French President Emmanuel Macro while visiting Nigeria, arrived the federal capital Abuja Tuesday where he alongside his Nigerian counterpart Mohammadu Buhari gave a joint press conference. Both leaders dwelled on regional security though Macron went a bit further to pinpoint the influence of culture in Africa’s leading economy.
On the issue of counter-terrorism launch against the Islamic group Boko Haram, President Macron offered to provide the support of France in Nigeria’s efforts to attain security within its borders. The visiting French leader reiterated the commitment of the French to ensure that ”defence and stabilisation of the Sahel region” remain a priority by enhancing the strength of the G5 Sahel, which has been at the centre of the African Union summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania.
Assuring his Nigerian host ”You have a friend in France” as Boko Haram continues with its jihadist insurrection in the north-eastern part of the country.
Buhari reminded his French guest that Nigeria was surrounded by predominantly French-speaking countries and noted that France’s assistance will be essential in the fight against terrorism by coordinating with Nigeria’s neighbours.
According to President Macron, the focus of his trip was ”to broaden the partnership between France and Nigeria on cultural, economic and sports subjects” which he insists will issue different ”perspectives and opportunities to youth” so they could stay away from joining jihadist movements
”We must show the vitality of the African cultural sector, of which Nigeria is a showcase” he added.
After their joint presser, Macron flew to Lagos, the continent’s economic and the cultural capital of West Africa, where he was scheduled to attend an event at the New Afrika Shrine. A concert hall founded by the Afrobeat legend, Fela Kuti, where a series of concert, fashion, and theatre shows were to be held.
BaretaNews Foreign Correspondent/Analyst