Nigeria outlines foreign policy in next 4 years

President Muhammadu Buhari has unveiled nine key priority areas of his second term administration.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, who briefed diplomatic corps in Abuja, yesterday, said the priority areas include building a striving sustainable economy; enlarging agricultural output, food security and export and attaining energy sustenance and power.

Others include expanding transport and other infrastructural products, expanding business growth entrepreneurship and industrialisation, expanding access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigeria, enhancing social inclusion, reducing poverty; fighting corruption,  and improving governance and security for all.

In the first term of the present administration, government’s priority was in three key areas: fighting corruption, tackling insecurity and job creation.

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He said Nigeria’s foreign policy would henceforth be realistic in terms of reflecting the domestic reality of putting Nigeria first.

“We promote within the African Union (AU) good governance, democracy, and protection of human rights.

“We are not in any kind of conflict with any country in the whole world and we have excellent relations with every member state of AU and UN.

“We believe firmly that peaceful coexistence and security are pre-conditions for economic development and prosperity.

“We believe that UN and multilateralism are forces for good. We strongly support the UN, although we call for its reform especially to increase the number of its permanent members in its security council to include at least three African countries with veto powers.”

The minister said more funds should be made available for UN peace-keeping operations.

Onyeama, who said the UN was doing a great job across many countries of the world, urged such countries to continue to abide by UN resolutions not choosing which ones to respect and which not to respect.

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He condemned the use of force for the settlement of disputes and expressed strong support for institutions such as the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court for International conflict resolution.

He said international trade and economic diplomacy were the main focus of “our foreign policy.

“We have to expand our trade; we have to innovate; we have to industrialise in order to lift our peoples out of poverty. We are striving to increase bilateral trade with all your countries very often within the framework of a bilateral commission.”

The minister disclosed that the ministry was building an online business machine portal to promote and facilitate cross-border trade.

He said global climate action has posed a lot of threat to lives, insisting that the Lake Chad, which had been a major source of livelihood for more than 30 million people, had shrunk by 90 per cent due to climate change.

On border closure, the minister said the issue would be resolved soon and that it would create a win-win situation for stakeholders.

Meanwhile, President Buhari has vowed to sustain ongoing efforts to end child marriage and improve girl-child education in the country. He made the vow at the official commissioning of the Head office of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs in Abuja.

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Nigeria in Abuja on November 29, 2016, alongside the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa, launched a national strategy with a vision to end child marriage in Nigeria by 2030.

Tagged “The National Strategic Plan to End Child Marriage in Nigeria 2016-2021”  it aims to highlight the multi-sectoral, multifaceted activities needed to end child marriage in Nigeria.

The strategy is based on the premise of a coordination platform led by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and co-chaired by Save the Children.

According to President Buhari, it is the collective duty of all to ensure that mothers of today and tomorrow are educated, encouraged and empowered.

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