Nigeria and France have agreed to continue to deepen the buoyant diplomatic, economic and military relationships between the two countries.
This was the highlight of the bilateral meeting between Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and French Prime Minister, Mr Bernard Cazeneuve, in Paris, France.
The meeting held on the sideline of the just concluded global forum on Anti-Corruption and Integrity hosted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Both the Federal Government and the French Republic are exploring new ways to confront and defeat the ideologies fuelling terrorism.
Osinbajo told to the French leader that the Buhari administration had made tremendous progress in degrading Boko Haram and suppressing the insurgency, stressing that need to break the ideological underpinnings of terror group.
“One thing left for us to deal with is deradicalization, defeating the ‘ideology’ behind the mindless killing and violence.
The Vice President stated that the Federal Government would be happy to work with France and others among its diplomatic partners to ensure peace who might also have to deal with such problems as the challenge of deradicalization.
Osinbajo conveyed the warm greetings of President Muhammadu Buhari to the French President Francois Hollande.
He said Buhari noted the commitment and support of the French President to Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram.
“We are thankful for the work you are doing with Nigeria.
“Generally, the stemming of the spread of terrorism in the Sahel is much due to French’s role, and we thankful for that contribution,” Osinbajo said.
The Vice-President appreciated the French government for its hospitality to him and members of his delegation in France.
He, however, commiserated with the government and people of France on the French school children injured in the recent Westminster terror attack in London.
In his remarks, Prime Minister Cazeneuve recalled recent terror attacks in France, saying “we know the consequences of terror attacks on populations.
“We are aware of the problem and we know it cannot be solved by countries working alone.”
He also noted that the French government had a process of deradicalisation involving teams working with families stressing that “it’s a very difficult job.”
The French government, he said, would focus on how to enhance and deepen relationship with Nigeria, including on issues of “counter terrorism and sharing information when it comes to deradicalisation.”
The Prime Minister congratulated the Nigerian President and military over the degrading of Boko Haram and asked the Vice President to convey to Buhari “our message of admiration for his efforts to modernise your country.”
He also commended Osinbajo for his support for President Buhari, especially by holding the forth as acting President while Buhari was away.
“You played a significant role for your country while holding forth for your country.”