NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Muhammadu Buhari have pledged to work together to make Africa a better place for present and future generations.
The two leaders said they will join hands in addressing challenges facing Nigeria and Kenya in rooting out corruption, terrorism and radicalization, which they termed as “obstacles to development”.
“I look forward to continuing to work with you my brother in ensuring that Africa’s children enjoy happier, more peaceful and prosperous lives,” President Kenyatta told President Buhari.
Taking a trip down memory lane, President Buhari recalled that Kenya’s founding father President Jomo Kenyatta was among the most inspiring first generation of African freedom fighters who included Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Abdul Nasser of Egypt, Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria and Kwame Nkuruma of Ghana – leaders who paved the way for the independent Africa of today.
“That generation of heroes brought our continent back to us. Now it is our task to make them proud by elevating Africa to a level beyond their dreams,” President Buhari said, adding that his visit to Kenya was the first state visit since he assumed the leadership of Nigeria.
The two leaders were speaking during a state banquet host by President Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta in honour of the visiting Nigerian President.
President Kenyatta said President Buhari’s visit to Kenya has provide an opportunity to maintain the momentum in the development of bilateral relations – that have registered significant growth – between Kenya and Nigeria.
He said the two countries are forging closer ties creating room for increased partnership between the business communities of Kenya and Nigeria.
Noting that Kenya and Nigeria were grappling with the problems of terrorism, radicalization of the youth and violent extremism, President Kenyatta said the two countries will work together to end these scourges.
“Tonight, I simply want to record my deep appreciation of your support in our fight,” President Kenyatta said.
He appreciated President Buhari’s visit to Moi Barracks, saying it was an honour to the Kenyan soldiers and their families.
On his part, President Buhari lauded the deepening relations between Kenya and Nigeria.
“For example, we have Nigerian banks operating in Kenya while Kenya Airways is connecting many Nigerians to West Africa and indeed the world,” President Buhari said.
He added that Nigerian farmers are coming to Kenya to learn from successful Kenyan farmers while many upcoming Kenyan oil and gas businessmen are partnering with Nigerian oil companies.
“We have Nigerians drinking Kenyan coffee in their homes and offices while many Kenyans are listening to Nigerian Music and watching Nollywood movies,” President Buhari observed.
The Nigerian leader said these developments point to a real integration on the continent beyond the formal diplomatic levels.
He said integration promotes movement of people and goods boosting intra-Africa trade that result in the creation of millions of jobs within Africa for Africans.
“It is on this note that I hope our two countries will continue building on the strong foundation already laid so far by further enhancing trade and economic ties,” President Buhari said.
President Kenyatta and President Buhari agreed that Kenya and Nigeria should ensure that the Memoranda of Understanding and bilateral agreements signed are implemented in earnest.
Deputy President William Ruto said Kenyans and Nigerians are known the world over for their passion and aggression, adding the “West has met the East”.
“Your Excellences, it is good that you lead such people. But the drive and the aggression should be used for the right things,” the Deputy President said.
The state banquet was attended by senior Government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and other invited guests.