From Bello Wakili (Abuja)

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured his counterpart in Republic of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, that together they will stabilize the West African region for the benefit of both countries.

The President gave the assurance to the newly inaugurated President of Republic of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, who was in Nigeria on his first international visit.

He said Nigerians and Nigeriens are people with similar culture, language and ways of life, and the two countries also share about 1,500 kilometres of land border, as such they cannot ignore each other.

The President congratulated Bazoum on winning the recent presidential election, and his successful inauguration into office.

President Buhari assured that Nigeria would assist its close neighbour in diverse ways as required.

On terrorism, as perpetrated by Boko Haram, President Buhari observed that Republic of Niger also suffers high casualties, vowing that they will do all it takes to secure the two countries.

President Buhari was thankful to the immediate past President, Mahamadou Issoufou, for what he calls his understanding and sacrifices to help stabilize the region, urging the successor to maintain the institutions his predecessor had established.

President Bazoum said he was delighted to make Nigeria his first point of call, noting that the two countries have common interests, and therefore, a good relationship is very important.

On security, he observed that the fact that some Nigerians flee to Niger during terrorist attacks shows that the two countries need to cooperate, and face challenges together.