The government of Spain has pledged its commitment to help Nigeria tackle the rising state of insecurity across the country.
This was made known when the Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, Jose Manuel Albares, led a delegation to the Nigeria Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja on Thursday.
Albares noted that his first visit evolves around bilateral and economic cooperation, adding that the existing relationship between both countries will be improved upon.
The Spanish minister commended the efforts so far by the Federal government in curbing insecurity, stating that it is ready to extend a helping hand to address the root causes of insecurity.
He said “Nigeria is one of the great regional actors, the first economy of the continent and an absolute pillar to ECOWAS. My visit is to give a new impetus to the relationship that is already strong and restate the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Spain in which five Memorandum of Understandings were signed and three treaties on judicial cooperation. Thanks to the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs as the visit was a success.
“My visit today, firstly, is on bilateral cooperation in which we have been working successfully. The economic field and cooperation is the absolute centre of our relationship. Spain is one of the best clients of Nigeria in the world. Very specifically, we are the second client of Nigeria in the world. We have been one of the largest clients in gas and petroleum for a long time. We want to continue to strengthen that energy relationship but the bilateral relationship is getting deeper. Most aspects have been covered.
“Security, is a common challenge to Nigeria and as a country, we want to offer our support to Nigeria in this challenge. We want to express officially our solidarity with Nigeria in the fight against terrorism. We commend Nigeria’s efforts in the fight against violence and terrorism and at the same time, we want to help Nigeria address the root causes of these conflicts. We are improving our relationship for the interests of the two countries in many other fields.”
Responding, the Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister appreciated his counterpart, saying that both countries will continue to work together, especially in the area of the economy.
Onyeama said, “We are very close and deep economic partners. Nigeria is one of the primary suppliers of oil and gas and petroleum to Spain. We want to diversify our economic cooperation. Spain is a big player in the European Union and globally, so we want to see increased trade. We are particularly delighted as you spoke on insecurity. Not just military security but food security.
“Spain is a huge investor in Africa in the agricultural sector. Food security and agriculture are major priorities of the Nigerian government. We are delighted to see the cooperation in that area.
“We are delighted in the cooperation that we have in addressing insurgency and terrorism in the Sahel. We will continue to work together alongside the global community to address the security challenges we are facing in our sub-region.”