Tuesday, July 12, 2016 10:47 pm
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday expressed appreciation for the important role the U.S. played in the success of the 2015 general elections in Nigeria.
A statement issued in Abuja by Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, said Buhari expressed the view when he received the outgoing Ambassador of the U.S. to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, at the State House, Abuja.
The president noted that the U.S.’ insistence on free, fair and violence-free elections largely contributed to the deepening of democracy in Nigeria.
“The U.S support before, during and after the 2015 elections was vital to Nigeria’s stability and I will never forget the role they played in the stability of Nigeria.
“We were lucky to have had an INEC Chairman who was competent and courageous.
“Mr Ambassador, you occupied a position at a very strategic time in Nigeria’s history and I hope our historians will record this because it meant so much for our stability.
“I hope you write a book on your experience in Nigeria. The commitment of U.S. in supporting Nigeria has been unprecedented, ’’ the president said.
He also thanked the Americans for their military, intelligence and humanitarian support to Nigeria on the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency fight.
He said Nigeria also valued U.S.’ contributions to promoting regional peace and stability through the instrumentality of the G7.
Buhari also received in audience the outgoing High Commissioner of Canada to Nigeria, Amb. Perry Calderwood.
The president commended Canada’s humanitarian assistance to Nigerians displaced by the insurgency in the Northeast and its commitment to polio eradication in Nigeria.
He highlighted the Federal Government’s effort to facilitate voluntary return of displaced persons in addition to ensuring that conditions in North-eastern Nigeria improved significantly before the next farming season.
In separate remarks, Entwistle and Calderwood expressed concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Northeast with looming reports of food crisis and malnutrition.
Entwistle said the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. had remained very vibrant and cordial.
“I had a marvellous three and a half years in Nigeria and I am grateful to have been involved in the memorable elections in 2015,’’ he said.
On his part, Calderwood conveyed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s desire to strengthen ties with Nigeria in Canada’s quest for partnership on international engagements, including its bid for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council in 2021 to 2022.