John Alechenu, Abuja


German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and her French counterpart, Fracois Hollande, have extended invitations to President-Elect, Mohammadu Buhari, to visit their countries.

Merkel currently heads the G7 economic block of industrialised countries, comprising Germany, Canada, France, Japan, United States of America, Britain and Italy.

The German Ambassador to Nigeria, Michael Zenner; his Canadian and French counterparts, Perry John Calderwood and Denys Gauer respectively, paid separate courtesy calls and held closed-door meetings with Buhari at the Defence House, Abuja, on Tuesday.

Zenner, who spoke to journalists after his meeting with Buhari, said his visit was to congratulate the President-elect and Nigerians on the successful conduct of the last general elections.

He explained that he was also here to extend the invitation of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, to Buhari, requesting him to visit Germany.
Zener said, “I am here to congratulate the President-elect, Gen. Buhari, on his election and handed over to him the letter from the German Chancellor, inviting him to Germany.

“We have a very deep and intense relationship with Nigeria and there are lots of areas where we can deepen our relation and develop them further, such as in the areas of economy and energy among others.

“We have a bi-national commission with Nigeria and we are one of the countries with which Nigeria has this Bi-National Commission and it covers the whole range of political, economic and security areas. There are many areas in which we can move further and deepen our very close cooperation.”

Speaking in a similar vein, the Ambassador of France to Nigeria, Ambassador Denys Gauer, said, “As the French Ambassador, I came to congratulate the President-elect on his brilliant achievement.

“His election is an enormous achievement for Nigeria and the democratic development of Nigeria. The people of Nigeria has expressed its confidence in the President-elect.

“The challenges of Nigeria are enormous and I have come to wish him success.

“We also held a small talk about our bilateral relations. As you know, our relationship has developed quite well in recent years. In the economic field, Nigeria is already the first commercial partners of France in Africa.”

He also noted that the presence of several French companies in Nigeria was a testimony to the level of confidence his home government had in Nigeria.

According to him, France was encouraging more of its companies to come into Nigeria and invest as well as establish partnerships with Nigerian companies.

On his part, the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Perry John Calderwood, said Canada considers Nigeria an important partner, especially in the area of trade and investments.

He said, “We believe that it is possible to increase these ties to include areas such as agriculture, mining, renewable energy, infrastructure, where Canadian companies have great expertise.

“We are very pleased to see that more and more Canadian companies are looking into new opportunities in Nigeria. I am also delighted that we have a significant development programme in Nigeria, focussing on health and economic development.”

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