The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Denys Gauer said that Nigeria must work hard to improve its international image to gain recognition and acceptance from the outside world, noting that the fight against corruption and the issue of insecurity must be paramount. Mr. Gauer made the assertion during a courtesy call on the Catholic Archbishop of Jos and President Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, in his residence on Friday, October 30, 2015. He expressed optimism that Nigeria would be great if its leaders would genuinely carryout their respective roles and ensure that everyone is carried along irrespective of tribe, ethnic affiliation or religion.

The ambassador maintained that no meaningful development would take place in an atmosphere of insecurity, hence the need for the government to work hard to eliminate the Boko Haram insurgency by making sure that youths were gainfully engaged and that leaders, on their part, be sincere while discharging their responsibilities. He commended the peace initiative and efforts of Archbishop Kaigama and encouraged him to continue to do more. He said the two religions must work hard towards peaceful co-existence despite their differences in faith and beliefs. He assured the Nigerian government of his country’s support especially in the area of fighting the Boko Haram insurgency, and called for more collaboration in the area of economic development and infrastructure.

Earlier in his remarks, Archbishop Kaigama informed the ambassador on the Church’s involvement in peace building and mutual trust among citizens. He said apart from the problem of Boko Haram, the country is also faced with the challenge of pastoralists and farmers’ clash. He maintained that “as a Church, we have traded the path of peace, and Dialogue remains the best solution” he stated. Kaigama noted that for the culprits to be apprehended, government must be more pragmatic in addressing the root causes of the issues, to identify and tackle without sentiments and all those found guilty be brought to face the weight of the law, regardless of their political or religious status. He stated that Jos, in particular, would come to life and its past glory regained if the killings were controlled. The Prelate also reiterated the need for youths to be gainfully employed and engaged, saying that would drastically reduce the issue of insecurity being faced in the country. He said he would continue to work with other interest groups in order to bring about permanent peace on the Plateau through genuine dialogue and reconciliation meetings. As a gesture of appreciation for the visit and to guarantee that his message of peace enjoyed a wider coverage, the Archbishop handed one of his publications titled “Peace not War: A decade of Interventions in the Plateau State Crises (2001 – 2011)” to the French Ambassador. This book is a compendium of his relentless effort and interventions, through conferences and speeches and round table discussions with various stakeholders within and outside the country, in the quest for lasting peace through sincere dialogue.

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