President Muhammadu Buhari says the country is ‘nervously monitoring’ the proceedings of Brexit.
The president made this statement on Wednesday when Theresa May, British prime minister, paid him a visit in the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock, Abuja.
In his remarks, Buhari said Nigeria and the United Kingdom will continue to enhance their cooperation in tackling corruption and reducing poverty.
“Madam Theresa, I welcome you most sincerely to Nigeria and I am very grateful to the British government under your leadership for the help you are giving us in the area of security,” he said.
“I also thank you very much for the improvement in trade relationship between us since you assumed office.
“We are nervously watching developments about Brexit because we know that relationship has been on since 1938 and people are here looking at the opportunities in education, businesses and so on and I assure you that we will take the necessary steps to improve on the trade relationship between our two countries.”
On her part, May said the UK needs to seek more economic ties to Nigeria after exiting the European Union.
“As you have said, we already have very good cooperation between the UK and Nigeria which include education, defence, security and trade relations,” she said.
“We are ready to cooperate together on global and regional issues; to strengthen that cooperation and partnership, I have with me a business delegation, as we look to enhance our ties in future and explore more trading opportunities.
“We will also be looking to work together to step up efforts against security threats from Boko Haram, human trafficking and the likes. And of course, also cooperate to fight corruption and lifting people out of poverty.
“I am pleased that I am going to visit Lagos as well because as far as our partnership is working, we are doing well in Nigeria. We look forward to enhancing this relationship in the future.”
Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, said the defence and security pact will not be limited to the military.
“Coming out of the European Union, they feel freer now to engage with countries on a bilateral level and build up trade relations with those countries,” he said referring to the Economic Development Forum
“For us, this also fits into our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan where Mr President has put forward a roadmap that is really transforming this country. So this partnership is a framework that is very key to our Economic Growth and Development Plan.”