Dr Frank Seinmeier, who is the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, has urged Nigerian Government to increase its efforts on ending Boko Haram insurgency before the 2015 elections.
This information was obtained when Seinmeier and French Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Laurent Fabius led a European Union (EU) delegation to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, in Abuja yesterday.
He said: “You know that the elections you are preparing for are taking place under difficult conditions, fighting two enemies at a time. First of all, it was even last week we were commenting on your effort and success fighting Ebola.
“The second enemy we were talking about this morning during breakfast meeting with different religious organisations is against the Boko Haram and its terrorist groups.
“Therefore, we know that the fight against Boko Haram is not yet enough successful as over 200 girls are still kidnapped and not yet released,’’ he said.
Fabius urged INEC to defend Nigeria’s and Africa’s image by conducting credible elections in 2015.
He said the delegation visited the commission because of INEC’s responsibility to conduct credible elections by 2015.
“We congratulate your institution for the way you handled general elections in 2011 and more recently the current elections.
“Now that new elections are coming next year, the challenge is tremendous. You have great responsibility towards Nigeria. The image of Nigeria is at stake and the image of Africa as well.
“We have no doubt that this election will be free, fair and transparent. European Union (EU) will contribute to it, financially and will also dispatch EU observation mission, ’’ Fabius said.
Jega said the commission was taking its responsibilities to contribute towards deepening the democracy of Nigeria with all seriousness that it deserved and promised to deliver credible elections in 2015.
“Obviously that does not underestimate the challenges. There are enormous challenges; it is going to be difficult but we believe it will not be impossible.
“The kind of support, encouragement and assistance that we have received from all stakeholders domestic and international partners have not only inspired us but reinforced our commitment to ensure that we deliver free fair credible elections,’’ he said.
The chairman hailed EU’s support to the commission, saying the visit underscored the kind of importance EU attached to the democracy of Nigeria.