President Jonathan and Mr. Mark Simmonds at the Presidential Villa in Abuja today
President Goodluck Jonathan said today he is looking forward to this weekend’s summit on the Boko Haram insurgency which is being hosted by France.
Welcoming to the Presidential Villa the British Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr. Mark Simmonds, Mr. Jonathan reiterated Nigeria’s appreciation of the support being given by Britain and other countries in the efforts to locate and rescue the schoolgirls abducted by the militants in Chibok.
According to a government press statement, Mr. Jonathan told Mr. Simmonds his government will also welcome international support for Nigeria’s plans for the socio-economic rehabilitation of the North-Eastern States after the Boko Haram insurgency has been substantially curtailed.
The Boko Haram summit was first mooted by the French President François Hollande last Sunday.
“With Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, I have proposed to hold a meeting with the countries bordering Nigeria,” Mr. Hollande said during a visit Baku, Azerbaijan.
His aides told the press that the leaders of Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger might attend the summit, and also that Britain, the European Union and the United States were likely to be represented. The discussion will focus on how Nigeria and relevant countries can strengthen and intensify collaboration against Boko Haram and other criminal organizations.
Mr. Jonathan told Mr. Simmonds: “If we all collaborate more, it will easier to eradicate Boko Haram and terrorism.”
Mr. Simmonds reassured President Jonathan of Britain’s commitment to giving Nigeria the assistance required to find and safely rescue the abducted girls.
“We are keen to support Nigeria in every possible way and help you overcome present challenges,” he declared.
The press statement said Mr. Jonathan also on Wednesday received solidarity calls from the Prime Minister of Algeria, Abdelmallek Sallel and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, and later received the United Nations’ Secretary-General’s Representative in West Africa, Ambassador Saidi Jinit.
Mr. Jonathan told Ambassador Jinit that the Federal Government will welcome help from the United Nations for the coordination of a planned victims support programme and a Victims Support Fund.
One month today following the abduction of the girls, it is unclear how much progress is being made in the search for them. The Nigerian government does not offer any briefings to the public or to the parents of the girls. SOURCE