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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday assured the British Prime Minister, Ms Theresa May, that he was committed to conducting a free, fair and credible election in 2019.
This is as the Nigeria and British governments have signed agreements on Defence and Security and Economic Development to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
Meanwhile the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting that normally takes place every Wednesday did not hold and there was no official explanation from government whether it was to receive the British Prime Minister.
In a bilateral meeting with the visiting Prime Minister which held behind closed-doors at the New Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja, President Buhari welcomed UK’s support at strengthening democratic institutions in the country.
The President in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina said, ‘‘I assure you that I’m all out for free, fair and credible elections. I’m very pleased that my party is doing very well. The High Commissioner will brief you more. The recent successes in polls in Katsina, Bauchi, and Kogi have boosted our morale greatly.
‘‘Nigeria has accepted multiparty democracy and that is putting politicians on their toes, forcing them to work harder.”
President Buhari applauded the support by the British government to the country in the fight against corruption, noting that the success of the fight was very important to ordinary people in the country.
In her remarks, Prime Minister May, who welcomed the assurance by the Nigerian government on credible elections in 2019, said she was pleased to be in Abuja to continue the ‘‘excellent discussions’’ she started with President Buhari in London in April, this year, particularly on security, trade, asset recovery and the fight against corruption. She said, ‘‘Security and defence cooperation are very important steps to address Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa.” On asset recovery, the Prime Minister told President Buhari: ‘‘we do not want to hold anything that belongs to Nigeria people, but we follow the judicial process, which can be slow.’’
The Prime Minister appealed to President Buhari to use his position as ECOWAS Chair to keep the issue of human trafficking on the front burner in the sub-region.
She said the exit of the UK form the European Union, has given the country the opportunity to seek more economic ties with Nigeria.
She pledged that the United Kingdom will assist Nigeria in the fight against terrorism as well as human trafficking.