…As Senate President urges strengthened partnership between Nigeria, U.S***
Economy, military assistance, countering extremism and terrorism were highlighted at a meeting between Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and his American counterpart, Mike Pence, at the White House, Washington, D.C.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, said both leaders at a meeting held on Wednesday, affirmed the mutual benefit inherent in a deeper bilateral relationship.
Both vice presidents, in their discussion on economy, military assistance and other issues, affirmed the need for continuous observation of the rule of law.
They also acknowledged Nigeria’s pride of place on the African continent and America’s reputed global leadership.
“Issues discussed at the nearly hour-long meeting and interactions between the two leaders include how to counter extremism, the threat of global terrorism, and the continuous observation of the rule of law, among others.
“While both leaders agreed on the need to strengthen the economy and markets generally, Osinbajo added that the US is a natural ally of Nigeria, as Nigeria and US have many things in common.’’
Osinbajo said that Nigeria, being the largest economy in Africa, offered great opportunities to US investors.
He said that his visit to the White House was to further deepen the relationship between the two nations and their people.
In their discussions on economic matters, Pence described Nigeria as a great country.
“Nigeria is a great country with a history of 200 million people; that’s a great nation. I want to see Nigeria prospering more.
“I am grateful that you reached out, the door is open for more dialogue.”
Pence urged Nigeria to continue to pursue market reforms in the economy and encourage an independent judiciary, adding that the rule of law would contribute to Nigeria’s future.
Both leaders also discussed Nigeria’s economic diversification efforts, during which Osinbajo spoke on how Nigeria was deepening the manufacturing industry and reforming the power sector to allow for more investors.
Osinbajo appreciated the support of USAID through its Power Africa initiative that was helping Nigeria to further open the space in the power sector.
On security challenges and military assistance, Osinbajo thanked the Trump administration for its support on the purchase order for the Tucano aircrafts, stressing that such military equipment would help Nigeria in the battle against terrorism and insurgency.
On government’s efforts to secure the release of Leah Sharibu, Osinbajo expressed the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to continue to negotiate for her release and that of the remaining abducted Chibok girls.
“Over 100 of the Chibok girls that were abducted even before President Buhari came into government have been released under the Buhari administration.
“Most of the Chibok girls, 90 per cent of them were also Christians,’’ Osinbajo said.
Pence, on his part, appreciated the efforts of the Nigerian government and offered US’s support in ensuring the release of others still abducted.
“I appreciate the perspective on Leah Sharibu; I am aware of the sensitive nature of her plight,” Pence said.
In the meantime, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has called for strengthened partnership between Nigeria and the United States (US) in all sectors, especially in the fight against insurgency in the North-East.
Lawan made the call on Thursday in Abuja during the 243rd independence anniversary of the USA organized by the U.S Embassy in Abuja.
Lawan said that there were several areas for both countries to build on their collaborations and partnerships, adding that Nigerians should learn from the successes of the United States post 243 years of independence.
He urged Nigerians to learn to live together in spite of their differences, ethnicity and religion just like the U.S.
“How the Americans were able to live for 243 years, using their power of diversity, every part of Nigeria has something to contribute to national development.
“Nigerians, both within the country outside, are people of determination, very patriotic and loyal.
“I pray and hope that those of us in leadership positions will continue to give the right leadership, we should bring our people together.
“We should ensure that this country remains united and focused, and that rule of law prevails.