Statement by Minister Cannon on Political Situation in Nigeria

(No. 93 - March 5, 2010 - 1:45 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement expressing Canada’s concern over the present political situation in Nigeria:

“On behalf of the Canadian people, I would like to join Nigerians in welcoming President Umaru Yar’Adua back to Nigeria. We wish him a prompt recovery, and hope he will soon be well enough to return to his official duties.

“As a large, diverse country that plays a crucial leadership role on the African continent and beyond, Nigeria must avoid a disruptive constitutional crisis. Nigerians need and deserve a focused government that can address the numerous challenges facing the nation and the West African region as a whole. Any prolonged state of uncertainty over the presidency may undermine Nigeria’s political and constitutional stability.

“Canada’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Denis Kingsley, met with Acting President Goodluck Jonathan on February 27 to convey these messages and express Canada’s support for Mr. Jonathan’s efforts in tackling Nigeria’s governance and security challenges.

“Canada is encouraged by Nigeria’s commitment to ensuring democratic continuity and abiding by the 1999 Constitution. We will continue to stand by the people of Nigeria in their efforts to consolidate their gains in democracy, accountability and the rule of law.”

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