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Nigeria, Ethiopia ink agreements on Visa waiver, Defence Cooperation

President Buhari (l) and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As a spinoff from President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent diplomatic shuttle to the African Union (AU) Conference in Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Ethiopia have signed a visa waiver agreement for diplomatic and official passport holders, and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Defence Cooperation for their respective economies.

Agency report stated that Malam Garba Shehu, President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Media and Publicity, confirmed this development in a statement in Abuja, Wednesday.

Buhari and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed witnessed the signing of the agreement Tuesday, in Addis Ababa, the statement said.

Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, Nigeria’s Honourable Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Gedu Andargachew, his Ethiopian counterpart, actualised the signing during the State Visit of the Nigerian President to Prime Minister Ahmed.

President Buhari, while meeting with the Ethiopian Prime Minister earlier, had discussed how to explore new areas of collaboration to further enhance and expand Nigeria-Ethiopia bilateral cooperation for the mutual benefits of the two African countries, said the statement.

The visa waiver agreement is expected to ease travels by officials and contribute to further strengthening of bilateral relations.

According to the statement, the Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation is important to both countries in the coordination of efforts at fighting against terrorism, securing peace and stability in their respective sub-regions, and the African continent.

The MoU will also enhance bilateral military cooperation in the areas of training and education, technical assistance, exchange of visits and defence technology transfer.

It also entails cooperation in peace support operation issues within the framework of the respective laws of the parties and on a reciprocal basis.

“Both sides agreed to swiftly conclude negotiations on the revised Bilateral Air Services Agreement and the MoU on cultural cooperation.

“The consummation of these two agreements will provide veritable platforms for deepening existing air transport services, tourism and cultural exchanges between the two countries,” the statement said.

The presidential aide quoted Buhari to have expressed gratitude to the Government and People of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia for the warm and generous hospitality extended to him and his delegation during the visit.

The Nigerian leader further extended an invitation to Prime Minister Ahmed to pay a reciprocal State Visit to Nigeria on mutually convenient dates.

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