Boko Haram/ISWAP: Group cautions French envoy against statements capable of undermining Nigeria’s efforts

A group, the National Democratic Front (NDF), on Sunday cautioned the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Jerome Pasquier, to stop making utterances capable of undermining Nigeria’s progress against terrorism, saying the country shall not condone acts from other countries, which seemed to undermine her sovereignty as a nation.

NDF gave this warning in a statement made available to newsmen in reaction to the French envoy’s recent comments that Nigeria was not doing enough in the war against insurgency.

The group noted that “there is no reason why France will make Nigeria her enemy and keep using her former colonies to make Nigeria uncomfortable by heightening lyrics of insecurity.”

NDF Secretary-General, Dr. Abdulkadir Bolaji, in a signed statement, further warned that France should not overstretch its liberty by consciously inciting Nigerians against the Federal Government, describing Pasquier’s claims as an assault on the sensibilities of Nigerians, especially knowing the role played by European nation in the crisis in the Northeast through arming and funding of terrorists.

“The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Jerome Pasquier, freely assaulted the sensibilities of Nigerians by a public statement at a workshop in Abuja to the effect that the efforts of the Nigerian Government in addressing insecurity particularly in the Northeast are not enough.

”Nigeria is aware of the behind the scenes schemes France has playing in the Northeast. Nigeria knows of France’s vested interest in the crude oil reserves in the Lake Chad Basin. It is suspected of using some dubious elements in Niger and other neighbouring countries to deprive Nigeria of this natural resource.

”Nigeria’s quietness in the face of this glaring injustice does not mean the French envoy should carelessly confront and assault the sensibilities of Nigerians. Any attempt to puncture the patience of Nigerians as France is has staged out will be resisted.

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”That Mr. Pasquier had the courage and effrontery to tell Nigerians at a workshop in Abuja that the Nigerian Government under President Muhammadu Buhari, the authorities and stakeholders should ‘step up actions and devise new approaches’ is the height of heartlessness. It smacks of mockery and abuse of diplomatic privilege.

“France should rather ask itself how much it has contributed to ending Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria, hence its former colonies directly bear the brunt of any crisis in Nigeria. France has none. It has never issued a public statement condemning the atrocities of Boko Haram in Nigeria probably because it is excited by the blood they shed,” NDF Secretary-General said.

The group called on the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU),  the African Union (AU) and the global community to investigate the festering Boko Haram terrorism on the fringes of Nigeria’s Borno state and the Republic of Niger, saying: ”France cannot be this nice by offering an advice, while it does nothing to help the country dismantle the barriers of Boko Haram from Nigeria to Niger.”

”Nigeria can accept any trash from foreign countries. But it should not transmute into a mocking of the sanctity of Nigeria’s statehood as done by the French ambassador.

”In Nigeria, France is widely accused of arming and funding terrorists through their Niger connections.  The same country cannot pretend and openly pour mud into the faces of Nigerian people with such careless and extremely very reckless statements.

”It punctures the ethics of diplomacy that France should seek to provoke and incite Nigerians against the Federal Government over an issue its role is still suspect. Seeking to rubbish the efforts of the Nigerian state in curbing terrorism is the least thing France should have ever contemplated. This is condemnable and unacceptable,” the group declared.

The group, therefore, demanded that the French Ambassador to Nigeria should immediately withdraw the statements and apologize to the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Nigerian people for deriding their dilemma in the hands of terrorists.

This was just as it pleaded with Nigerians to remain calm in spite of the deliberate incitement by France, assuring that Nigeria shall always remain a peaceful country and would soon overcome her security challenges no matter the magnitude of conspiracies against her from countries like France.

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