Buhari thanks Portugal for supporting regional security in Africa
July 01 (THEWILL) – President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his gratitude to Portugal for deploying arms and training military personnel, to secure peace in West and Central Africa.
Speaking at a state dinner at the Ajuda National Palace in Lisbon on Thursday evening, the president praised his host, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, for deploying peacekeeping troops in Central African Republic, followed political developments and provided assistance to certain African countries. , including Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde and Mozambique.
President Buhari said during the dinner, in the presence of the Speaker of the Portuguese National Assembly, Augusto Santos Silva and the Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, that the Nigerian government has made it a priority to tackle the problem of the insecurity in Nigeria, ECOWAS and the Sahel.
He added that it would not have been a success without the regional and global partners.
“The boko haram insurgency in northeast Nigeria is being fought through the efforts of the government, as well as the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) of the member countries,” he said.
President Buhari expressed his optimism that his state visit will further enhance the goodwill and collaboration between the two countries.
He noted that the creation of a Joint Commission, which is one of the main priorities of the visit, would further promote the full realization of the objectives of the bilateral relations, the realization of concrete, specific and viable projects and programs for the benefit of the citizens of both countries.
”Today, Portugal imports around 60% of its gas from Nigeria, making it our second largest market in Europe. There is still much to do between the two countries, especially with the current war between Russia and Ukraine, which has disrupted the regular gas supply to Europe.
“Furthermore, Nigeria wants to see trade diversify into non-oil products such as agriculture, power projects, renewable energy and pharmaceuticals, where a lot could be achieved,” he said. .
The President stressed the need to relaunch the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) and finalize all outstanding bilateral agreements, in order to boost economic activities and the movement of people between the two countries.
President Buhari described Nigeria as one of the most attractive destinations for investment in Africa, adding that his government prioritizes creating an enabling business environment.
”Nigeria is part of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) – the largest free trade area in the world. With a population of over 200 million, mostly young men and women, Nigeria is a natural and attractive hub for foreign investment and unique market access to over 50 countries,” he said. added.
The Nigerian leader welcomed the Business Forum organized during his visit and the signing of numerous memorandums of understanding between the investment promotion agencies and chambers of commerce of the two countries.
He described the signing of the agreements “as excellent bases for increased bilateral trade”.
President Buhari also commended his Portuguese counterpart for extending his country’s engagement with Africa and African issues beyond Portuguese-speaking countries.
His words: “In this context, I would like to recall that in addition to giving its name to our old capital, Lagos, the Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in what would later become Nigeria, even before the British. At that time, the Kingdom of Benin maintained diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Portugal. The bodyguards of the Oba of Benin were sent from Portugal.
”Today there are streets in some states of Nigeria that still bear Portuguese names. This shows a strong bond that has endured for a long time between our two countries. »