Algeria on Thursday urged Nigeria to take up its role as the pillar of Africa to champion the restoration of peace and security, and promote development across the continent.
Mr Sabir Boukadoun, Algeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs made the call when he visited his Nigerian counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama in Abuja in the course of his working visit to Nigeria.
The Algerian foreign minister is in Nigeria to discuss ways of strengthening bilateral and multilateral relations in Africa.
According to Boukadoun, Nigeria should, as it has always done, take the leadership role on issues affecting Africa, especially in the areas of peace and security.
He said it was time to build consensus among African countries and promote unity, peace, and development in the continent without external interference.
“Nigeria should take the lead in all issues of peace and security that are confronting the continent.
“For example, on the issue that we are facing in the Sahel. No-one can diminish the role that Nigerian forces are playing to fight terrorism. We can do this together by taking the lead in the field against terrorism.
“Also politically, how we can pass on the message to others if we speak all together and we strategise our work with others and we try to explain how we can diminish the terrorism threats.
“It is working on terrorism first then going to the root causes, and that we can do with Nigeria. we need Nigeria like how it was in the past.
“We should find new ways of thinking. How can we explore these potentials that we all know exist.
“It is not just about coming to Africa and picking up the natural resources and transferring them to other countries.
“We need to transform these resources that will definitely affect the political institutions and we have the instrument that is the African Union, and we have this agenda of 2063 for the African Union and 2030 for the United Nations.
“We need this and who best than Nigeria could play the leading role and this is nothing new. Without Nigeria we cannot do it
“We need others but on peace and security and the conflict in Africa that we still have now, it has to be an Africa-based solution,” Boukadoun said.
The Algerian minister added that Africa needed to stand by its position in the UN Security Council, and take decisions as it related to Africa.
He stressed that Nigeria had a leading and critical role to play in achieving that.
The Algerian Foreign Minister added that once the African Free Trade Zone once came into force it would further increase trade and strengthen relations between both countries.
Responding, Onyeama said that Nigeria and Algeria were two strategic countries in the African Union and should work closely to address the challenges facing the continent.
Onyeama underscored the need for both countries to use their shared vision to engender reforms multilaterally at the United Nations and African Union levels
“We hope to cooperate more in addressing the terrorist challenges which are still very much present in the Sahel and still pose existential threat to your country and our country.
“In the framework of the continent of the AU of course we are two major countries in the African Union and our vision converges very closely.
“We have a special role to perform in the process of the reform of the African Union, to have a responsive continental body in which our two countries will be drivers in.
“Peace and Security are a major challenge especially as 2020 was supposed to be the year we silence the guns on the continent.
“We are not there yet but we certainly feel our two countries have a role to play in stabilising the continent and achieving peace in the continent.
“We still have a lot of work to do and it is important that together we work hard to achieve this,” Onyeama said.
Onyeama urged both countries to take advantage of the untapped potentials in the continent to boost trade and improve their economies.
He also noted that both countries should engage on the multilateral front to ensure that Africa emerged stronger from the setback caused by COVID-19.
Onyeama said African countries should not allow themselves to be compromised where the vaccines and other medicines to help overcome COVID-19 are concerned.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim)