Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
French President Emmanuel Macron on a first visit to Nigeria since his election in May 2017, has been conferred with the honorary citizenship of Abuja. Presenting the Key to the City of Abuja to President Macron, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Malam Muhammad Musa Bello stated that it demonstrates the strong friendship and cordial relationship between the people of Nigeria and France.
President Macron’s Boeing 777 Republique Francaise aircraft touched down in the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, at exactly 15.09 hours local time. He was received upon arrival by the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama.
Speaking to newsmen on the visit, the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer, stated that the visit underscores the very strong relationship between France and Nigeria.
Gauer said that France had ongoing security and political partnerships with Nigeria especially in the fight against Boko Haram. He however noted that the current visit would focus on economic and cultural cooperation. He would also dialogue with Nigerian youths.
To this effect, the French President after his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, would proceed to Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital for other aspects of the visit.
In his words, “France has had strong security cooperation with Nigeria with regards to Boko Haram insurgency but the current visit would focus on culture business and youth. He hopes to dialogue with Nigerian youths.”
President Macron, it could be recalled, has been to most francophone countries as well as Ghana. Nigeria is the second anglophone country he is visiting.