Home » Nigeria, France Strengthen Defense Ties Against Extremism

Nigeria, France Strengthen Defense Ties Against Extremism

The two countries pledge to cooperate more on intelligence sharing and technology transfer in the fight against regional insecurity

by Victor Adetimilehin

Nigeria and France have reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening their defense and security cooperation, especially in the face of rising extremism and terror threats in the region.

The Minister of Defence, Mohammed Abubakar, said Nigeria was ready to build on the existing relationship with France, noting that the training and technology transfer between the two countries would further enhance their bilateral ties.

Abubakar made the remarks when he received the outgoing Ambassador of France to Nigeria, Emmanuelle Blatmann, and her delegation in Abuja on Wednesday.

He appreciated the outgoing ambassador for the cordial relationship with Nigeria and described both countries as strategic partners. He also promised to take the cooperation to higher levels of operations.


A Need for Intelligence Sharing

Blatmann, who has been appointed the Head of African and Indian Ocean at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in France, said there was a need to develop cooperation in intelligence sharing between the two countries in the fight against extremism, terror movement, and regional insecurity.

She commended the Nigerian government for its warm gesture, love, and trust towards her and said France would cooperate more with Nigeria to deepen its defense relationship.

Blatmann also highlighted some of the areas of collaboration between the two countries, such as the joint military exercises, the training of Nigerian troops by French instructors, and the provision of equipment and logistics support.

She said France was proud to be Nigeria’s partner in the quest for peace and stability in Africa.


A Long Standing Partnership

Nigeria and France have a longstanding partnership in the defence and security sector, dating back to the 1960s when France supported Nigeria during the civil war.

The two countries have also worked together to combat piracy, illegal fishing, and oil theft in the Gulf of Guinea, as well as to counter the activities of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel region.

In 2018, Nigeria and France signed a defence cooperation agreement that covers joint military training, intelligence sharing, and capacity building.

The agreement also provides for the establishment of a Franco-Nigerian Defence Committee to oversee the implementation of the cooperation.

The renewed defense cooperation between Nigeria and France comes at a time when both countries are facing security challenges posed by violent extremism, insurgency, and banditry.

Nigeria has been grappling with the insurgency of Boko Haram and its splinter faction, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), for over a decade, resulting in thousands of deaths and millions of displaced persons.

France, on the other hand, has been involved in the military intervention in Mali and other Sahel countries since 2013, to help the local forces fight against the Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Both countries have expressed their determination to work together to restore peace and security in the region and to prevent the spread of terrorism and radicalization.

They have also pledged to support the efforts of the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to promote regional integration and cooperation.

By strengthening their defense ties, Nigeria and France hope to foster a safer and more prosperous future for themselves and their neighbors.


Source: Punch 

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