President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in London held bilateral talks with British Prime Minister, Theresa May, where he demanded for more influx of British companies and investments into Nigeria.
Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, said this in a statement issued in Abuja.
Buhari commended British companies; Unilever, Cadbury, and many others.
The President noted that the affected companies had stood with Nigeria through thick and thin, adding that the companies remained in Nigeria even when the country fought a civil war, they never left.
“But like Oliver Twist, we ask for more investments. We are encouraging more British companies to come to Nigeria.
“We appreciate the support you have given in training and equipping our military, particularly in the war against insurgency, but we want to also continue to work with you on trade and investment.’’
Buhari also briefed the Prime Minister on the strides in agriculture, which he said had put Nigeria firmly on the road to food self-sufficiency.
“I am very pleased with the successes in agriculture. We have cut rice importation by about 90 per cent, made lots of savings of foreign exchange, and generated employment.
“People had rushed to the cities to get oil money at the expense of farming. But luckily, they are now going back to the farms. Even professionals are going back to the land.
“We are making steady progress on the road to food security,’’ he said.
The President recalled that the All Progressives Congress-led government had campaigned on three major issues, to secure the country, revive the economy and fight corruption.
According to him, as the 2019 general election approaches, politicians are already pre-occupied with the polls, while he is bothered more about security and the economy.
“We have elections next year, politicians are already pre-occupied with the polls, but I am bothered more about security and the economy,’’ he stressed.
While recalling that Nigeria and Britain have a long history of cooperation on several fronts, Buhari said “people ought to know how they arrived where they are, if they would move forward.
“It was a mistake for us to have stopped the teaching of history as a subject in schools, but we are returning it to the curriculum now.’’
On education, Buhari said more investment was being made, because “people can look after themselves if well educated.
“In this age of technology, education is very important. We need well-staffed and well-equipped institutions to move into the next generation.’’
On Climate change and environmental issues which came up for discussion at the meeting, Adesina said President Buhari brought up the necessity of inter-basin water transfer from Congo Basin to Lake Chad.
“The Lake Chad is now about 10 per cent of its original size, and it is perhaps one of the reasons our youths dare both the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean, to get to Europe.
“But if there is inter-basin water transfer, about 40 million people in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, and other countries stand to benefit.
“I made the case during the Climate Change Summit in France. If Lake Chad is recharged, it will reduce the number of youths coming to Europe to increase social problems. We brought back about 4,000 people from Libya recently.
“Almost all of them were below 30, and Libya was not their final destination. They were headed to Europe,’’ the president stated.
Prime Minister May, in her remarks, said Britain would continue to work with Nigeria in the areas of training and equipping the military.
She was particular about abduction of young schoolgirls by Boko Haram, noting that Britain would continue to give Nigeria needed assistance.
The Prime Minister said the Buhari administration had “been making good progress on the economy,’’ and urged it to maintain the focus, despite approaching elections, and increase in political activities.
On education and climate change, she said “good grounding in education is good. It is important to equip young people for today’s world.
“It is also a good bastion and defence against modern slavery. The issue of the environment and climate change is very important, because of its impact on many countries in the Commonwealth.
“Stability at home is important to curb illegal migration.’’
The Prime Minister, who commended Buhari for the much he had been doing on improving trade and business for Nigeria, noted that it was also time to boost intra-Commonwealth trade.