French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna paid a visit to Nigeria on Friday, urging African nations not to develop relations with Moscow instead of Paris. Colonna met with her Nigerian counterpart Yusuf Tuggar in Abuja, where they discussed regional issues, bilateral cooperation, and global governance.
Colonna said that France was a reliable and long-term partner for Africa, and warned against the influence of Russia, which she accused of meddling in the continent’s affairs and destabilizing its security. She said that France supported the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to restore democracy and peace in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, where military coups have taken place in recent months.
Tuggar thanked Colonna for France’s support and expressed Nigeria’s aspiration to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, where France is one of the five veto-wielding powers. He also announced that France had agreed to return $150 million looted by former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, which had been frozen in France since 2021.
Colonna’s visit to Nigeria was part of a wider tour of the Sahel region, where France has been scaling back its military presence and shifting its focus to development and diplomacy. She was accompanied by Armed Forces Minister Sébastien Lecornu, who had visited Niger earlier in the week to meet with President Mohamed Bazoum and discuss security cooperation.