Buhari: we’ll keep backing Guinea-Bissau

President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged his administration’s support to the government of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, in whatever capacity that would be useful.

Buhari, who spoke yesterday at Guinea-Bissau’s 47th Independence Anniversary, at the 24 de Setembro National Stadium, Bissau, also noted that the peace and prosperity would be of immense benefit to both West Africa and the entire African continent.

He attended the event along with the Heads of State and Government of Senegal, Mauritania and Burkina Faso, according to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.

Speaking at the event, Buhari said he was proud of the support Nigeria provided to past electoral processes in the West African country’s commendable efforts to entrench democracy.

‘‘This support can only be increased under my tenure,’’ he said.

The President also placed on record Nigeria’s contribution of troops under the auspices of ECOWAS Mission in Guinea Bissau (ECOMIB), noting that they played an important role in maintaining peace and security.

Congratulating President Umaro Sissocco Embalo, the government and people of Guinea Bissau on the 47th Independence anniversary, the Nigerian leader said it was his sincere hope and prayer that Guinea-Bissau and its people will continue to grow in strength and prosperity.

He also expressed good wishes for greater achievements in the years ahead for the West African country.

President Buhari said:  ‘‘I feel delighted because this is my first official visit to Guinea Bissau since my assumption of office in 2015 and because I am here to join you , brotherly people of Guinea Bissau, as you celebrate this great day with renewed hope and aspiration.

‘‘I am truly grateful for the warm reception accorded me and my delegation, since our arrival in this city.

‘‘As you mark your freedom as a nation “free forever’, let me seize this opportunity to salute all Bissau Guineans both at home as well as in the Diaspora, for the strides you have made as a country. Permit me to say Parabens! Congratulations!’’

Buhari recounted that on September 10, 1974 Guinea Bissau declared its independence from Portugal, after a protracted struggle for freedom, which brought Portuguese colonisation to an end.

‘‘It is fitting on this august occasion to remember your forebears and to celebrate them for the sacrifices they made for you to be free.

‘‘The highest tribute we can pay them is to build on the gains of independence. It is my sincere prayer that your country will continue on the path of national cohesion, growth and unity,’’ he said.

On the return to democracy in the West African country, Buhari noted that in the aftermath of the peaceful presidential elections in 2019, which ushered in the present administration of President Embalo, Guinea Bissau had a great opportunity to unleash the great economic potential of this country.

Balogun Damilola