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“Nigerians are pleased with the progress we’ve made on electricity supply,” Jonathan tells CNN’s Amanpour (WATCH)

by Rachel Ogbu

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday, President Goodluck Jonathan answered a series of questions that bothered on Boko Haram, corruption, indiscriminate security measures, and poor electricity.

 CNN reports:

President Jonathan agreed that Boko Haram could pose an existential threat to his country.

“If Boko Haram is not contained, it would be a threat not only to Nigeria, but to West Africa, Central Africa and of course to North Africa,” he said. “Elements of Boko Haram link up with some of al Qaeda in northern Mali and other North African countries.”

For that reason, he said his government is “totally committed” to working with friendly nations to help contain problems in Mali. Like many other world leaders, Jonathan said the problem there has been exacerbated by the free flow of weapons out of Libya since the fall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

President Jonathan admitted that initially Boko Haram caught Nigeria off guard; now, he said, the country has been making progress to contain “the Boko Haram saga.”

He said his government is working day and night to make sure that the deadly attacks on an Algerian oil field do not happen in Nigeria.

The Economist reports that the death toll from Boko Haram attacks in 2012 was 1,099 – double was it was the previous year.

“If you look at the last six months, incidents of killing started dropping,” President Jonathan contended, insisting that the government is gaining control.

He denied suggestions from the U.S. State Department that the Nigerian government has conducted a large quantity of arrests and killings that have been indiscriminate, possibly driving more people into the hands of Boko Haram.

“The United States of America is completely wrong,” he told Amanpour. “No security agency arrests anybody just for the love of arrest. We have intelligence that enables us to arrest the people who have been arrested.”

President Jonathan also insists that poverty and unemployment are not fueling the violent rise of Boko Haram – citing religion as the primary motivation of this jihadist group.

As part of a counter terrorism effort, President Jonathan’s national security adviser has sought to engage in dialogue with Boko Haram.

Jonathan told Amanpour that the discourse has helped the situation, and that he will continue to pursue this strategy.

The Power of the Presidency

Christiane Amanpour was the first journalist to interview Goodluck Jonathan when he assumed the presidency in April 2010. One focus of that conversation was about the endemic electric outages that average Nigerians face.

Three years later, despite continued problems and a report by Nigeria’s Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission that says 60% of Nigerians are without access to power, Jonathan said that the country has made significant strides.

“That is one area where Nigerians are quite pleased with the government – that our commitment to improve power is working,” he said. “I promise you before the end of this year, power outages will be reasonably stable in Nigeria.”

Endemic Corruption

“You cannot change the mindset of people by waving your hand. You must take means to make sure that you don’t create an environment where everyone will be corrupt and we are doing it very well,” Jonathan said.

He cited the previous elections as signs of success against corruption. International observers, The African Union, and the Independent National Electoral Commission all praised the polling.

But there is still widespread corruption in the oil industry.

Last April, Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that 400,000 barrels of oil a day were looted from the country in just one month.
The International Energy Agency said that $7 billion dollars a year is lost annually to oil theft.

“Frankly speaking, I want the international community to support Nigeria because this stolen crude is being bought by refineries abroad and they know the crude oil was stolen,” Jonathan told Amanpour. “The world must condemn what is wrong.”


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Comments

  • Let us come togather as one to figth bribe and corruption, fraud, Godfatherlism, religion sentiment to make Nigeria great. Up goodluck Jonathan

    Isaac Dambulai January 24, 2013 7:33 am
  • President Goodluck Jonathan may not be correct to say religion is at the heart of boko haram insurgents. the ready recruits are from the almajiris who are found in large numbers on the streets in all the northern part of nigeria. On power generation it is still as epleptic as ever. Poverty stil pervades this nation as ever what about the ever increasing army of unemployment? The president should sit at home to find solutions to these problems. God bless nigeria!

    funsho mustapha January 24, 2013 7:50 am
  • Power generation is still bad. The question is, did you notice any slight improvement? YES

    musty January 24, 2013 1:53 pm
  • Today I pray for our nation. I ask that you would give our President wisdom beyond his own understanding and the courage to chose the right path no matter how narrow the gate. I pray for all in authority over us that you would give them the grace and strength to stand against the temptation to use power as a weapon but rather to carry it reverently as one would a child. I pray for the spiritual leaders of our country that they would hear your voice and know your heart. I pray that they would lead from their knees and by that simple grace bring each one of us to our knees before your throne. Have mercy on our nation Lord,in God we trust amed,

    SHITU January 24, 2013 9:25 pm
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