Again, Buhari Warns Foreign Missions against Interference in Nigeria’s Politics

*Says nation working with ECOWAS to secure region, halt coups 

*Spain to collaborate with Nigeria in insecurity fight 

*Confers posthumous award on late envoy, Seriki 

*Sylva seeks help to tackle insecurity in oil sector

Deji Elumoye, Michael Olugbode and Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

As Nigeria heads to the polls next month, President Muhammadu Buhari has again warned foreign diplomats in the country against meddling in the nation’s politics.
The president gave the warning yesterday, while receiving Letters of Credence from the Ambassadors of Switzerland, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, the Kingdom of Thailand, the Republic of Senegal and the Republic of South Sudan at the State House in Abuja.
The warning from the president came on a day the government of Spain pledged its commitment to help Nigeria tackle the rising state of insecurity across the country.
The Minister of State, Petroleum, Mr. Timipre Sylva, has also said that Nigeria will need the support of Spain in its efforts to curb the security challenges in the country’s oil and gas sector.

Buhari, according to a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina, asked the new foreign diplomats to keep their activities and concerns within the limits of their calling and the reasons for being sent to Nigeria.
“I urge you to be guided by diplomatic practice to ensure that your activities remain within the limits of your profession as you monitor the build-up to the elections and the conduct of the general election itself.
‘‘I wish you all success in your respective tours of duty and at the same time encourage you to take time to enjoy the unique nature and culture at your disposal as you travel across our country,” the president said.

Buhari also told the envoys that Nigeria was working closely with ECOWAS to deal with insecurity in the West African region as well as implementing strategies to contain the spate of unconstitutional changes in governments within the region.
He called for cooperation and collaboration from the countries to overcome challenges in West Africa.
Buhari also invited friendly countries to support Nigeria’s efforts to address the problem of insecurity, fight against corruption, diversification of the economy, and the efforts in promoting good governance.

The president told the ambassadors that Nigeria, no doubt, enjoys very cordial and mutually beneficial bilateral relations and cooperation with their respective countries, commending the roles of their predecessors who demonstrated diligence and commitment to advance these causes.
“I am therefore confident that your appointments are obviously deliberate to build on the successes of your immediate predecessors in order to advance our relations to significant and enviable heights.
“As you settle down to your diplomatic responsibilities, I am hopeful that you will appreciate the political, socio-economic and cultural diversities, which are the hallmarks of the Nigerian nation.

‘‘I encourage you to build friendships and take time to fraternise across the length and breadth of the country, including interfacing with both the public and private sectors in bid to explore areas of mutual benefit to your respective countries and Nigeria.
‘‘Sectors such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, local manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, agribusiness, transportation, solid minerals are areas of particular interest to us and foreign investors alike.

‘‘This will enable us to collectively strive to resuscitate all our countries’ economies in the post pandemic global recovery processes,” he explained.
Buhari also acknowledged the support of the respective countries in his government’s move to deal with kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, drugs and human trafficking, as well as the threats posed by environmental challenges, resulting from climate change in the Lake Chad Region.

He stressed that different factors that accounted for these challenges were beyond the abilities of any single country to effectively contain.
The president emphasised that matters of security have become the business of all nations of the world to work together at both bilateral and multilateral platforms and build consensus in order to overcome these challenges.
The envoys who presented their Letters of Credence were: Nicolas Lang, Switzerland; Annika Hahn Englund, Sweden; Peter Ryan, Ireland; Kitiisak Klomchit, Thailand; Nicolas Nyouky, Senegal, and David Chaot of South Sudan.

Responding on behalf of his colleagues, the Ambassador of Switzerland promised the Nigerian President that they would exercise, ‘‘their functions as Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary with dedication, to the best of their knowledge and belief, and for the mutual benefit of our countries.’’
Wishing Nigeria peaceful, free and fair elections, the Ambassadors extended their goodwill to the president on his remaining days in office.
‘‘We are keenly aware of the importance of Nigeria to the wellbeing of the entire African continent, its role in international politics and its weight in the world economy.

