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Why Buhari was awarded Nigerien highest national honor – President Issoufou

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Outgoing President of Niger Republic Mahamadou Issoufou said his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari was given Nigerien highest honour for his ‘fraternity’ and ‘patriotism’.

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Issoufou made the remark after Buhari with the Grand Croix Des Ordre National Du Niger in Abuja on Tuesday.

The Nigerien president, according to a statement by Nigeria’s presidential spokesman Femi Adesina, thanked Buhari and all Nigerians for the support he received as leader of his country for ten years, particularly during his time as Chairman of ECOWAS, describing Nigeria as a “second home”.

Issoufou said the highest national award of his country was bestowed on President Buhari because of his “fraternity, vigour, patriotism and determination to move Africa forward, starting from the West Coast.”

Buhari congratulated Issoufou, for the completion of his second tenure, and winning the prestigious 2020 Mo Ibrahim prize for Achievement in African Leadership, describing him as a worthy African leader.

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The Nigeria president said his first visit after swearing-in in 2015 was to the Niger Republic, noting that the choice of a neighbouring country underscored the value and quality of relations between both countries.

“Nigeria-Niger relations are based on a long common border and shared cultural and historical roots,” Buhari said. “Relations between the two countries have, over the years, been very cordial and fraternal. There is a spirit of good neighbourliness between us.

“Nigeria’s borders with Niger have always been largely peaceful. There have been no serious border conflicts between the two countries.

“Each country has based its diplomatic relations upon non-interference in the internal affairs of the other. It is therefore gratifying to state that Niger has remained one of the most trusted and reliable neighbours of Nigeria.”

Buhari stated that the cultural similarity between both countries, which include common languages such as Hausa, Kanuri and Fulfude and a common border of one thousand five hundred (1500) kilometres, further strengthened good relations, adding that Nigeria and Niger “refused to be divided and alienated by the artificial borders imposed by the former colonial powers.’’

While congratulating the Niger Republic’s President-elect, Mohamed Bazoum, for winning the elections, Buhari urged him to build on the achievements of his predecessor in office.


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