The Japanese Government says it is hamstrung to supply any military equipment to Nigeria inspite of worsening spate of Boko Haram insurgency, banditry and other forms of insecurity.
Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Kazuyoshi Matsunaga, disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at a meeting with the management of the North East Development Commission.
Matsunaga explained that the Japanese government could not supply Nigeria any military equipment due to “the limitation of the military regulation.”
But the envoy assured that the Japanese Government would continue to support the the NEDC based on the North East Re-building master plan.
He also canvassed for improved bilateral relations between both countries Japan and Nigeria.
He said, “In Japan, the Japanese media already read the news about Nigeria, not only the football, but also the Boko Haram or the terrorism in the North East. But many Japanese people misunderstand that there are many extremists in North East, but the reality is not true.
“The main reason is how we can get out of the poverty, how we can develop the economy. That is the most important part. They have called the Japanese government for support. Due to the limitation of the military regulation, we cannot supply any military equipment.
“The security is also another important area because currently major Japanese companies have been hesitant to invest in Nigeria due to the security reasons. So, as you may know that Japan is very conservative country, so we tend to avoid risk.”
Matsunaga added that the Japanese government and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have agreed to transfer technology to Nigeria to solve social problems, adding that Toyota and Yamaha auto companies have already embarked on training mechanics from the North East in Lagos to enable them to acquire the skills to repair cars and motorcycles in the region.
He expressed deep regrets over persistent attacks in the Northeast, saying it had been a major impediment against investment in the region by the Japanese private sector.
The ambassador further disclosed that the Japanese government had been working with UNICEF to build more than 50,000 toilets in Nigeria to combat open defecation.
In his response, NEDC Managing Director Mr. Mohammad Alkali, explained the role of the commission as the focal organization responsible for assessing, coordinating and harmonizing all the initiatives of development of North-East.
Alkali said it’s imperative for the Japanese Government to continue to give its support to the NEDC based on its NEDC roadmap of the master plan.
He commended the Japanese Embassy for supporting recovery and reconstruction of North-East states through the disbursement of supplemental budget to United Nations agencies such as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for capacity development of government officials and communities, building infrastructure and provision of equipment.
Alkali also disclosed that the region would require about $75m to carry out immediate recovery and resettlement activities and projects in the Northeast due to the high level of destruction done to the region by insurgents.
The NEDC boss commended the Japanese delegation for their visit, saying over 5,059 key projects have been listed for implementation to ensure the transformation of the socio-economic challenges in the North East.