Presidency has honoured State Chief of Protocol (SCOP), Amb. Lawal Kazaure and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Household and Domestic Affairs, Sarkin Abba, for bagging Nigerien highest Civilian National Awards.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, organised the reception in honour of the presidential aides.
Kazaure and Abba were conferred with the awards by President Mohammed Bazoum of Niger Republic.
Speaking at the event, Gambari expressed delight over the existing cordial relationship between Nigeria and Niger Republics.
According to Gambari, those countries sharing borders with Nigeria, including Cameroon, Benin Republic, Chad and Niger Republic, share the same interests and cultural affinities which bind them together.
”All these boundaries are very much artificial.
”The Europeans in Congress of Berlin just took a piece of paper and were drawing lines across places where they have never been; they never intended to be.
”They separated people who should be united and uniting people, perhaps, who should be separated.
”But, the leaders of Africa decided that it’s wise to keep those boundaries artificial as they may be.
”This is because to change them other than peacefully, will be creating even more problems than they can solve.
”But, in any case, whether by those lines, whether artificial or not, Niger/Nigeria share common boundaries, common interests, common concerns with their families across the borders,” he said.
On Buhari’s foreign policy, Gambari said: “In his (Buhari’s) earlier incarnation, as Head of State, the defining feature of his policies was concentric circle of Nigerian foreign policy.
”That our interests, our efforts, will be concentrated on promoting Nigeria’s interests in concentric circles at the epicenter; the defense of Nigeria’s integrity, the prosperity, the welfare of its people.
“But, next is the neighboring countries, then West Africa, then Africa, and then the rest of the world.
”And he has proved the continuity of Nigeria’s foreign policy in this sense by the fact that the first countries he visited after being sworn in were the neighboring ones,” Gambari said.
The State House Permanent Secretary, Tijjani Umar, who also spoke at the event, congratulated the awardees.
He, however, said that the challenge of COVID-19, climate change and lately, the Russian/Ukraine war had impacted ”the population negatively and as such, it has become important for countries to watch each other’s back.”
He stressed that the honour conferred on the presidential aides had further strengthened the bonds between Nigeria and Niger Republics.
Kazaure, who spoke on behalf of his fellow awardees said the international award was in recognition of the enviable strides made by the Buhari administration.
He, therefore, thanked the president for exposing them locally and internationally.
Kazaure also thanked the Chief of Staff for organizing the reception in their honour. (NAN)