…As Buhari, May agree to jointly fight Boko Haram, human trafficking
Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Nigeria and the United Kingdom have signed two agreements.
The agreements signed were Defence and Security Partnership and Economic Development Forum.
This was even as President Muhammadu Buhari and British Prime Minister, Theresa May, have pledged to strengthen ties between the two countries.
The agreements were signed before the two leaders at the Presidential Villa Abuja, during May’s visit.
The two leaders have decided to jointly work hard to curb the Boko Haram menace troubling the North-East region of Nigeria as well as human trafficking.
While welcoming his guest, President Buhari appreciated the support Nigeria is receiving form the UK in the fight against terrorists.
READ ALSO: NSE moves 345.057m shares worth N2.27bn
He said: “Madam Theresa, I welcome you most sincerely to Nigeria and I am very grateful to the British government under your leadership for the help you are giving us in the area of security. The training team that goes to our institutions in Kaduna and observe the operations in the North-East mainly, we thank you very much for that.
“I also thank you very much for the improvement in trade relationship between us since you assumed office. We are nervously watching developments about Brexit, because we know that relationship has been on since 1938 and people are here looking at the opportunities in education, businesses and so on and I assure you that we will take the necessary steps to improve on the trade relationship between our two countries.”
President Buhari also spoke about the effects of the drying up of Lake Chad and the need to resuscitate it, to boost farming and fishing activities within the Chad basin.
In her remarks, May said following the exit of the UK form the European Union, there would be need to seek more economic ties with Nigeria.
She pledged that the United Kingdom will assist Nigeria in the fight against terrorists as well as human trafficking.
“Thank you very much for the warm welcome. I’m delighted to be able to here in Abuja and to continue the very good discussions we had when you were in London in April. As you have said, we already have very good cooperation between the UK and Nigeria which include education, defence, security and trade relations.
“We are ready to cooperate together on global and regional issues; to strengthen that cooperation and partnership, I have with me a business delegation, as we look to enhance our ties in future and explore more trading opportunities.
“We will also be looking to work together to step up efforts against security threats from Boko Haram, human trafficking and the likes.
“And of course also cooperate to fight corruption and lifting people out of poverty. I am pleased that I am going to visit Lagos as well because as far as our partnership is working, we are doing well in Nigeria. We look forward to enhancing this relationship in future,” she said.
Theresa May has since departed Abuja for Lagos, enroute Kenya, as she continues her tour of African countries.
Throwing more light on the agreements signed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said it clearly highlights the two priority areas in our relationship at the moment.
He said, “Under the Defence and Security Pact, it is a comprehensive agreement that covers all aspects of security challenges.
“So, apart from the military training there is also the support for policing, civil policing, human rights aspect of security and the close cooperation that the two countries will have, the training that will be provided by the UK to our security forces.
“On the economic development forum, this is a forum that really aims at co-prosperity. The prosperity of our two countries are sloping to leverage in areas where we have as countries comparative advantages, the financial center that London is and the investment opportunities in our country and ready to build that up with the private sector as well as the government level.
“So, everything will be comprehensive and involve different stakeholders and this is in the context of UK’s BREXIT.
“Coming out of the European union, they feel freer now to engage with countries on bilateral level and build up trade relations with those countries.
“For us, this also fit into our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan where Mr. President has put forward a roadmap that is really transforming this country. So this partnership is a framework that is very key to our Economic Growth and Development Plan.
“On the human rights. We have taken a number of steps in the area of human rights. Mr. President has set up a committee that looks into the various allegations made against our military and the process is ongoing and we are very keen to have as a government a mechanism within the security apparatus of this country that ensures that the correct procedures and methods are implored by the military and so of course in a corporation with us in the area of security, the United Kingdom and other countries are also expect that we will maintain the high man rights standard.”