From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has thanked the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for its support to Nigeria’s campaign against terrorism and insurgency, with the donation of military hardware and pledge to supply helicopters.
Speaking during a bilateral meeting with King Abdullah II, shortly after his address to the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the president said the very expensive donation of about 200 Armoured Fighting Vehicles “reflects true concern for Nigeria’s security situation and genuine goodwill towards a friendly nation.”
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the president, Femi Adesina, said in a statement that Buhari reassured King Abdullah of Nigeria’s commitment towards the proposed Aqaba Process, with countries in the region as well as Nigeria’s willingness to play a leading role in bringing together countries in the West African sub-region into the security arrangement.
He pledged Nigeria’s continued desire for enhanced bilateral ties with Jordan.
The Jordanian monarch had earlier informed Buhari that his government is in the process of opening an embassy in Abuja, in the next few months, and appreciated the support being extended to his country by the Nigerian government in this regard.
He told President Buhari that his National Security Adviser would soon work out the final details of the Aqaba Process with his Nigerian counterpart.
President Buhari was accompanied to the bilateral meeting, the third of its kind, since the inception of the current administration, by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (retd), and Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Professor Tijjani Bande.
It would be recalled that soon after Buhari took office in 2015, the Jordanian monarch offered a hand of friendship, cooperation and support for Nigeria, in its fight against terrorism and insurgency.
This resulted in the national security adviser undertaking two visits to Jordan, to follow up on issues previously discussed with the king, and donation of military hardware and pledge of further support.
These gestures were aimed at enhancing Nigeria’s operational capabilities in the fight against terror both within the country and the Lake Chad Basin which affects neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger where the Multinational Joint Task Force is engaging the Boko Haram insurgents and terrorists.
The national security adviser’s second trip to Jordan, on the invitation of the King, in January 2016, to attend the Third Aqaba Process, also resulted in renewed commitment between the two countries, to consider multilateral action in confronting the menace of terrorism by replicating the Aqaba arrangement which the Kingdom of Jordan has with East African countries battling protracted terrorism.
Nigeria has agreed to work with countries in the region on a similar arrangement with Jordan. It is anticipated that the first Aqaba Process for Nigeria and sister countries within the sub-region with Jordan will be held in late November or early December 2017.