Merkel, Buhari exchange pleasantries, laud individual efforts
•EU, Germany invest N22.8b in renewable energy
Outgoing German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, yesterday, exchanged pleasantries with President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Nigerian leader had concluded his address at the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States last week observing: “Let me close my statement by paying a special tribute to a great and humane internationalist and an exemplary practitioner of multilateralist cooperation. I am speaking of Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Federal Republic of Germany. As she exits the stage, we wish her well.”
In a telephone chat yesterday, the German thanked President Buhari for his kind words and felicitations, wishing him greater successes in the challenging task of leading Nigeria and its roughly 200 million people.
The President was full of appreciation for the cooperation Germany showed Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region at large.
He particularly mentioned the support for the project to recharge Lake Chad, through inter-basin water transfer, which would alleviate the plight of about 30 million people.
Buhari applauded Merkel’s initiatives on the rehabilitation of refugees and assistance to developing nations.
Buhari said German companies, including Julius Berger and Siemens, were doing well in the country, adding that the Federal Government was doing a lot to improve infrastructure.
On insecurity, the President said a lot was being done to stabilise the situation, lauding nations that have been of help.
He added that much had been achieved in the areas of agriculture and food security, with the resultant stoppage of massive food importation.
IN a related development, the European Union (EU) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have announced that some €48 million (N22.8 billion) is being invested in the country to continue the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP) till 2022.
Aiming to address loopholes in renewable energy and energy efficiency, the initiative, currently going on in about 22 states, is bedeviled by insecurity in the northern region.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja to announce the extension of the programme, Head of Corporation at EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Cecile Tassin-Pelzer, disclosed that the first phase gulped €24.5 million, with the EU and BMZ contributing €15.5 million and €9 million.
She said: “The programme is a notable example of efficient cooperation among the EU and the Nigerian partners, bringing tangible results to the country.”