Buhari explains trip to Liberia

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By Abdullahi Mohammed, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari would depart Abuja Tuesday for Monrovia, Liberia, to attend the 175th independence anniversary celebrations of the country.The President, who will be the Special Guest of Honour at the event, joins other world leaders and organisations to rejoice with the people of Liberia at the event with the theme: “Fostering Unity, Protecting Our Peace for Development and Prosperity.

”Nigeria played a leading role in the stabilisation of the West African nation in the early 90s, leading to the establishment of democratic rule and has continued to assist the country in many ways especially through the Technical Aids Corps scheme.In 2019, the President was conferred with the highest national honour in the country, the Grand Cordon in the Most Venerable Order of Knighthood of the Pioneers of the Republic of Liberia, in recognition of Nigeria’s continued support towards the development of the country.

The President, who will be accompanied on the trip by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, is expected back in the country later on the same day, Tuesday.Justifying the the President’s presence at the event, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Mr Garba Shehu said in a a statement in Abuja that the trip signifies the importance attached to the security and wellbeing of Liberia and the rest of West Africa.

The statement reads: “On this day, Liberia marks a Special Independence anniversary, commemorating 175 years of self-rule, with the country being the oldest independent post-colonial African State. President Buhari is the Special Guest of Honour at the celebration and will deliver an address.

 “The trip to Liberia comes at a time when political instability and the return of coups-d’état have upended two to three decades of democratic order in the sub-region.“Liberia, Sierra-Leone along with Nigeria are going into elections in 2023 and President Buhari is expected to emphasize to them the importance of free, fair and credible elections.

“The President is expected to stress the importance of the respect for rule of law rule throughout the sub-region. Without rule of Law and constitutional rule, there cannot be security peace and development.“Peace and security of Liberia (and Sierra-Leone) is important to Nigeria given the enormous investments in men, material and resources expended by this country to secure the two states. Without the leadership of Nigeria in the context of ECOWAS to secure these two, there would not have been a Liberia on the map in its present configuration today.“Bilaterally, Nigeria and Liberia may bring to the table issues of cross-border terrorism, bolstering defence and trade ties.

“The warmth of the relationship and personal chemistry between President Buhari and George Weah of Liberia is no less significant and will play a key role in the events of tomorrow.”