President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday evening expressed his gratitude to Portugal for deploying arms and training military personnel to ensure peace in Africa.
The president’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement Friday, said Buhari delivered the eulogy during a state dinner held at the Ajuda National Palace in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.
Buhari praised President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa for deploying troops for peacekeeping in the Central African Republic, monitoring political developments and providing assistance to some countries in Africa, including Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde and the Mozambique.
The President said during the dinner attended by the Speaker of the Portuguese National Assembly, Augusto Santos Silva, and Prime Minister Antonio Costa, that the Nigerian government has made it a priority to tackle the problem of 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 northeastern Nigeria is being fought through the efforts of the government, as well as the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) of member countries,” he said.
Buhari expressed his optimism that his state visit would further enhance the goodwill and collaboration between the two countries.
He noted that the establishment 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.
He added that it would also make it possible to carry out concrete, specific and viable projects and programs for the benefit of the citizens of the two countries.
”Today, Portugal imports around 60% of its gas from Nigeria, making it our second largest market in Europe.
”There is still more to do between the two countries, especially with the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine which has disrupted regular gas supplies to Europe.
“Furthermore, Nigeria wants to see trade diversify into non-oil products such as agriculture, power projects, renewable energy and pharmaceuticals where much could be achieved,” he said. declared.
The President underscored the need to revive the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) and finalize all pending bilateral agreements to boost economic activities and the movement of people between the two countries.
He further described Nigeria as one of the most attractive destinations for investment in Africa, adding that his government prioritized building 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. he declares.
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”.
Buhari also praised his Portuguese counterpart for extending his country‘s engagement with Africa and African issues beyond Portuguese-speaking countries.
“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 later became 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. It shows a strong, long-lasting bond between our two countries,” he said. (NOPE)