The Presidency yesterday described the boundaries between Nigeria and her neighbors as artificial.
The Chief of Staff President Muhammad Buhari, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, stated this when he honored two of the president’s staff who were recently honored by the President of Niger Republic, Mohammed Bazoum.
Prof. Gambari at the reception that was held in the State House, described Buhari’s foreign policy as a concentric circle.
Those Presidential aides upon whom the Nigerien highest honor was recently conferred were the State Chief of Protocol (SCOP), Lawal Kazaure, and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Household and Domestic Affairs, Sarkin Ada.
Gambari said that those countries sharing borders with Nigeria, including Cameroon, Benin Republic, Chad, and the Niger Republic, share the same interests and cultural affinities which bind them together.
According to him, “All these boundaries are very much artificial. The Europeans in Congress of Berlin just took a piece of paper and were drawing lines across places where they have never been; they never intended to be, separating people who should be united and uniting people, perhaps, who should be separated.
“But the leaders of Africa decided that it’s wise to keep those boundaries artificial as they may be because to change them other than peacefully, will be creating even more problems than they can solve. But in any case, whether by those lines, whether artificial or not, Niger/Nigeria share common boundaries, common interests, common concerns their families across the borders.”
Commenting on Buhari’s foreign policy, Prof. Gambari said “in his (Buhari’s) earlier incarnation, as Head of State, the defining feature of his policies was a concentric circle of Nigerian foreign policy. That our interests, our efforts, will be concentrated on promoting Nigeria’s interests in concentric circles at the epicenter; the defense of Nigeria’s integrity, prosperity, the welfare of its people.
“But next is the neighboring countries, then West Africa, then Africa, and then the rest of the world. And he has proved the continuity of Nigeria’s foreign policy in this sense by the fact that the first countries he visited after being sworn in, were the neighboring countries.”.
Speaking at the occasion, the State House Permanent Secretary, Tijjani Umar, congratulated the awardees adding that the challenge of COVID-19, climate change, and lately, the Russian/Ukraine war have impacted the population negatively and as such, it has become important for countries to watch each other’s back.
He stressed that the honor conferred on the Presidential aides has further strengthened the bonds between Nigeria and the Niger Republic.