Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has sought the support of the Japanese government in combating piracy and illegal fishing in the Gulf of Guinea.
The President made the request Thursday in Yokohama during a bilateral meeting between the Nigerian delegation and Japanese officials led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on the margins of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7).
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina, in a statement said Buhari, who commended Mr Abe for the invitation extended to him to attend the triennial forum, thanked the Japanese government for attending the pioneer celebration of Nigeria’s June 12 Democracy Day celebration.
In his remarks, Prime Minister Abe welcomed President Buhari’s participation at TICAD7 and the country’s signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
Japanese premier pledged a $300,000 support package for Nigeria’s Defence College, as well as 12 million Yen for the country’s public health sector.
Abe also pledged his country’s support for Nigeria’s Presidency of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, while seeking Nigeria’s support for Japan’s bid to occupy some global positions.
Also on Thursday in Yokohama, Nigeria and the European Union signed a €50 million Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support humanitarian and development efforts in the country’s North East.
The cooperation agreement, which was signed by Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama and EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Mr Neven Mimica, would bring the total EU support in the country to €562 million for 2014 – 2020.
President Buhari, thanking the EU member states for their support, especially for the North East, described as “pathetic the situation in internally displaced camps.”
The President called for further assistance to improve youth education in the region to take them out of poverty.
Commissioner Mimica said Nigeria’s request for enhanced assistance would be given priority consideration since it comes at a time the EU is in the process of preparing its seven-year budget.