9th August, 2011
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has said Nigeria would take definite steps to strengthen security cooperation with all her neighbours, in order to check trans-border crime and terrorism and ensure the security of people.
President Jonathan was speaking to President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic at the opening of bilateral talks between delegations of the two nations at State House, Tuesday.
He said, â€œterrorism and trans-border crime pose a serious security threat to all our countries, so we will strengthen border patrols and other areas of cooperation with our neighbours, to ensure the safety of our citizensâ€.
Talking on food security for the two countries, the President told President Issoufou that Nigeria had plenty of gas and was going to establish plants to produce fertiliser suitable for the different types of soil in the country, and invited Niger to liaise with relevant officials to ensure that appropriate fertiliser was produced for their country.
President Jonathan, who is the current ECOWAS Chairman, assured the Nigerien President that his country would be re-admitted to full membership and participation in the sub-regional bodyâ€™s activities during the next summit, since complete democracy had been restored in Niger.
He, however, expressed concern at reports of an attempted coup in Niger, and said the sub-region would not recognise such intervention in Niger or anywhere else in West Africa.
Other areas of cooperation discussed included power, water supply, agriculture, rail transport and the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission.
In his remarks, President Mahamadou Issoufou told President Jonathan that his country was concerned about the proliferation of small arms which threaten security in the sub-region, and wanted the agreements signed under the auspices of the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission, which include electricity, water supply for agriculture, information, desert encroachment and joint border patrol, to be implemented.
He said Niger would begin exporting crude oil by the end of the year, while the northern states of Nigeria could begin getting their supply of petroleum products from a refinery under construction in Zinder, Niger Republic.
President Issoufou expressed appreciation to President Jonathan for his personal support and Nigeriaâ€™s assistance towards his countryâ€™s return to democratic governance.