The Chief of Staff (CoS) to President Muhammadu Buhari, Prof Ibrahim Gambari has described the boundaries between Nigeria and her neighbours as artificial.
Gambari, who described Buhari’s foreign policy as “concentric”, said this yesterday at a reception he organised in honour of the two principal officers of the President recently honoured by the President of Niger, Mohammed Bazoum.
Those presidential aides upon whom the Nigerien highest honours were recently conferred on were the State Chief of Protocol (SCOP), Lawal Kazaure and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Household and Domestic Affairs, Sarkin Ada.
According to Gambari, those countries sharing borders with Nigeria, including Cameroon, Benin Republic, Chad and Niger Republic, share the same interests and cultural affinities which bind them together.
He said: “All these boundaries are very much artificial. The Europeans in Congress of Berlin just took a piece of paper and were drawing lines across places where they have never been; they never intended to be, separated people who should be united and uniting people, perhaps, who should be separated.
But the leaders of Africa decided that it’s wise to keep those boundaries artificial as they may be, because to change them other than peacefully, will be creating even more problems than they can solve.
But in any case, whether by those lines whether artificial or not, Niger/ Nigeria share common boundaries, common interests, common concerns with their families across the borders.”
Commenting on Buhari’s foreign policy, the CoS said: “In his (Buhari’s) earlier incarnation, as Head of State, the defining feature of his policies was the concentric circle of Nigerian foreign policy.
That our interests, our efforts, will be concentrated on promoting Nigeria’s interests in concentric circles at the epicentre; the defence of Nigeria’s integrity, the prosperity, the welfare of its people. But next are the neighbouring countries, then West Africa, then Africa, and then the rest of the world.
And he has proved the continuity of Nigeria foreign policy in this sense by the fact that the first countries he visited after being sworn in were the neighbouring countries.”
The State House Permanent Secretary, Tijjani Umar, congratulated the awardees adding that the challenge of COVID-19, climate change and lately, the Russian/Ukraine war have impacted the population negatively and as such, it has become important for countries to watch each other’s back He stressed that the honour conferred on the Presidential aides has further strengthened the bonds between Nigeria and Niger Republic.
The SCOP, who spoke on behalf of his fellow awardee, said the international award was in recognition of the enviable strides made by the President even as he lauded Buhari for exposing them locally and internationally. He thanked the Chief of Staff for organising the reception in their honour.