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Friday, 5 June 2015
African leaders attend Buhari inaugurationUK’s Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond explained that the broader cooperation would be because of a confidence in the ability of President Buhari to push for the rank and file of the Nigerian military not to abuse, but respect human rights in the fight against terrorism.
South African President, Jacob Zuma, Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe and Ghanaian President, John Dramani Mahama led several African heads of state to the Eagle Square to witness the swearing of Muhammadu Buhari as the President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola, and Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger Republic were also in attendance.
The United States Secretary of States, John Kerry represented President Barack Obama of the United States, while British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond represented Prime Minister David Cameron.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has said it plans to pursue a broader security cooperation with Nigeria in the fight against terrorist sect, Boko Haram under the new administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Such broader cooperation would include intelligence sharing with the military and provision of surveillance to track the terrorists.
Briefing newsmen after a meeting with President Buhari on Friday, Hammond explained that the UK was now committed to helping Nigeria tackle challenges, in a manner that was difficult before now.
He listed such challenges to include security, diversifying the economy from a reliance on oil, tackling corruption, ensuring that the security agencies respect human rights, and others.
Although the security situation in the North East is much better than it was before due to the cooperation with Nigeria’s neighbours, Hammond noted that it was necessary to crush the terrorist sect.
“Clearly there is a great atmosphere of expectations and there are great expectations for the future…we have always said Nigeria should be the powerhouse of Africa,” he said adding that the UK looks forward to working with Buhari as it did with his predecessors.
The Foreign Secretary noted that there are high expectations that the new President would particularly tackle corruption headlong as it remains a scourge that sucks wealth out of the country. Commenting on the capital intensive High Commission being constructed, Hammond described it as a sign of Britain’s long term commitment to Nigeria.