Nigeria Still Safe For Investors Despite Attacks – Jonathan

AFP – President Goodluck Jonathan said on a visit to Germany Thursday that Western investors had nothing to fear in his country despite warnings of fresh attacks by Islamist group Boko Haram.

Jonathan told reporters after talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel that his country was “on top of” the threat posed by Boko Haram and that foreign companies should not be swayed by alarmist reports.

“Presently we have a local terrorist group codenamed Boko Haram. From some of the recent activities of this terrorist group it paints a very gloomy picture as if the whole country is in tatters,” he said.

“What I can assure the global community and especially investors from Germany is that (the) government is working very hard and that we’ll bring this under control. Rest assured that the government is on top of it and Nigeria is still safe for investment.”

However Jonathan said oil-rich Nigeria needed assistance from foreign allies in developing “security infrastructure” to defuse the threat posed by militant groups.

He insisted the country had made great strides in good governance and conditions for foreign investment and pointed to the rapid growth in trade with Germany.

Germany imported 2.0 billion euros ($2.6 billion) worth of goods and services from Nigeria in 2010, according to the most recent official figures, and exported 1.1 billion euros to Nigeria.

Jonathan and Merkel formally inaugurated a bilateral commission to boost investment in Nigeria and exports to Germany and the chancellor said Berlin was ready to offer assistance to fight the extremist threat.

“We agreed that the danger posed by Boko Haram must be averted,” Merkel said.

“This is relevant for the people in Nigeria as well as for Nigeria’s reputation abroad…And we will be helpful in whatever areas we can, whether in training or logistics.”

The US embassy in Nigeria warned Wednesday that Boko Haram may be planning attacks against hotels or other areas in Abuja, but the government sought to play down the concerns.

Boko Haram has carried out scores of attacks, mainly in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north, that have killed more than 1,000 people since mid-2009 and authorities have appeared unable to stop the deadly campaign.

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