Without inclusive growth and opportunities, separatist agitations will continue

Ambassador Ketil Karlsen

European Union Ready To Assist- Karlson

The European Union has expressed concerns about growing separatist agitations in the country, saying the body was interested in finding a peaceful avenue for a sustainable solution, so that the country can remain united.

Head of Delegation, European Union in Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, told The Guardian:
“We support continuous call for unity. But the call for separation is a cause for concern. We need to stay together, rather than separate. In Biafra’s case and IPOB movement, our aim is to find peaceful avenue for a sustainable solution, so that Nigeria can remain united. It is fundamental for Nigeria to decide on its own path in that sense. What we want is unity and we will continuously call for unity through dialogue. I must stress the importance of providing opportunities for all Nigerians, especially the youths.

“Back to the question, we believe there is a need to react to these agitations in the short-term, but there is very important need to ensure there is a long-term economic growth plan to address the challenges.”

The envoy added: “When you look at the demography of growth in Nigeria, there is need for the creation of millions of jobs in order to care for the growing population. If we don’t have a clear long-term strategy based on inclusive growth, identifying necessary value chain, where there is a market and opportunity, then this kind of agitation will continue.”

Karlsen stressed that it is very important for the country “to take seriously, opportunity of economic partnership with the EU as the economic partnership agreement presents opportunity for diversification, for more inclusive growth and increases access to European markets. There is a very attractive market of millions of consumers, which is unexplored by relation between Europe and Nigeria.

Full interview with Ambassador Karlson will be published next Sunday

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