• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Buhari seeks EU support on oil theft, corruption, recovery of illicit funds

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President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday in Strasbourg, France, sought the support of the European Union to curb issues of oil theft, corruption in its oil and gas sector as well as for the repatriation of illicit funds.

Addressing a special session of the parliament, the President said supporting efforts targeted at stemming these vices would re-open full economic doors for the EU and the rest of the world.

“Nigeria is facing the challenges of oil-theft and illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta as well as recovery of illicit funds. In this regard, Nigeria solicits the cooperation of the European Parliament to support the efforts aimed at stemming these vices.

“Our attempt to restore security, curb corruption and fight crime will result not only in improving social stability in Nigeria but will re-open the doors for full economic relations with Europe and the rest of the world.

“Those who wish to invest in our country have immense opportunities and we intend to guarantee the security of people and investments brought to Nigeria,” President Buhari said.

President Buhari has since taking the reins of government, proceeded on a mission around the world to enter into new agreements with different countries that will see investments come into Nigeria. His main goal has also been to recover looted funds stashed in those countries, fund the President said would be used to fund the N2.2trillion deficit in Nigeria’s N6.077trillion 2016 budget.

Addressing the parliament session, the President also assured the European Union that his administration was doing its best to protect the fundamental human rights of persons in the theatre of operations against Boko Haram.

According to a statement issued by the Presidential Spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President Buhari told the parliament that his government shared the European Union’s commitment to peace and security, respect for human rights, democracy and good governance, equality and tolerance, as ways of developing prosperous and strong societies.

“For our part, we have updated our rules of engagement in fighting terrorism and pay very close attention during operations to the treatment of captured terrorists, civilians caught up in the conflict and in general, safeguarding property.

“Our aim is to use minimum force necessary in our fight against terrorists,” President Buhari assured members of the parliament and the European Union Commission.

The President also spoke of Nigeria’s concerns about the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union, African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), collectively endorsed by the Economic Community of West African States.

He said that Nigeria was yet to sign the agreement because pertinent technical issues raised by the Federal Government have not been satisfactorily addressed.

“Giving due consideration to the mismatch of the two regions (Europe-ECOWAS) in terms of technology and manufacturing experience, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and Associated Trade Unions raised concerns over the negative impact of the agreement on Nigeria’s industrialisation programme.

“Nigeria is working towards addressing her own side of the issues and I, therefore urge our European Union partners to also address our own concerns to allow for an Economic Partnership Agreement that is mutually beneficial and can contribute to the prosperity of our people, in the context of our shared values and interest at promoting cordial bilateral trade relations,” President Buhari said.

He assured the parliament that Nigeria will collaborate with the European Union to address illegal migration to Europe. Nigeria, he said welcomes the outcome of the Valletta EU-Africa Summit on Migration, including the launching of 1.8 billion Euros Emergency Trust Fund to address the root causes of migration from Africa to Europe.

“The Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM), which Nigeria was the first African country to sign on 12th March 2015, is a demonstration of the positive spirit of our cooperation with the European Union in the field of migration and development” he said also proposing the reciprocal visa waivers for holders of Nigerian Diplomatic and Official Passports attending official Meetings and Conferences in Europe.