The Netherlands said on Tuesday it would continue to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need, particularly women and girls, to mitigate the impact of insecurity and displacement occasioned by the activities of the Boko Haram sect in Nigeria.
The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, gave the assurance when he fielded questions from journalists at the end of a bilateral meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
He said: “Yes. We discussed at length the situations both in the Netherlands as well as in Nigeria and also what is happening in the different regions.
“And we try to be involved as much as possible. As we have this long-standing relationship between our two countries, we have a very active embassy here.
There is a very active ambassador in the European and the Dutch side and from Nigeria, we can work together and we can deal with these issues, some of these things are very practical.
“For example, we discussed in 2018 at length one issue, the Lake Chad question and we discussed what we can do together.
“We hosted a meeting in the Netherlands this year on Lake Chad and what we can do in the immediate future. On the difficulty being experienced by Nigerians in getting a visa to the Netherlands, Rutte assured that a current situation where Nigerians have to go through the French or the Belgian embassy to get a visa would be reviewed.
“I know this is a sensitive issue. While I was preparing for this visit, the issue came up. I cannot give you a definitive answer.
“I can only tell you that I am very much aware of this issue and there is a particular problem here and that is that the Netherlands is part of the European Schengen Area and the visa we use together in the various countries.
“And that is why the Belgian and French embassies are taking care of the visa administration being handled for the Netherlands.
“I am very much aware of this and technology will probably help us in the immediate future as we look into a more proper solution.
“So, I cannot give you an answer yet but it is very much on our agenda because we know this is a very sensitive issue both for us and Nigeria.”
Rutte, who said he was visiting Nigeria for the first time, said he was very impressed with the visit.
He added: “It’s my first visit to Nigeria and as I said at the lunch meeting, I am very impressed. Everything in this country is huge, is big. It’s 20 times the size of the Netherlands and more people live in Lagos than the whole of my country.” (NAN)