Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has called for German technological assistance to address the Boko Haram problem confronting his country.
Speaking at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, the Nigerian leader stressed that with the support of the international community, Nigeria can overcome the insurgency of the sect that has claimed responsibility for series of attacks and killings across the North.
President Jonathan, who was on a three-day working visit to Germany at the invitation of the German Chancellor observed that “the modus operandi of the group ws alient to Nigeria.
“We are building up our security infrastructure. I can say we are on top of this problem,” president Jonathan said after talks with Chancellor Merkel that focused on trade, energy and security issues.
Asked what kind of assistance Germany could provide, he said: “In areas of training manpower and modern equipment. You need superior technology to fight terrorists and we think Germany and others can help us in such areas.
“As a nation, we have security challenges because most investors talk about security. At present, we have the local terrorist group, code-named Boko Haram. From publications on this terrorist group, it paints a very gloomy picture as if the whole country is in tatters. These terrorists operate in some states in the North-eastern part of the country but go into other states from time to time.
“But what I can assure the global community, especially our investors from Germany, is that the government is working very hard to bring it under control.”
He said: “The area we expect our development partners especially countries like Germany to help is in terms of our security architecture, training and providing us with some modern equipment. You have to fight terrorists with technology because terrorists do not need to come with a rifle and you confront them one on one. They will surprise you; they will not come to engage you except to defend themselves occasionally.
“So, you must have superior technology to monitor them and know how to relate with them. And these are the areas we believe that countries like Germany and others and even the United Nations can assist us.”
The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel stressed her country’s resolve to work with the Nigerian government to bring the situation of Boko Haram under control, saying that Germany was in agreement with Nigeria on the dangers posed by members of the group to Nigeria and its reputation outside the country.
She added that the bilateral commission between Germany and Nigeria should be able to discuss the issue with the aim of coming up with greater details of the areas where Nigeria may need help.
She said: “I think what is most important is the resolve of the Nigerian government to deal with such a group and to remain on top of the situation and protect the peace loving people of Nigeria who suffer most from such attacks,” adding that Germany agreed with Nigeria on the dangers posed by members of the sect and the threat to Nigeria’s reputation.
Chancellor Merkel said the newly established bilateral commission between Germany and Nigeria would discuss the issue and come up with details on the areas where Nigeria may need help.
“But I think what is most important is the resolve of the Nigerian government to deal with such a group and to remain on top of the situation and protect the peace-loving people of Nigeria who suffer most from such attacks. Wherever we can be helpful, be it in training, be it in logistics, we will certainly be glad to do that, and the details can then be worked out by the bi-national commission,” she said.
President Jonathan was also received by German President Joachim Gauck at Castle Bellevue in Berlin, making him the first African leader to meet President Gauck since his election in March.
Addressing representatives of German investors at a breakfast meeting, President Jonathan, allayed their fears of investing in his country adding that his administration was packaging measures that would guarantee good returns for their investments.
The President assured them that Nigeria was an investors’ delight because of its favourable investment climate.
President Jonathan said: “For those yet to take advantage of opportunities available in my country, I challenge you to take the plunge today and you would be glad you did. As they say, the taste of the pudding is in the eating.”
The Nigerian leader was accompanied on the visit by his wife Patience Jonathan, the governors of Adamawa and Anambra states as well as the Ministers of power, water resources, environment, trade and investment, foreign affairs and interior.
Mellisa Sheridan, ANA Diplomatic Editor &
Musah Ibrahim Musah