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World Economic Forum will still hold Despite Abuja Bomb Attack, FG Assures

Nigeria's minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Kayode Adelowokan

Ahead of the World Economic Forum on Africa scheduled to hold in Abuja, Nigeria from May 7- 9, 2014, the Nigeria government has promised to go ahead with the hosting of the Forum despite the bomb attack on the outskirt of the city that left 75 people dead.

Nigeria's minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Nigeria’s minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The Minister of Finance and coordinating Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in a statement sent to forum participants, said, “Our security planning for the World Economic Forum on Africa (scheduled for May 7-9) is already well under way and will be the largest security operation ever mounted in this country for an international summit.”

Also, the Head of Secretariat, World Economic Forum, Africa, Frank Nweke, gave the assurance while speaking on Television programme that the Monday, April 14 bomb attack will in no way stop the schedule programme.

The former minister of information said that the committee in charge of the forum had been working in the last 14 to 15 months and had made proper arrangement for logistics to ensure that participants would not experience any hitch.

He said, “The venue, logistics, transportation and volunteers preparations are on the high, but security is very important to Nigerians as a whole.  “Once we are safe as Nigerians then our guests will be safe.”

He, however, expressed dissatisfaction over the bomb blast at Nyanya Motor Park, Abuja and urged the government to take proper care in ensuring that insurgencies in different parts of the country were brought to a halt.

“It is the responsibility of the government to secure the lives and property of Nigerians. Most of these challenges are issues that these foreign investors are looking at to help in the development of the country,” he said.

On the Monday bomb blast, Mr Nweke noted that Abuja had been peaceful in the last 15-18 months and emphasised the need for Abuja to remain calm.

Sending out his condolences to the families of the victims, he stressed that proper care must be taken to ensure that insurgencies in other parts of the country were brought to a halt, as it was impeding development.

Huge sums of money that should have been used for infrastructural development to reduce the deficit had been channeled into provision of security.

President Goodluck Jonathan had also said that bomb attacks were hindering development of the country, saying that such attacks distract the government from carrying out its transformation agenda.

Last week, the Nigerian economy was rebased, making Nigeria the largest economy in Africa.

Some economic analysts have said that the growth that had been recorded over the years had not transpired into a better life for the average Nigerian.

But Mr Nweke said that since the return to democracy from the military era there has been drastic change in Nigeria’s economy.

“There has been significant expansion and improvement in our economy,” he said, pointing out that Nigeria has been able to catch up with the rest of the world.

“There is nothing wrong in knowing the size of our economy,” Mr Nweke stressed.

He further pointed out that the oil sector contribution to the GDP was receding, with the entertainment, ICT, and manufacturing amongst others, making remarkable contributions to the growth. But he called for adequate attention to be paid to the entertainment/Nollywood industry.

“There is need to focus attention on the preservation of the copypright laws to ensure that there are no leakages”, he said.

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