President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday in Istanbul said the Nigeria-Pakistan Joint Commission will be revamped as a veritable platform to strengthen economic and trade relations between both countries.
President Buhari, a statement by Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant (Media & Publicity) said, gave the assurance at a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Shahid Khakan Abbasi, on the margins of the ninth D-8 summit in Istanbul, Turkey.
The President, who expressed satisfaction at the level of defence and military cooperation between both countries, however agreed with the Prime Minister that there was still room to do more.
He regretted that same could not be said on the economic and trade fronts, which he said had fallen far short of what can be achieved by both countries.
”Nigeria-Pakistan cooperation is very historical. Military training has been very consistent and I am impressed by the efficiency of officers trained in Pakistan.
”But the performance of our countries in relation to trade and industrial cooperation had been very disappointing,’’ President Buhari said.
While noting that Nigeria had failed to use past earnings to create a commensurate level of socio-economic development, the President assured that his administration had identified the problems, and was ardently working to promote national development through international trade, industrial growth and the improvement of infrastructure.
He then urged Pakistan to take full advantage of the new climate of investment promoted by his administration.
”There are a lot of opportunities, for us to harness, in the manufacturing sector, agriculture, commerce, solar energy and the electricity sector,” the President said.
On the fight against terrorism, President Buhari told the Pakistani Prime Minister that Boko Haram terrorist group remains degraded.
”We have moved them out from their strongholds in the North East, we have denied them space and even their attacks on soft targets are becoming less often.
”Even the opposition [party] recognises that there is a considerable improvement of security in the North East,” he said.
In his remarks, Abbasi said both countries had similar prospects and challenges, including large population, key regional players in economy and security; the fight against terrorism, improving governance and the domestic economy.
He said Pakistan will continue to share experiences with Nigeria in the fight against terrorism towards developing effective strategies and results.
In line with this promise, the Pakistani Prime Minister presented a manual on strategy and tactics of dealing with terrorism to the President, which he said, had been put together by his country’s army.
On the Joint Commission, which next meeting falls on Pakistan to convene, the Prime Minister said his country is now ready, adding that he would personally receive the Nigerian delegation any time.
He also requested President Buhari to undertake a state visit to Pakistan at the earliest possible time.
In another development, President Muhammadu Buhari, speaking at a bilateral meeting with President Alpha Conde of Guinea on Friday night in Istanbul, Turkey, has said that African leaders must speak ‘with one voice’, independent of foreign influence, to achieve economic integration, development, peace, and security on the continent.
President Buhari said leaders should learn from history to effectively tackle conflicts, violent extremism, and proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
The two Presidents, who met on the margins of the ninth D8 Summit in Istanbul, exchanged views on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.
President Buhari assured his Guinean counterpart, who is also the current Chairman of AU that Nigeria would continue to strengthen its engagement with all AU member states to address current security challenges in restive areas such as South Sudan and Libya, and the political crisis in Togo.
In his remarks, Conde praised Nigeria’s leadership on the continent, particularly President Buhari’s great job on anti-corruption and his strong voice on African issues at the international stage.
The Guinean leader stressed the need for Guinea and Nigeria to accelerate economic cooperation, particularly in the natural resources sector, where Guinea boasts of 25 percent or more of the world’s known bauxite reserves.