Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, yesterday called on the French government to be more decisive in the supporting war against terrorism, particularly the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-eastern part of Nigeria and neighbouring former French-colonies in West Africa.
Saraki, during a two-hour bilateral meeting with the President of the French Senate, Senator Gerard Larcher, on the ongoing COP 21 global parliamentary meeting in Paris, also urged France to strengthen the existing trade relations with Nigeria while also supporting the on-going efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to rebuild the Nigerian economy and improve on the state of infrastructure.
He also canvassed for French support for the completion of the Lake Chad project aimed at battling the environmental challenge in the region.
While commiserating with the French people on the recent terrorist attack in the country, the Nigerian senate president urged French parliamentarians to push for more support for the Nigerian government towards resolving the Boko Haram crisis which he said poses grave danger to French strategic interests in West Africa.
He noted that France could intervene by sharing vital intelligence with Nigerian defence authorities and providing manpower as well as material support so that the insurgents will be overwhelmed and defeated in a short time.
He also solicited for the help of France in assisting the over two million internally displaced persons (IDP) in North-east in Nigeria, adding that the country’s leaders are already thinking of how to properly resettle the people and rebuild the area after the end of the on-going military campaigns.
“If we do not start thinking about how to ensure that the people do not return to abject poverty which contributed to the festering of the hate campaigns by the Boko Haram members, then we will soon face another major crisis after ending the present one,” Saraki said.
He further called for the establishment of a Nigeria-French Forum aimed at addressing the issue of insecurity, trade and other areas of mutual interest.
Saraki further called on France to support the passing into law of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which he and his colleagues are working on “because it will help in improving Nigeria’s revenue base.”
He said the current Senate which he leads is also focused on reviewing laws that can ease doing business in Nigeria as a way of attracting foreign direct investments, urging French business men to support the on-going initiatives to re-energise the Nigerian economy.