RIGHT OF REPLY: Niger and Nigeria: Two Countries, One People, By Zakaria Abdourahaman

With regard to the allegations mentioned in the article, it is safe to say that the writer lacks knowledge and information on what he has narrated. Going through all the falsehoods he has written, one can simply come to the conclusion that he deliberately wants to confuse the readers because of some vested interests he has tried to clumsily defend.

 

 

In the article titled “Xenophobia: Niger Too Is Guilty”, dated September 20, and written by Suleiman Uba Gaya, the author has deliberately and falsely accused our country of a practice which is not reasonable, in the mind of anyone who thinks, knows about Niger, lives in the country, or is simply passing through it.

Before going into the substantive comments in the said article, I would like to begin by reminding the author that xenophobia is a state of hostility to whoever is a foreigner and this highly contradicts the habits and customs of the Nigeriens, more specifically towards Nigerians, who can hardly be distinguished from the local citizens.

It is also important to let the writer know that xenophobic attitudes are considered in Niger as a violation of human rights and, as such, like racism and discriminatory attitudes, are comdemned by the law of the country. In this regard, the authorities make sure that this law is respected and enforced on a daily basis.

Moreover, I must remind him that, contrary to what he thinks, Niger and its leaders (both past and present ones) remain the same in their practice of hospitality with regard to all the foreign populations living in the country. As the writer also strongly knows without any doubt with regard to his cultural endeavour, no effort is required from any kind of observer, may he be Nigerien citizen or a foreigner, to easily witness or justify that our country has very good relations with Nigeria. Nigeria is indisputably not only known historically to be Niger’s brother, but it also shares about 1,500 kilometres of a common border and the two countries are often related by family, culture, business and lineage links. In short, the two countries are linked by history, geography and trade.

As such, peoples found on this longest Niger and Nigeria border have common customs, language and religion, despite being separated by colonial powers. The cohesion and solidarity among the peoples across these boundaries and movements across the border remain unhindered despite that aforementioned arbitrary international borders drawn by the colonial powers in 1885.

 

…all legal disputes relating to biddings between companies and enterprises of its mandate territories are normally handled by this sort of Commission, which is physically present in Niamey and not by a magazine or a journal that may mistakenly write on the basis of simple rumors, without making any effort in the research of proof.

 

To equally remind the writer of this article why we really ignore the main rationale of his allegations: it is much for this reason that the Emir of Maradi in Niger Republic is addressed as “Sarkin Katsina” due to the historical links between Maradi and Katsina in Nigeria.

As a result of this social, economic, cultural and religious tie, Nigeria and the Republic of Niger have informal cordial trade relation between the two countries and this constitutes the concrete justification of large number of trade transactions carried out in border markets of the two countries.

Relating to this matter, it is not less important to remind the writer that seemingly ignores or refuses to recognise it that the two countries established the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation since March 1971, and this provides a platform for discussing bilateral trade and investment issues that will enhance their socio-economic development.

As everybody knows, this joint Commission, whose head office is in Niger and is still very active, has organised several sessions of the council of its ministers, discussed and taken decisions on issues such as the establishment of warehouses in Konni and Maradi (Niger Republic), the formalisation of border markets, the development of the enterprise clusters, and the establishment of a Bilateral Chamber of Commerce etc.

Therefore, all legal disputes relating to biddings between companies and enterprises of its mandate territories are normally handled by this sort of Commission, which is physically present in Niamey and not by a magazine or a journal that may mistakenly write on the basis of simple rumors, without making any effort in the research of proof. The access to any legal document for the establishment of the proof is regarded and guaranteed to journalists as a right in Niger Republic, in terms of the international and regional instruments ratified by or the constitution of the country. Furthermore, in Niger, investments are well protected because we have created an adequate legal and judicial environment for this purpose.

 

For his personal knowledge, the author of “Xenophobia: Niger Too Is Guilty” has to bear in mind that Niger Republic is a country of hospitality and the cradle of the african economic integration.

 

With regard to the allegations mentioned in the article, it is safe to say that the writer lacks knowledge and information on what he has narrated. Going through all the falsehoods he has written, one can simply come to the conclusion that he deliberately wants to confuse the readers because of some vested interests he has tried to clumsily defend.

As far as the fight against terrorism and cross-border criminality is concerned, these two issues are common challenges for both Niger and Nigeria. The international community and the public opinion are well aware of the strong combination of human and material resources to increase the capacity and the power of our Joint Forces.

I would like to refresh the writer of the article’s memory that just very recently, african countries have held an African Union Summit in Niamey, the Capital of Niger. On this occasion, the African Continental Free Trade Area was launched on the July 7. This was a historical Pan-Africanist agreement, a very important step forward for the african economic and social development that came into reality as a result of personal efforts and commitment of His Excellency Issoufou Mahamadou, President of Niger Republic.

For his personal knowledge, the author of “Xenophobia: Niger Too Is Guilty” has to bear in mind that Niger Republic is a country of hospitality and the cradle of the african economic integration.

I do hope that this reaction will be brought to notice to make readers aware of the misrepresentation of reality in this offending article and to restore the truth in accordance with the principles that govern the profession of journalism.

 

Zakaria Abdourahaman is the minister spokesperson of the government of Niger.

 

 

 

Source : https://www.premiumtimesng.com

 

Premium Times (Nigeria)

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