ABUJA – The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Friday allayed fears of insecurity in Abuja as the World Economic Forum on Africa begins on Wednesday, May 7.
Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke at the backdrop of Thursday’s Nyanya bomb explosion, said that the Federal Government would provide adequate security for participants.
She told newsmen in Abuja that President Goodluck Jonathan would make a statement on the forum and security issues shortly.
She said “with the World Economic Forum, of course, it’s not easy; the news we have so far is that people are asking questions but it’s seems encouraging.
“I think that by the time we hear some of the security measures that the president is going to announce, we will see that we will calm the nerves of those who are proposing to come.
“We have also sent a press advisory but we should focus now on the feelings. I told you that I was sad about the abducted girls and we should focus on what to do to bring the girls back.
“And, we should also focus on families of those who lost their lives; that is very important.
“It is not that the forum is not important but more important is the issues of the girls and supporting the families which have lost people.
“We will see what will happen with the forum; I am confident that things will be okay but our minds are not in it right now as on the issues of those who lost their lives and their families.”
Meanwhile, an economist, Mr Eze Onyekpere, urged the Federal Government to ensure that the forum scheduled to begin in Abuja on Wednesday was held in order not to give in to terrorism.
Onyekpere told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that government “must re-enforce security in the capital and around the country to enable the forum participants and other visitors to come without fear.
“I think the forum should go on; it will show a very wrong signal if we stop it because it means we are saying that Nigeria is no longer secure.
“If we cancel an international event that has already been planned, it will be a very dangerous signal,’’ he said.
Similarly, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Most Rev. Mathew Kukah, said it was sad the blast occurred at a time that the nation was planning to host the world.
“We should take it in our stride just for the interest of those who lost their lives, and one thing to say is that we should move forward in their memory to help us to build a better society,” Kukah said.
Kukah added that those who loved Nigeria would always stand by it at moments of trials and would come for the forum, adding that Sept. 11 incident in U.S. did not stop any event.
“If this thing is happening in the U.S., London or anywhere in Europe, people will not cancel their flights; they will still travel.
“I call on our president to occupy the moral high ground and be more assertive.
“We need to know that somebody is in charge and in control because that is the signal that everybody requires,’’ Kukah said. (NAN)