By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja – Nigeria and Britain on Wednesday in Abuja signed two agreements on Defence and Security partnership as well as Economic Development Forum.
Speaking briefly before signing the agreements, President Muhammadu Buhari stated that Nigeria and the United Kingdom would continue to enhance their cooperation in tackling corruption and reducing poverty.
The Nigerian leader lauded the British government for its assistances to Nigeria in the fight against terrorists, and pledged Nigeria’s readiness to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
“ 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.
“Let me assure you that we will take the necessary steps to improve on the trade relationship between our two countries,’’ he said
President Buhari expressed Nigeria’s satisfaction for the removal of barriers by British government for veterans of the World Wars, and numerous assistance to tackle human trafficking as well as climate change.
He also narrated 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, British Prime Minister, Theresa 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 would assist Nigeria in the fight against terrorists as well as human trafficking.
He said: “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 say 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.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Theresa May has since departed Abuja for Kenya via Lagos as she continues her tour of African countries.