The Nigerian government has sought the support of its French counterpart to clamp down on international criminal networks operating in Africa and Europe.

This was disclosed by President Muhammadu Buhari via a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

According to the statement, President Buhari, during a working lunch with President Emmanuel Macron of France, said he is committed to working with France to clamp down on international criminal networks.

What the President is saying about France’s support

Buhari said international criminals are exploiting vulnerable people in both continents in the “most dehumanising ways”.

He stated, “On security, we commend France for its strong commitment to peace and security in the Sahel and the Lake Chad region. This has contributed significantly to the fight against terrorism and extremism in the region.

“Irregular migration and human trafficking are issues of concern to both Nigeria and France. Transnational criminal networks operating in Africa and Europe are exploiting the vulnerable in the most dehumanising ways. We are committed to working with the relevant French authorities to dismantle these networks.

“Nigeria and France have a wide scope to expand and deepen their relations. This effort would be aided by closer engagement at the ministerial level.”

He went ahead to appreciate Macron’s administration for its business ties and cooperation with Nigeria which he said has brought about meaningful development in the country.

According to him, Nigeria is determined to take steps to further strengthen bilateral relations with France and to work even more closely with its government.

“On the business front, we welcome the personal efforts of President Macron to strengthen ties between Nigerian and French corporations. It was during your visit to Lagos in 2018 that the French Nigeria Investment Club was established.

“You were also instrumental to the establishment of the France-Nigeria Business Council more recently in June 2021. These efforts have brought together some of the largest corporations in Nigeria and France and the stage is set for expanded engagement by entrepreneurs in both countries.

“France is a major development partner for Nigeria and we truly appreciate this. The contributions of the Agence France de Development (AFD) to development projects across Nigeria have been well documented. These projects are making a significant difference in communities across Nigeria,” Buhari said.

President Macron responds

The French president said there was a growing need for stronger partnership on security in the West Coast, taking into consideration threats in the Sahel.

He requested a more enabling environment for businesses to thrive, including smaller companies in France that want to extend their markets into Nigeria.