President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday met with British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and appealed to him to speed up the extradition of Nigerians indicted for corruption to face trial in their home country.
The two leaders met on the sidelines of the United Kingdom (UK)-Africa Investment Summit 2020, in London.
President Buhari presented his achievements since he assumed office in agriculture, leading to Nigeria’s near self-sufficiency in rice and other grains production, anti-corruption war, and infrastructural development.
He said that the sweeping reforms saved the country billions in foreign exchange, which are being deployed to other sector of the economy.
In a statement issued on the meeting by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, the Nigerian lead said that it was no longer business as usual in the country.
Buhari said that his administration has successfully the minds of the people on the true philosophy of Boko Haram insurgency, adding that the main challenge being in the area of resettling displaced people, was being tackled frontally.
He remarked that “we have a long history with the British military, and we are collaborating.”
On the anti-corruption war, the president said though it was slow but painstaking, stressing that the cooperation of the National Crime Agency of UK was still needed, particularly in the investigation of fugitives from Nigeria finding accommodation in Britain.
Commenting on climate change, President Buhari said that it was a big challenge to Nigeria and neighbouring African countries, especially with the shrinking of Lake Chad to a minuscule of its original size.
Buhari further said that the country was focused and making progress in education, particularly that of the girl child.
In his response, Johnson thanked President Buhari for being a regional leader who gives strong encouragement to the West and congratulated him on jobs being created through agriculture. He thereafter charged him to do more.
Johnson also lauded the Nigerian president for what he called the “social and economic benefits” that have accrued to the country since he emerged and promised to support him on the war against corruption through the National Crime Agency.
The British PM further pledged to cooperate with Nigeria and other African countries in the inter-basin water transfer, which could solve the Lake Chad problem and enhance security in the sub-region.
On the Commonwealth Free Trade Area being espoused by Buhari, the UK prime minister applauded the idea and promised a careful consideration.
He tasked Buhari to keep the independence of Nigeria intact, noting that in the future the countrywould not just be a continental but an international power.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has attributed the closure of Nigeria’s borders to the smuggling of hard drugs, arms and ammunition into Nigeria from the neighbouring countries.
The president stated this yesterday in London on the sidelines of UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020 with President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana.
Buhari said that he could no longer watch helplessly as Nigerian youths were being destroyed through cheap hard drugs and also compromised security caused by unbridled influx of small arms.
He said: “When most of the vehicles carrying rice and other food products through our land borders are intercepted, you find cheap hard drugs, and small arms, under the food products. This has terrible consequences for any country.”
The president said that it was regrettable that the border closure was having “negative economic impact on our neighbours,” but reiterated that “we cannot leave our country, particularly the youths, endangered.”
Buhari said that the Sahel region was awash with small arms, which accounts for severe security challenges in Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, and Niger, adding that “we are in fact, the biggest victims.”
On the time frame for reopening the borders, t Buhari said that it would wait till the report of a committee set up on the matter was submitted and considered by the government.
“We will get things sorted out. Our farmers, especially those who grow rice, now have a market, and are happy, and we are also concerned about hard drugs and weapons. Once the committee comes up with its recommendations, we will sit and consider them,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo, who showed understanding of the need for Nigeria to protect her citizens, however, pleaded for “an expedited process, because the Nigerian market is significant for certain categories of business people in Ghana.”