President Muhammadu Buhari and the visiting German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, yesterday in Abuja signed a bilateral agreement to deepen relations between Nigeria and Germany.
The agreement will see the German car Volkswagen manufactured in Nigeria.
This was disclosed during a joint press briefing conducted by the two leaders at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, following Merkel’s state visit to Nigeria.
Merkel was accompanied on the trip by top government officials and a business delegation.
In President Buhari’s speech, he frowned at the illegal migration of Nigerians to Europe, adding that the government would, however, repatriate those stuck in foreign countries.
The president wondered why people would defy the harsh desert conditions or the Mediterranean Sea to go abroad in search of greener pastures, recalling that thousands of Nigerians had been retrieved from slavish conditions in foreign countries.
“First, on my country men and women that illegally find their ways to other countries other than Niigeria, l hope you know that ECOWAS protocol includes free movement of persons and goods and services.
“But for those going to Europe, this administration does not support that Nigerians should defy the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean because they feel there are greener pastures there. We do not support anything illegal.
“You must recall that about six weeks ago, we repatriated about 3,000 Nigerians that were stuck in Libya on their way to Europe and you must also have learnt and seen on the television the number of Nigerians lost in the Mediterranean.
“So, for us, this administration is very clear that we do not support anything illegal and anybody who feels that his country does not offer him what he should be offered and decides to defy the Mediterranean is doing so at his own risk. But if found stuck in Libya or anywhere, Nigeria will bring him back home and send him back to his local government.”
The president said Nigeria was grateful to the German government for the fair treatment of migrants.
In a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, President Buhari said his administration would always uphold the sanctity of the rule of law in governing the country, while assuring German Chancellor Angel Merkel that all agreements will be fully respected.
In his remarks during a bilateral meeting, the president said that unity and harmony in every society could only be preserved by observing the rule of law and ensuring that agreements reached in good faith are followed through to the mutual benefit of countries, just as he gave assurance that his administration remains focused on delivering a peaceful, economically viable and politically stable polity to all Nigerians.
President Buhari said Nigeria looks forward to improving its trade figures with Germany, which had taken strong interest in investing in the country and supporting the government in providing effective services in security, education and creation of jobs.
The president said Nigeria was politically stable, urging German investors to take advantage of the friendly climate.
“I enjoin you to invest in Nigeria because this is the best time to do so,’’ he added.
President Buhari noted that the successful political transitions since 1999 were clear indications of the country’s stability and preparedness to welcome more investments that will bolster the economy.
In her remarks at the meeting, Chancellor Merkel said Germany was prepared to further strengthen bilateral and business relations with Nigeria, which, according to her, controls 60 per cent of ECOWAS economy.
The German Chancellor said the population growth and opportunities in the economy can always be explored to improve the employment situation in the country.
She said the three Memoranda of Understanding signed during the visit represent a starting point for a healthier and deeper partnership with Nigeria in areas of security, trade, immigration and education.
LEADERSHIP Weekend reports that the federal government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Volkswagen of South Africa for the manufacturing of Volkswagen vehicles in Nigeria.
Also, Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc) signed an MoU with Petkus Technologies GMBH for the supply of seed and grain processing machines, while the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture also signed an MoU with German African Business Association on fostering trade and investment.