British Prime Minister Theresa May has arrived in Nigeria, as part of her visit to some African countries.
Shortly after her arrival in the country on Wednesday afternoon, May proceeded to the Presidential Villa, Abuja for a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
At the meeting, President Buhari assured May of his commitment to conducting free, fair and credible elections in 2019 and commended UK’s support at strengthening democratic institutions in the country.
“I assure you that I’m all out for free, fair and credible elections. I’m very pleased that my party is doing very well,” the President was quoted in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
“The High Commissioner will brief you more. The recent successes in polls in Katsina, Bauchi, and Kogi have boosted our morale greatly. Nigeria has accepted multiparty democracy and that is putting politicians on their toes, forcing them to work harder,” the President informed the British PM.
President Muhammadu Buhari welcomes British Prime Minister Theresa May to the Aso Villa in Abuja on August 29, 2018.
President Buhari also thanked the UK government for supporting the anti-corruption campaign in the country, noting that the success of the fight was very important to ordinary people in the country.
He said, “We had great opportunities and resources between 1999 and 2014, due to high oil prices. But when we came in 2015, oil prices plunged to as low as 37 dollars per barrel.
“What we have been doing since 2015 is to focus on infrastructure development, despite low earnings. Work is ongoing in roads, rail, power, and many others.”
The President commended Britain for its support in the area of security, especially in the fight against insurgency in the North East, as well as the improved trade relations between both countries.
The British Prime Minister, on her part, welcomed the assurance by the Nigerian government on credible elections in 2019.
She also said she was pleased to be in Abuja to continue the “excellent discussions” she started with President Buhari in London in April, particularly on security, trade, asset recovery and the fight against corruption.
May stressed that security and defence cooperation was a very important step to address Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa.
On asset recovery, she said, “We do not want to hold anything that belongs to Nigeria people, but we follow the judicial process, which can be slow.”
The British Prime Minister also urged President Buhari to use his position as ECOWAS Chairman to keep the issue of human trafficking on the front burner in the sub-region.
Earlier in his remarks before the bilateral meeting, President Buhari underscored the need for UK’s support on reviving of Lake Chad which he said was a means of livelihood for millions of people.
After the meeting, both countries strengthened bilateral ties in the areas of security and economy.