Bloomberg News

Nigeria to Battle Infiltration by ‘Violent’ Foreign Groups

October 01, 2011

(Updates with president’s comments in fourth paragraph.)

Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Nigeria will tighten security to fight a combination of internal threats and “infiltration by violent groups from outside our borders,” President Goodluck Jonathan said in his independence day speech.

“I have put in place a new and reinvigorated national security strategy to combat the threat to our safety,” he said today, according to a copy of his speech e-mailed from Abuja, the capital. “The current incidents of violence and terror, in parts of the country, will surely be overcome.”

Authorities in Africa’s top oil producer blame a militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram, which draws inspiration from Afghanistan’s Taliban movement, for a surge in bombings and attacks in the mainly Muslim north and Abuja since last year. The group claimed responsibility for the Aug. 26 suicide car- bombing of the United Nations building in Abuja that killed 23 people.

Boko Haram is trained, funded and equipped by foreign interests, the Nation newspaper reported on Sept. 29, citing Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, the chief of army staff. Border patrols and security checks have been tightened before the independence celebrations, police and immigration officials said the same day.

“Securing our peace and stability will ensure economic growth and prosperity for all,” Jonathan said.

Nigeria’s economy, the second-biggest in sub-Saharan Africa, following South Africa, is growing at 7.8 percent, he said. Africa’s most populous country, with more than 150 million people, aims to sustain a growth rate of 8 percent in the “medium term,” Jonathan said.

All four state-owned refineries, with a combined capacity of 445,000 barrels of oil a day, are being upgraded and three new ones are being built, he said, without giving details. Nigerian scientists have developed eight high-yielding varieties of cocoa that will boost production in the world’s fourth- biggest producer, he said.

“We shall strive to make this growth, job creating and inclusive,” Jonathan said.

--Editors: Torrey Clark, Steve Bailey

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisha Bala-Gbogbo in Abuja at ebalagbogbo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dulue Mbachu at dmbachu@bloomberg.net


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