The Presidency Thursday expressed satisfaction with the existing bilateral relationship between Nigeria and its neighbours, confirming that such ties have helped tremendously, especially in the areas of tackling border insecurity, illegal arms import, and smuggling.
The Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in Niamey, Niger shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned a major road named after him in the state capital.
He said President Buhari on assumption of office in 2015, opened up strong dialogue with neighbouring Niger, Benin, Chad, and Cameroon, an approach, which has resulted in positive diplomatic ties of mutual interest to both countries.
“President Buhari has strong respect for our neighbours, and he understands the essence of neigbourliness. Before this administration, some of these countries complained that they were not even being talked to by Nigerian leadership,” Mr Shehu noted.
The presidential aide explained that, “we have opened up dialogue with them and it is paying off. We are partnering with them on essential matters, especially on security, tackling smuggling, and importation of illegal weapons, so the partnership is complete.”
According to Mr Shehu, President Buhari leaves behind on 29 May, 2023, a solid relationship, built on a solid rock with Nigeria’s neighbours and expected to be built upon by his successor.
While justifying the naming of a road after President Buhari in Niger, Mr Shehu said that the development was an indication of the tremendous respect which Nigeria’s neighbours have towards him.
President of Niger Republic Mohammed Bazoun who was accompanied by the mayor of Niamey and other officials, took President Buhari on a tour of the 3.8 kilometer boulevard commissioned in line with the country’s constitutional provisions.
President Buhari is in Niamey to join other leaders in the continent for the African Union (AU) summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification.
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