Buhari Pledges Support For New AU Chairman, Felix Tshisekedi

President Muhammadu Buhari has attended the ordinary session of the African Union (AU), pledging support for the new Chairman, Felix Tshisekedi.
President Muhammadu Buhari participates in the virtual Ordinary Session of the African Union in Abuja on February 6, 2021. Credit: State House

President Muhammadu Buhari has attended the ordinary session of the African Union (AU), pledging support for the new Chairman, Felix Tshisekedi.

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Tshisekedi is the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He replaces the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa.

This formed part of the outcome of the 34th ordinary session of the union which held on Saturday.

President Buhari participated in the virtual meeting from the Presidential Villa in Abuja and joined by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, and the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, among other top government officials.

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“I will also like to congratulate my brother, President Felix Tshisekedi for his assumption to the chair of our union. We wish you a happy and successful tenure and assure you of Nigeria’s unflinching support,” Buhari said via his Foreign Affairs Minister, Onyeama.

“I express our profound gratitude to my brother, President Cyril Ramaphosa for the outstanding manner in which he has steered the affairs of our union during the last one year.

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“Nigeria, therefore, welcomes the decision to establish the Coronavirus African vaccine Acquisition Task Team to accelerate the financing and procurement of the Coronavirus vaccines for the continent.”

President Buhari also lauded the remarkable progress made by the union with respect to securing a provisional 270 million coronavirus vaccine doses for Africa along with the African Medical Supplies platform and other laudable initiatives already in place.

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While reiterating Nigeria commitment to working with other African countries in the spirit of regional solidarity and cooperation, President Buhari noted that the move would promote common health and general well-being of all Africans.

According to him, the Federal Government would continue to partner with the World Health Organisation, the African Centre for Disease Control, the West African Health Organisation and other health bodies to curbing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The presidents of Egypt, Namibia, Togo, and Botswana, among others, were also in attendance.

See photos below:

President Muhammahu Buhari participates in the virtual Ordinary Session of the African Union in Abuja on February 6, 2021. Credit: State House
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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.