by Deji Abiodun
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan said Friday in Abuja that he was very confident that Nigerian troops will maintain the momentum they have built up in ongoing operations against Boko Haram and rapidly recover more occupied territory from the terrorist group.
Speaking at an audience with the outgoing French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Jacques Champagne De Labriolle, President Jonathan said that the officers and men of the Nigerian Army he met on the frontlines in Borno and Adamawa states yesterday were in very high spirits, well prepared and determined to successfully complete their operations against Boko Haram.
“We have already recovered much territory and very soon our troops will clear the terrorists out of other areas not presently under our control,’’ the President assured the French Ambassador.
Welcoming a congratulatory message from President Francois Hollande to Nigeria for recent successes of its armed forces against Boko Haram, President Jonathan restated Nigeria’s appreciation of France’s unwavering support for Nigeria and its neighbours in the fight against terrorism.
In a statement issued by Reuben Abati, President Jonathan particularly commended his French counterpart for organising the Paris Summit of Heads of State of Nigeria, Benin Republic, Cameroon, Niger and Chad in May 2014 to foster greater regional cooperation against terrorism and insurgency.
The President pledged that beyond the ongoing military campaign in the North East, Nigeria will continue to implement all agreements reached at the summit to ensure lasting peace and security within its borders and in neighbouring countries.
President Jonathan also seized the opportunity of the audience with Mr. Labriolle to reassure the international community of his firm commitment to free, fair and credible polls in Nigeria next month.
The President wished the outgoing ambassador well in his future endeavours and urged him to always be a “good ambassador of Nigeria’’.
In his remarks, Ambassador Labriolle said that France was “confident in the future of Nigeria and its ability to continue playing a huge role in Africa and world affairs”.
The ambassador also expressed delight at improved trade and economic ties between Nigeria and France in the last three years, noting that over 250 French companies are currently operating in Nigeria.