From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the newly inaugurated Nigerien President, Mohammed Bozoum, who was in Nigeria on his first international visit: “We will stabilize our region for the benefit of the two countries.”
According to the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari said Nigerians and Nigeriens are people with similar culture, language and ways of life, “and we also share about 1,500 kilometres of land border, so we cannot ignore each other.”
He congratulated Bazoum on winning the recent presidential election, and his successful inauguration into office.
“You have been in the system for a long time. The only thing is that you had never been President. Now you are one,” he said, assuring that Nigeria would assist its close neighbour in diverse ways as required.
On terrorism, as perpetrated by Boko Haram, President Buhari observed that Republic of Niger also suffers high casualties, vowing; “We will do all it takes to secure our two countries.”
President Buhari thanked the immediate past President, Mahamadou Issoufou, for what he calls “his understanding and sacrifices” to help stabilize the region, urging the successor to maintain the institutions his predecessor had established.
President Bazoum said he was delighted to make Nigeria his first port of call, noting that the two countries have common interests, “and, therefore, a good relationship is very important.
”On security, he observed that the fact that some Nigerians flee to Niger during terrorist attacks “shows that we need to cooperate, and we will face our challenges together.”
Bozoum, was received by President Buhari alongside some cabinet members.
Also present were the Governors of Kano, Sokoto, Kebbi, Borno, Yobe and Zamfara States.