A coalition of stakeholders committed to restoring peace in the north east under the aegis of Concerned Statesmen and Patriots In Nigeria (COSPIN) have expressed concern over what they described as the role of France in the activities of Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, convener of the coalition,
Professor Emmanuel Ome said the concern is neccessitated by the silence of French authority despite the arrest of its nationals during the raid on ground zero in Sambisa forest by the Nigerian Army.
He said France also owes Nigeria and the world an explanation regarding the sighting of its aircrafts just across Nigeria’s borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger on numerous occasions by IDPs and victims of Boko Haram attacks.
According to Ome, the Nigerian government must conduct further investigations into the roles being played by France and other countries in its internal affairs using Boko Haram as an occupation force with a view to fashioning corresponding diplomatic responses to these threats.
He expressed surprise that despite the huge presence of French troops in neighbouring countries, Boko Haram terrorists have been receiving training as well as freely moving weapons across the borders of those countries which he said are mainly Francophone countries.
He said, "The fact that Boko Haram fighters that are fleeing suddenly have access to superior firearms that are even more sophisticated than what they had before they were chased out of Sambisa Forest. Who is supplying these weapons? How are these weapons being shipped? Why are the neighbouring countries to Nigeria’s north-east, all Francophone, not been able to flag deliveries of weapons to the terrorists?
"Why has France not come out to declare its position on the several fighters of French origin that were apprehended with Boko Haram fighters in Sambisa Forest? The fact that these terrorists’ instructors were declared as French nationals should have provoked diplomatic fallout but France maintained a deafening silence in the matter.
"French President François Hollande has hosted, or caused to be hosted, several summits on Boko Haram only for things to get worse. He would have to prove that these conferences are not the cover he uses to make our security and intelligence community to share sensitive operational information which he in turn hand over to the monsters that he bred.
"The worrisome pattern that Boko Haram always kidnap expats of French origin each time it is broke and the government of their countries is always in a hurry to pay ransom in millions of dollars. This is nothing short of creating a legitimate front to pass money to Boko Haram in the public glare. Each time Boko Haram seals such transactions it is able to pay its fighters and buy new equipment."
Ome urged the United Nations to intervene and stop what he described as undue interference and sabotaging of Nigeria whether by France or by any other foreign interest.
According to him, the damage done by the insurgency has unleashed unthinkable humanitarian crisis that is already a blot on the collective human conscience and the situation must not be made worse by this policy of foreign interference.
He said further, "we are appealing to our brothers and sisters in ECOWAS and AU to begin making modifications to their economy should the need arise to boycott French goods on account of the destabilization plot in Africa."