President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that Nigeria will continue to assist its close neighbours in diverse ways as required.
Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman, in a statement in Abuja on Monday, said Buhari gave the assurance when he hosted the newly inaugurated President of the Republic of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, who was in Nigeria on his first international visit.
The Nigerian leader also assured Bazoum that Nigeria would continue to do all it could to stabilise the West African sub-region, saying that Nigerians and Nigeriens shared similar culture and language.
He said: “We will stabilise our region for the benefit of the two countries,
“Nigerians and Nigeriens are people with a similar culture, language and ways of life, and we also share about 1,500 kilometres of land border, so we cannot ignore each other.”
The president 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,
On terrorism, as perpetrated by Boko Haram, Buhari observed that the Republic of Niger also suffers high casualties, vowing: “We will do all it takes to secure our two countries.”
Buhari was thankful to the immediate past President, Mahamadou Issoufou, for what he called “his understanding and sacrifices” to help stabilise the region, urging the successor to maintain the institutions his predecessor had established.
Bazoum had earlier said he was delighted to make Nigeria his first port of call, noting that the two countries had 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”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Bazoum, who is on a two-day official visit to Nigeria, would be hosted to a private breaking of fast by Buhari.