The emergence of the Boko Haram terrorist group played important role in strengthening ties between Nigeria and France, the European nation’s ambassador in Abuja, Denys Gauer, has said.
Speaking in Sokoto when he paid a courtesy visit to Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Gauer said that the relationship between the two countries had improved greatly in the last couple of years due to the insurgent activities of the Boko Haram sect.
The French envoy said, “We were good friends in the past, but the outbreak of the Boko Haram conflict has brought our two country countries closer. We understood the need to present a united front in order to enhance regional stability and improve global peace.
“It may interest you to note that Nigeria is our biggest trading partner in Africa. Your country is important in global politics and we are encouraging our companies to come here and invest.
“We have visible presence in the South of Nigeria and Abuja, but very minimal visibility in the North. So I’m here in Sokoto, a very historical city and state, to listen to you and explore how best we can work together for the progress of our peoples.”
In his remarks, Governor Tambuwal commended the efforts of the French government in bringing together Nigeria’s neighbours to establish the multinational joint task force, a move that ensured a coordinated onslaught against the Boko Haram terrorist group.
He urged the ambassador to expand French investments to Sokoto, saying the state had abundant opportunity in agriculture and mining.
“We are willing and ready to work closely with your investors to develop our agricultural and mining sectors. We intend to make use of French technology in the preservation of onions. We also believe that we have enough tomato, wheat and sesame for the French market.
“Sokoto is calm and peaceful, we have very accommodating populace and I want to assure you that should you decide to invest here, the returns in your investment will be positive,” the governor said.