IBADAN, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- The Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Gambari, has said Niger Republic, Chad, and similar neighbouring nations are part of Nigeria.
According to Mr Gambari, the neighbouring nations were “artificially” removed from Nigeria by European colonial governments.
Last year, President Buhari justified his regime’s decision to spend $1.9 billion on a rail project to the Niger Republic, saying, “I have cousins, family members, etc., in (the) Niger Republic. I shouldn’t just cut them off.”
Speaking at a reception organised to honour two principal officers of President Buhari recently honoured by the Niger Republic President Mohammed Bazoum, Mr Gambari stressed that “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,” explained Mr Gambari. “But the leaders of Africa decided that it’s wise to keep those boundaries, artificial as they may be.”
He added, “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.”
Mr Gambari pointed out that his principal as a military Head of State, had preferred to focus his regime’s foreign policy on the Niger Republic and other African nations.
“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, prosperity, the welfare of its people,” said Mr Gambari. “But next are the neighbouring countries, then West Africa, then Africa, and then the rest of the world.”
Mr Buhari demonstrated this, according to the presidential chief of staff, by “the fact that the first countries he visited after being sworn in were the neighbouring countries.”
The Nigerien highest honours were recently conferred on President Buhari’s chief of protocol, Lawal Kazaure, and senior special assistant on household and domestic affairs, Sarkin Ada.