According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Tuesday, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President was conferred with the national honour in Malabo, on Monday, for his personal integrity, exemplary leadership style and courage to fight terrorism in order to ensure peace and safety in Africa.
The honour of “Gran Collar De La Orden De La Independencia” translated “Grand Collar of the Order of the Independence” was said to have been conferred on Buhari by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea at the Presidential Palace.
At the investiture ceremony, Buhari reportedly said the recognition was for the people of Nigeria who had worked tirelessly to sustain peace in the country and across other neighbouring countries in Africa.
“On behalf of my country, Nigeria, and the people, I will like to express profound gratitude for the honour given to me and my people. The reality of the situation now is that there had never been a time in history for greater neighbourliness, for security and economic stability than now,” he said.
The President said the challenges faced by African countries had a common thread, and must be collectively appraised and jointly tackled by all the African countries.
Buhari assured the people that Nigeria would always support efforts of ensuring socio-political and economic stability of its neighbours and the entire African continent.
Earlier in his remarks, Mbasogo said it was an honour for his country to confer the Highest National Honour on Buhari on his first visit to the country.
“We are here to recognise the son of the soil. On this occasion, we deem it fit and appropriate to decorate the son of Africa for the great work he is doing in Africa, which includes tackling a great menace to the continent, Boko Haram,” he said.
The President pledged his country’s support to Nigeria in the fight against insurgency and other security challenges.
Meanwhile, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, Tuesday, in Malabo signed an agreement on the establishment of a combined Maritime Policing and Security Patrol Committee.
The conclusion and signing of the agreement is expected to enhance security in the Gulf of Guinea and help in curbing maritime crimes such as piracy, crude oil theft, sabotage of oil rigs and arms smuggling.
According to a communiqué issued at the end of President Buhari’s visit to Malabo, both countries also agreed to discuss greater cooperation on oil and gas production and a bilateral trade agreement.
It was further agreed that the Nigeria-Equatorial Guinea Joint Commission will be revived from its present state of dormancy and empowered to play its proper role in the strengthening of bilateral relations between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea.
President Muhammadu Buhari and President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo expressed satisfaction with the atmosphere of trust and solidarity that now exists between their countries.
In their talks during the two-day visit, the two leaders discussed sub-regional, regional and international issues including terrorism, violent extremism and the state of the global economy, especially as it affects Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea.
They also discussed the crises in some African countries and efforts by the African Union to achieve peace, stability and progress across the continent.
President Buhari who has since returned to Abuja thanked President Mbasogo and the people of Equatorial Guinea for the warm reception given to him and his delegation during the visit.