President Bola Tinubu has called for strengthening cooperation between Nigeria and France in order to address the prevailing threat of terrorism.
He also commended the outgoing French Ambassador to Nigeria, Emmanuelle Blatmann, for her dedication to enhancing relations between the two countries.
In a farewell meeting with the French Ambassador on Friday in Abuja, the president urged Ambassador Blatmann to leverage her new role as Director for Africa in the French Foreign Ministry to advocate the urgent need to ”upgrade technical cooperation” between Nigeria and France to defeat terrorism and violent extremism.
He said: ”You have been excellent in promoting bilateral relations between both countries in the areas of economy, trade, education, arts, and culture.
“Thank you for the hard work you have done in Nigeria and for President Macron to appoint you to a new position as Africa Director. It is a testament that you excelled in your assignment in our country.
”You will always be welcomed in Nigeria.
“On regional security, we want you to remind Paris at every opportunity that it is necessary to upgrade our technical cooperation in our joint efforts to defeat terrorism and counter violent extremism in the region.”
Reflecting on her tour of duty in Nigeria, Ambassador Blatmann shared notable achievements, highlighting France’s significant investments and remarkable increase in bilateral trade.
According to her, France is among the top foreign investors in Nigeria, with over $10 billion in investment stock, and with bilateral trade increasing by 51 percent in 2021 and 2022.
She said: ”We are also one of the biggest development partners with over 3 billion Euros invested over the last decade by AFD and PROPARCO. AFD now operates in 26 of Nigeria’s 36 states.
”Ever since I arrived here in October 2021, it has been a series of wonderful discoveries and amazing encounters.
“I will definitely take away with me the energy and creativity of this country that will forever guide me and fuel my afro-optimism.”
Recognising Nigeria’s pivotal role in regional security and stability, the outgoing ambassador emphasised the close collaboration between France, Nigeria, and other key partners in fostering sustainable international peace, security, and development.