, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 5 – Kenya rolled out the red carpet replete with a 21 gun salute for visiting Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan.
President Uhuru Kenyatta displayed his Armed Forces in a Guard of Honour specially put together for Jonathan in what is his second visit to the country since Kenyatta’s swearing-in.
It’s the first time President Kenyatta has laid out such finery for a visiting Head of State in what rarely if ever occurred during former President Mwai Kibaki’s two terms in office.
A statement from the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU) said the two heads of state will engage in bilateral talks during Jonathan’s three-day visit.
“President Jonathan and President Kenyatta will on Friday hold bilateral talks focusing on the expansion of cooperation in areas of mutual interest between Kenya and Nigeria,” the PSCU statement reads.
Goodluck is accompanied not only by his wife, the First Lady Patience Jonathan, but a contingent of Cabinet Ministers and other high ranking officials who are expected to engage their Kenyan counterparts.
President Kenyatta was himself in Nigeria in June at which time the two leaders oversaw the signing of three pacts that should see trade ties between the two African nations strengthened.
One of the pacts signed was between the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed and her Nigerian counterpart Olugbenga Ashiru in a bid to facilitate the free movement of people and goods between the two countries.
President Kenyatta and Jonathan are expected to witness the signing of more bilateral agreements on the State House lawns before jointly addressing the press on Friday.
Jonathan’s reception is a representation of President Kenyatta’s commitment to prioritise the growing of ties not only with Kenya’s neighbours but the African continent as a whole.
“We are not abandoning the traditional partners but enhancing relations with our neighbours who are always there for us. Our number one foreign policy is Africa, number two Africa and number three Africa,” President Kenyatta said on his trip to Nigeria three months ago.
Kenya’s relationship with Nigeria has been cordial so far with the only black spot being the detention of a Kenyan plane ferrying deportees to the West African nation by Nigerian civil aviation authorities.