President Bola Tinubu arrived Guinea Bissau for the 63rd ordinary session of the authority of heads of state and government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), using the opportunity to visit the Nigerian contingent stationed in Guinea Bissau under the ECOWAS Stabilisation Force.
This is Mr Tinubu’s second foreign trip after his participation at the summit on “A New Global Financing Pact” in Paris, France, hosted by President Emmanuel Macron.
In his address, the President commended the soldiers and their Commander, Gen. Al-hassan Grema, for their dedication and service to Nigeria and their host country, adding that Nigeria would continue to support democracy in West Africa and around the world.
“I am here to show solidarity with you. I want to assure you we are committed to support peace and democracy not only in West Africa but around the world.
“Nigeria is a giant that has made its mark in Sierra Leone and Liberia and other places. We count on your support for the defence of constitutional order.
“I heard your allowances have been paid up to date. Nothing else should make you angry. We will continue to build a virile force.
“We are proud of you. Proud of your loyalty. Nigeria depends on you. There will be peace and progress in our country,” Mr Tinubu said.
Mr Grema expressed the appreciation of the troops to Tinubu for being the first Commander-in-Chief in Nigeria’s history to visit his soldiers outside the shore of the country.
While in Guinea Bissau, the Nigerian leader is scheduled to hold bilateral meetings and have other engagements on the sidelines of the summit.
On the entourage of the President are National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu; Acting Governor of the Central Bank, Folashodun Shonubi; former governors Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), and Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa).
The summit, which will open on Sunday, will be the first international engagement of the President within the African continent.
The 16 regional leaders are expected to address memoranda on pressing sub-regional issues bordering on security, trade and democratic governance as it concerns Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea.