Friday, July 22, 2011

Boko Haram: Israel ready to assist Nigeria – Ambassador to Nigeria

Israel has declared its readiness to help Nigeria check the country rising insecurity caused by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

The Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Moshe Ram, who paid a courtesy visited a Nigeria newspaper in  Lagos, on Thursday, described the Boko Haram onslaught as a “dangerous situation,” which needed a sophisticated approach to solve.

He said if adequate and timely measures were not taken to curb the menace, it might lead to the emergence of suicide bombers.

Ram said, “What you (Nigeria) experience today is a dangerous situation because fighting terror is sometimes like fighting the ghost because you never know where it comes from.

“Look at Abuja today, it has become a city that is very difficult to live in. When I went to the Hilton Hotel, I had to wait for like 45 minutes because the army was looking at each and every vehicle to find something. The problem is the knowledge and the know-how.

“This is a profession and, unfortunately, we went through this stage 20 to 40 years ago.

“There is a lot of cooperation between our agencies that are dealing with this. If we are offered the opportunity, we might even contribute more. Because for this country, I am afraid that the next phase might be suicide bombings.”

The ambassador said with the experience of the first suicide bombings in Israel about 25 years, the country had “the experience and a little knowledge” of how to deal with terrorism, adding that his country was ready to share its experience with Nigeria.

Ram emphasised the importance of intelligence gathering in stemming terrorism, stressing that security operations could only be successful with adequate information.

“What to do today is to deal with this sect of fanatics. You (Nigeria) need to decide what you want. You may go for a political solution but it is for the government to decide whether it needs to destroy or annihilate them by force, or try to negotiate with them (Boko Haram),” he said.

He added, “We are trying to solidify the existing bilateral relationship with the country by working and paying more attention to economic ties.

“This is a source of pride to me to know how much they contributed to the economy of Nigeria. We feel a good diplomatic relation will be determined, by large, by the quality in the depth of our economic relations.”

The ambassador, who came in company with his Secretary and Deputy Head of Missions, Mr. George Deek, described the Nigerian media as “exemplary, vivid and creative,” noting that the media was an important part of his embassy’s work in Nigeria.

He called for more coverage of foreign and diplomatic events in the country, stressing that a majority of the newspapers concentrate more on the local scene than reporting from the global point of view.

“In this global village, and with all these social networks, the sources of information are so diversified. You have a very difficult task to screen and to decide what is newsworthy and what is not newsworthy. This is a very important part of the media work,” he said.

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