President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said that Nigerians are eagerly looking forward to investments in the power sector “that will illuminate their homes and stimulate businesses”.
He said this while receiving German and Ethiopian diplomats, Birgitt Ory and Azanaw Tadesse Abreha shortly after signing an agreement with a German company, Siemens , to boost Nigeria’s power sector.
The president’s comment, coming amidst growing agitation by Nigerians over periodic power failures, was conveyed via a statement by a presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina.
Nigeria with a population of 180 million has continued to generate only a fraction of the electricity it needs, as the country’s electricity output remains poor due to technical and operational encumbrances.
Receiving a ‘Letter of Credence’ from the German Ambassador, President Buhari described the agreement Nigeria signed with the foreign company as “most welcoming” for the country’s power sector, assuring that his government will honor the terms of the contract.
The president said, “the country remains grateful to Germany for humanitarian interventions in the North East for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and the visit of the Chancellor, Angela Merkel, to Nigeria in August 2018, which further strengthened bi-lateral relations.”
He said Nigeria looks forward to partnerships that will be mutually beneficial to both countries.
In her remarks, the German envoy said it was a great privilege to serve in Nigeria, which she said had always been her aspiration.
She described the country as “the biggest and most important country in Africa’’.
“When I came to Nigeria last year in May, which was also my first time in Africa, as soon as I stepped out of the plane, I said this is where I will like to work,’’ she reportedly said.
Mrs Ory congratulated Nigeria for holding two key positions in the United Nations – Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, and President of the UN General Assembly, Tijani Mohammad-Bande – saying the country’s rising global profile reflects its pivotal role in Africa and West African region.
The official assured the president that she will work towards improved relations between both countries, commending him for Nigeria’s role in ECOWAS, with renewed focus on economy and security.
President Buhari, while receiving a Letter of Credence from the Ethiopian Ambassador, Mr Abreha, encouraged diplomats to stay longer in the country in order to understand the dynamics of the culture, economy and landscape, noting that “Nigeria is big and versatile and requires a longer period of stay to be understood’’.
“With your staff at the embassy, you need to stay longer and move around to really appreciate the country,’’ he noted.
The president said the bilateral relations with Ethiopia had been steady and rewarding for both countries, urging the ambassador to further strengthen the bond.
The Ethiopian ambassador said he will promote strategic relations between Nigeria and his country, promising to take “the relations to the highest level’’ of mutual respect.