December 6, 2022

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari hosts Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali in Abuja amid lingering crisis in Tigray

President Muhammadu Buhari with L-R: First Lady Aisha Buhari, Ethiopian First Lady Zinash Tayachew, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as he receives in State Visit, Prime Minister of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in State House on 25th May 2022

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday hosted Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia in Abuja amid a lingering crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region that has left thousands of people dead, hundreds of thousands displaced and millions at an increased risk of famine, and both leaders agreed to host a ‘joint ministerial commission’ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, next month.

Abiy’s antagonistic posture towards the United States coupled with the devastating war in Tigray have greatly limited his diplomatic maneuvers and drastically limited his movements while his country’s economy has crumbled and tourism has collapsed.

In Addis next month, Nigeria and Ethiopia will discuss ‘various areas of bilateral relationship’, including trade, economy and ‘political developments’, President Buhari’s spokesperson Femi Adesina said in a statement.

“Nigeria and Ethiopia have concluded arrangements to hold a Joint Ministerial Commission meeting in Addis Ababa next month to discuss various areas of bilateral relationship and exchange perspectives on a range of international issues of mutual interest,” wrote Adesina. “A major outcome of the visit is the desire of both countries to take concrete steps to expand bilateral relations in key areas including the economy, trade, science and technology, solid minerals, among others.”

The Nigerian presidency said Mr. Buhari hosted Mr. Abiy “to a State Visit and a presidential lunch” attended by the First Lady of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari and Ethiopian First Lady Zinash Tayachew.

In an interview with newsmen, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Victor Adeleke, said Mr. Abiy Ahmed considers Nigeria as one of the pillars in Africa.

He said, ‘‘The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Dr Abiy Ahmed has always taken Nigeria as one of the pillars in Africa and a strong country in stabilizing democracy in Africa.

‘‘In the spirit of African brotherhood and seeking African solutions to African problems, President Buhari and the Prime Minister consult from time to time and this visit is an icing on the cake.

‘‘President Buhari has been in Addis Ababa a couple of times so the Prime Minister thought it wise to visit Nigeria and confer with President Buhari enroute to Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, for the humanitarian conference and the African Union Extraordinary Summit on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government.

‘‘The state of relations between Nigeria and Ethiopia is very warm.

‘‘We are working together and we will soon be convening the Joint Ministerial Commission to discuss various areas of relationship that will be beneficial to both countries.

‘‘Nigerian officials are heading to Addis Ababa in June to discuss various areas of relationship including political, economic, science and technology, mines and industry.

‘‘We have been engaging and we will continue to engage.

‘‘In the private sector, Dangote has a big cement factory in Ethiopia and Ethiopia has an expanding economy in Africa.

‘‘So this is a very important and useful visit that will help officials from both countries to continue to network.’’

Ethiopia’s crisis between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) exploded in November 2020 and has lasted for one and half years.

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