By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari has given assurances to the new President of Sierra Leone, Mr Julius Maada Bio, of Nigeria’s support, including military assistance, as the country works towards a stable and improved economy.
The president gave the assurance when he received the Sierra Leonean President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
President Buhari congratulated Bio on the successful elections and the transition that had ushered in a new government in the country.
“We will continually stand by you to ensure stability in your country. We believe security in the West Coast region, Africa and the world should be a collective concern,’’ he said.
The President said Nigeria had for a long period provided security support for the country, especially during the 11 years of civil war, and would continue to assist the forces on the ground to ensure the peace and stability needed for development.
According to him, he shares a lot in common with the Sierra Leonean President, which includes ruling the country as a military general, contesting several elections as opposition and winning to face the challenges of security and an ailing economy.
In his remarks, the President of Sierra Leone said his country remained grateful to Nigeria for the brotherly role it had played in ensuring an end to the protracted civil war in the country and the successful political transitions since then.
Bio said he would work towards deepening the bilateral relations with Nigeria, and the strengthening of the regional bond, particularly in the areas of security and trade.