‘‘Each and every one of us is proud to represent his or her country and its interests in this great Federal Republic of Nigeria,’’ Ambassador Lang stated.  
Meanwhile, the government of Spain has pledged its commitment to help Nigeria tackle the rising state of insecurity across the country.
This was made known when the Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, Jose Manuel Albares, led a delegation to the Nigeria Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja, yesterday.
Albares noted that his first visit evolved around bilateral and economic cooperation, adding that the existing relationship between both countries would be improved upon.
The Spanish minister commended efforts so far by the federal government in curbing insecurity, stating that it was ready to extend a helping hand to address the root causes of insecurity.

 “Spain is one of the best clients of Nigeria in the world. Very specifically, we are the second client of Nigeria in the world. We have been one of the largest clients in gas and petroleum for a long time.
“We want to continue to strengthen that energy relationship but the bilateral relationship is getting deeper. Most aspects have been covered.
“Security, is a common challenge to Nigeria and as a country, we want to offer our support to Nigeria in this challenge. We want to express officially our solidarity with Nigeria in the fight against terrorism.

“We commend Nigeria’s efforts in the fight against violence and terrorism and at the same time, we want to help Nigeria address the root causes of these conflicts. We are improving our relationship for the interests of the two countries in many other fields.”
Responding, Onyeama appreciated his counterpart, saying both countries would continue to work together, especially in the area of the economy.
Onyeama said, “We are very close and deep economic partners. Nigeria is one of the primary suppliers of oil and gas and petroleum to Spain. We want to diversify our economic cooperation. Spain is a big player in the European Union and globally, so we want to see increased trade.

“We are particularly delighted as you spoke on insecurity. Not just military security but food security. Spain is a huge investor in Africa in the agricultural sector. Food security and agriculture are major priorities of the Nigerian government. We are delighted to see the cooperation in that area.”
The Spanish government also conferred a posthumous award on the late Nigeria Ambassador to Spain, Ademola Seriki, for the tremendous work towards strengthening Nigeria-Spain relationship.
The award, which was presented by the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, was received by the wife of the late Ambassador, Wosilat Seriki, and his son, Wale Demola-Seriki.

Confirming the award, Onyeama said it was evidence of the great work and tenacity of the late Ambassador in promoting the bilateral relations between both countries.
Onyeama said: “The Honourable Minister came and personally, on behalf of the King of Spain, presented a posthumous award of national honour to late Ambassador Demola Seriki and which was received by his wife Mrs Wosilat Seriki and son, Mr. Wale Demola-Seriki.”
He added that: “This really showed not just the appreciation of the Spanish government for the excellent work that Demola has done as Ambassador of Nigeria to Spain, but also the appreciation of his personal and human qualities.

Sylva Calls for Spain’s Help against Insecurity in Oil Sector

In another development, the Minister of State, Petroleum, Sylva, has said that Nigeria will need the support of Spain in its efforts to curb the security challenges in the country’s oil and gas sector.
Speaking when he received the visiting minister of Foreign Affairs, Spain, Jose Manuel Albares, in Abuja, Sylva described insecurity as the biggest problem besetting the oil sector in Nigeria today.

He noted that since Spain is interested in the country’s gas shipments, it was also necessary to protect the facilities by helping in the deployment of technology to tackle the menace.
In the last few years, Nigeria’s oil production has fallen from a remarkable 2.2 million barrels per day production to about 900,000 barrels per day a couple of months ago.
Sylva stated that Spain remains a good partner to Nigeria, explaining that the country is a customer to the Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) from inception.
“The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) is having a bid round, and with these potential investors, because ordinarily we would have gone to meet them in their country through roadshows to meet the investors, but they are here by themselves. So, this meeting is very important.
“As a country, we need a lot of investment. We need this and Spain can give us a lot of this. This is economic diplomacy. This is important for the economy,” he stated.

As a country, he said Nigeria was focused on developing its massive gas reserves, with over 200 TCF of gas which he stated can be increased to 600TCF.
“To do this, we need investors and Spain is one of the countries we are looking towards. Europe also requires the gas because we are shouting that gas should be part of the conversation. There is a need for us to tarry awhile with gas; so, we need to develop the gas resources.
“We are calling on Spain to support in the area of security because we have a big problem in the oil and gas sector today. The biggest problem we are having today is insecurity and Spain is in a position to also support us in this area in terms of investment in technology. Spain also looks up to us to supply them gas,” he added.
Albares, in his remarks, described Nigeria as a strategic partner which has proven over the years to be trustworthy.

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