efforts of the Federal Government and foreign assistance, the war against terrorists would be tackled and Nigeria would experience the desired development it deserved.
The Minister said this yesterday while fielding questions from newsmen in Ilorin, shortly after unveiling the distribution of PC Tablet to 100 students of the University of Ilorin and the official flag off of the oil palm plantation for the institution.
According to Okonjo Iweala, “this is a global problem and we must come together as a country to tackle this problem. We have to admit that insecurity is a problem and challenge which we must grapple with and deal with, but remember that majority of the country is functioning and let us not lose sight of that.
“That gives those of us who are not directly affected an opportunity to think of our brothers and sisters in areas where there are security challenges; to pray with them, to support the government and our military who are putting their lives on the line to end the menace.
“We should also be hopeful; we are not alone.”