Buhari seeks EU Support to fight Corruption, Oil theft

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday sought greater support from the European Union for Nigeria’s efforts to curb the theft of its crude oil and corruption in its oil and gas sector.

Buhari made the call while addressing a special session of the parliament in Strasbourg, France.

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President asked the union to also assist his government in its efforts aimed at recovering looted funds.

“Nigeria is facing the challenges of oil-theft and illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta as well as recovery of illicit funds.   In this regard, Nigeria solicits the cooperation of the European Parliament to support the efforts aimed at stemming these vices.

“Our attempt to restore security, curb corruption and fight crime will result not only in improving social stability in Nigeria but will re-open the doors for full economic relations with Europe and the rest of the world.

“Those who wish to invest in our country have immense opportunities and we intend to guarantee the security of people and investments brought to Nigeria,”  Buhari was reported to have said.

The President also assured the union that his administration was doing its best to protect the fundamental human rights of persons in the theatre of operations against Boko Haram.

He said his government shared the union’s commitment to peace and security, respect for human rights, democracy and good governance, equality and tolerance, as ways of developing prosperous and strong societies.

Buhari said, “For our part, we have updated our rules of engagement in fighting terrorism and pay very close attention during operations to the treatment of captured terrorists, civilians caught up in the conflict and in general, safeguarding property.

“Our aim is to use minimum force necessary in our fight against terrorists,” President Buhari assured members of the parliament and the European Union Commission.

The President also spoke of Nigeria’s concerns about the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU, African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, collectively endorsed by the Economic Community of West African States.

He said Nigeria was yet to sign the agreement because pertinent technical issues raised by the Federal Government have not been satisfactorily addressed.

“Giving due consideration to the mismatch of the two regions (Europe-ECOWAS) in terms of technology and manufacturing experience, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and Associated Trade Unions raised concerns over the negative impact of the agreement on Nigeria’s industrialisation programme.

“Nigeria is working towards addressing her own side of the issues and I therefore urge our European Union partners to also address our own concerns to allow for an Economic Partnership Agreement that is mutually beneficial and can contribute to the prosperity of our people, in the context of our shared values and interest at promoting cordial bilateral trade relations,” Buhari said.

He also assured the parliament that Nigeria will collaborate with the EU to address illegal migration to Europe.

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