Kamala Harris, Vice-president of the United States has expressed strong support for Nigeria’s efforts toward the restoration of constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.
She spoke in telephone conversation with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Thursday evening in Abuja.
Presidential spokesman, Dele Alake, in a statement on Friday said the two leaders also commended President Tinubu, who is also the Chairman of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, for spearheading the peace moves.
He recalled that some soldiers from the Presidential Guard had moved to depose President Mohamed Bazoum on Wednesday July 26, 2023.
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Alake said President Tinubu had quickly rejected the threat to democracy in that country, sending a strong delegation to talk with all the parties with a view to restoring constitutional order in Niger.
In her telephone conversation with President Tinubu, at the instance of the US authorities, Harris praised the reform initiatives of the Federal Government, urging the country to continue in that direction.
While pledging to support democracy in Africa including the West African sub region, Harris also said the U.S. would assist Nigeria in the battle against terrorism.
The US Vice President spoke on the need for Africa, including Nigeria to embrace energy transitions.
In his response, President Tinubu thanked Harris for the telephone call and her words of encouragement on the efforts taken so far on the economy, but added that “the developments in Niger Republic dampen spirits.”
He said ECOWAS under his watch would do all that is necessary to restore democracy in Niger, while counting on the support of the US.
On Nigeria, President Tinubu craved for more private sector investment, urging the US to lead the way in this regard.
“We had to get rid of the fuel subsidy that is laden with fraud with a few people appropriating the wealth of the country to themselves. We would need the US to help push for investments that will help alleviate the effects of subsidy removal in Nigeria. We need foreign direct investment to come in.”
“We have abundant gas resources in the country and not been able to fund gas pipelines to Europe and compete in that gas market is a handicap,” he said.
On climate change, the President said Nigeria would stay focused on the alternate energy but he pleaded for the developed nations to understand the situation in developing countries including Africa.
The two leaders also spoke on strengthening relations between their two countries and on their shared work on global and regional issues.
Other matters that featured in the discussions that lasted about 40 minutes are defending democracy in West Africa and The Sahel and digital inclusion.
United Nations’ Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, also spoke with President Tinubu, saying he was doing everything possible to resolve the impasse in Niger.
While expressing the hope that the situation in Niger could still be reversed for better, he said ECOWAS would require UN’s support for restoring democracy and building institutions in that country.
Guterres had earlier pledged the commitment of the UN for Tinubu’s peace efforts in Niger.