In a bid to achieve greater peace and political stability in their countries, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday asked African leaders to work harder to ensure social justice for all their citizens.
He made the appeal at an audience with the Foreign Minister of Equatorial Guinea, Mr Agapito Mba Mokuy, in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
President Buhari maintained that as leaders of sovereign nations, African Heads of Government must be allowed to discharge their responsibility for peace and security within their countries, without external interference.
He explained that this was why Heads of State and Government of the African Union decided against sending peacekeeping troops to Burundi during the country’s recent political crisis.
President Buhari disclosed that he expected the Government of Burundi to work towards greater peace, national unity and social justice for all Burundians to justify the decision of the African Union.
“Governments should be responsible for the security of their countries. Burundi must therefore ensure social justice for all of its people so as not to disappoint Africa in the eyes of the world,” the President told the Minister who was in Abuja as a Special Envoy of President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
He assured him that Nigeria would continue to work with Equatorial Guinea and other nations to strengthen the African Union and its various organs for the good of the continent.
The President added that Nigeria would also welcome more cooperation with Equatorial Guinea and other members of the Gulf of Guinea Commission, to curb piracy and enhance security in the gulf.
Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea Tuesday in Malabo signed an agreement on the establishment of a combined Maritime Policing and Security Patrol Committee.
The conclusion and signing of the agreement is expected to enhance security in the Gulf of Guinea and help in curbing maritime crimes such as piracy, crude oil theft, sabotage of oil rigs and arms smuggling.
According to a communiqué issued at the end of President Buhari’s visit to Malabo, both countries also agreed to discuss greater cooperation on oil and gas production and a bilateral trade agreement.
It was further agreed that the Nigeria-Equatorial Guinea Joint Commission will be revived from its present state of dormancy and empowered to play its proper role in the strengthening of bilateral relations between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea.
President Muhammadu Buhari and President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo expressed satisfaction with the atmosphere of trust and solidarity that now exists between their countries.
In their talks during the two-day visit, the two leaders discussed sub-regional, regional and international issues including terrorism, violent extremism and the state of the global economy, especially as it affects Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea.
They also discussed the crises in some African countries and efforts by the African Union to achieve peace, stability and progress across the continent.
President Buhari who has since returned to Abuja thanked President Mbasogo and the people of Equatorial Guinea for the warm reception given to him and his delegation during the visit.
President Muhammadu Buhari says that recent developments have made it more important than ever before for Nigeria and other African nations to close ranks and work together against terrorism.
Speaking at a meeting with a Special Envoy of President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, President Buhari said that since terrorism no longer respects national borders, the international community must urgently evolve and implement more effective collaborative measures to enhance global security.
“Good neighbourliness is essential for the security and economic development of African countries.
“Terrorism no longer respects borders. Therefore, we must keep on improving joint measures and actions against terrorism and other trans-border crimes.
“It was with this necessity in mind that I visited all of Nigeria’s neighbouring countries immediately after my assumption of office and we will continue to do our best to strengthen regional and international cooperation against terrorism,” the President said.
The Special Envoy, Mr Agapito Mba Mokuy, told President Buhari that the security of Nigeria was very important to the entire West African region.
Mr. Mokuy, who is also Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, said that President Mbasogo was impressed by the progress Nigeria was making, under President Buhari’s leadership, towards ending the Boko Haram insurgency.
He delivered an invitation from President Mbasogo for President Buhari to visit Equatorial Guinea at his earliest convenience.
President Goodluck Jonathan will on Thursday embark on a two-day state visit to Equatorial Guinea to in continuation of the federal government’s efforts in boosting the economic and trade relations between Nigeria and neighbouring countries.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on media, Reuben Abati stated that President Jonathan will in the course of the visit hold talks in Malabo with President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo on various issues of mutual interest to Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea.
The talks are expected to include the enhancement of maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, exploitation of oil and gas resources, and the enhancement of developmental cooperation between both countries.
President Jonathan will lead a delegation including Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Governor Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe State, Senator Ibrahim Gobir, Cyril Egwuatu, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Alison-Madueke, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Edem Duke, the Minister of State (Defence), Olusola Obada and the Minister of State (Foreign Affairs), Nurudeen Mohammed to formal bilateral talks with the Government of Equatorial Guinea.
It is expected that new agreements on the strengthening of economic relations and developmental cooperation between both countries will be concluded and signed before the end of the visit on Friday.
The President will also meet with Nigerians resident in Equatorial Guinea before returning to Abuja.