Nigeria pledges to deepen bilateral relations with U.S.

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Amb. Yusuf Tuggar, Minister of  Foreign Affairs

By Mark Longyen

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Yusuf Tuggar, says Nigeria is currently working to deepen bilateral relations with the U.S. in accordance with Nigeria’s foreign policy thrust and initiatives under President Bola Tinubu.

Tuggar, who stated this at the 248th U.S. independence anniversary dinner organized by the U.S. Embassy in Abuja on Tuesday, said deepening Nigeria-U.S. ties would further cement their many years of cooperation and friendship.

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The minister noted that the signing of the Nigeria-U.S. Binational Cooperation was one of the major foreign policy initiatives of the Tinubu administration that would be strengthened, while others would be explored.

Tuggar, represented by Amb. Janet Olisa, Director of Regions, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Nigeria-U.S. bilateral relations had been nurtured over the years with various cooperations that have strengthened their ties.

“Since our independence, we have been two nations that have continued to watch our friendship, our bond, and cooperation very tightly.

“One of the major things that happened this year was the Nigeria-U.S. Binational Cooperation agreement, and it is a testament of how important and cordial our relationship is.

“The Secretary of State just left Nigeria not too long ago. And to ensure that we had a smooth running, the Deputy Secretary of State, who had just been confirmed, hurried up to Nigeria to ensure that we had a very successful by Binational,” Tuggar said.

The minister said that there were several other agreements and cooperations with the U.S. that Nigeria was looking into with a view to deepening and strengthening them.

“We are also looking into security, which is key to the African nation and very key to Nigeria. We are looking at strengthening the security bond between us we are thankful for all the security cooperation that we receive,” he said.

Tuggar also expressed Nigeria’s gratitude to the U.S. for the various interventions in the country’s health sector challenges.

“We are also grateful that in the Ministry of Health, we’ve been able to get some collaborations as well in all the AIDS programs that have been going on.

“That is the bond of friendship, as we welcome also the incoming ambassador. We know he’s going to have a wonderful time here. I must say that we Nigerians are a people that have always understood the importance of nationhood.

“Nationhood is key to us and for that our security cannot be taken for granted. So I wish you all a very fruitful celebration and we join you to say Happy Independence,” the minister added.

Speaking earlier, Amb. Richard Mills, the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, said the two countries were two proud federal republics that shared a commitment to democracy and freedom.

He said that they both shared the belief that was expressed in the US Declaration of Independence 248 years ago, adding that every Nigerian and U.S. citizen shared in the right to life to liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“As I settle into Abuja and into my role as the 22nd U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, I look forward to meeting with many of you and how we will work together to strengthen our ties,” he said.

Also speaking, Amb. David Greene, U.S. Embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission and Charge d’Affairs, described Nigeria-U.S. relations as a “whirlwind in the best way.”

He said that the occasion was an opportunity to take a quick look at the state of the two nations’ ties, particularly given the incredible momentum in their relationship.

The U.S. envoy disclosed that there are 700,000 Nigerians living and working in the U.S., saying it underscored the significance of the U.S.-Nigeria people-to-people ties, which is the bedrock of the relationship.

“Our bond has always been strong. But lately it feels like we’re really sprinting forward together to make Nigerians and Americans more secure, more healthy, more prosperous,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was attended by senior government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, representatives from the business, political, religious, media, and civil society sectors.

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