President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja Saturday for N’Djamena, capital of Chad Republic to participate in the Extraordinary Session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, CEN-SAD.
A statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), which announced the trip, noted that Nigeria joined the current 29-member regional economic community, which was created by the Treaty of Tripoli on February 4, 1998 with six founding members, in 2001. The body seeks mainly to create a free trade area in Africa, as well as “strengthen peace, security and stability, and achieve global economic and social development of its members.”
In another development, President Buhari has told the outgoing Ambassador of Equatorial Guinea, Mr Job Obiang Esono Mbengono that Nigeria will always cooperate with her neighbors and lend helping hand as necessary.
Receiving the outgoing Ambassador of Equatorial Guinea, Mr Job Obiang Esono Mbengono, at a farewell audience in State House, Abuja Friday, the President said Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea have always identified with each other, “and we will continue to maintain good neighborliness.”
According to a statement by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), the President spoke to Mbengono when he received him at a farewell audience in State House, Abuja Friday, saying that Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea have always identified with each other, “and we will continue to maintain good neighborliness.”
The extraordinary meeting of CEN-SAD, which holds on Saturday at the Radisson Blu Hotel, N’Djamena, will be attended by delegations from 22 member-nations.
President Buhari and other regional leaders will join their host and current Chairperson of CEN-SAD Conference, President Idriss Deby Itno to deliberate, among others, on political and security issues, state of peace and ways to address multifaceted threats in the CEN-SAD area especially Boko Haram and refugees; and make a declaration on the entry into force of CEN-SAD revised Treaty intended to fast track the realisation of the objectives of the body.
During the opening Session of the Conference, special Awards will be given to Heads of State and Military contingents in Mali, Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic and in the Lake Chad Basin.
President Buhari will be accompanied to the CEN-SAD meeting by Governors Kashim Shettima, Akinwunmi Ambode and Adegboyega Oyetola of Borno, Lagos and Osun States respectively.
Others include: Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Interior, Lt-Gen Adulrahman Danbazau (rtd); Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen Mansur Dan Ali (rtd); National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen. Mohammed Monguno (rtd); Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mohammed Babandede; and the Federal Commissioner for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Sadiya Umar Farouq.
The President will return to the country at the end of the Conference on Saturday.
At the State House reception for Mbengono, President Buhari said he was happy that the outgoing Ambassador, who spent nine years in the country, “settled and understood our people and culture quite well.”
Ambassador Mbengono said Nigeria made great impact on his life, as he learnt a lot “about this big and important country,” adding that the people were very friendly and warm.
Congratulating President Buhari on his re-election, he said: “Nigeria is in good hands, and we are happy.”
The Ambassador also conveyed the best wishes of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo to the Nigerian leader.